Once I heard this saying: “It is easier to chop wood than to start praying.” It’s difficult to argue with, because I know a lot of baptized people who often prefer doing household chores on Saturday and having a ‘blessed dream’ on Sunday morning rather than going to the divine service. They say, “It’s been a hard working week, I need to relax!” Praying at home is also difficult, in the morning you have to hurry to work, and in the evening you are too tired. Before meals it’s usually forgotten, and what’s it for? As for praying silently during the day… Well, if you get in any trouble, then yes, you might call on God or one of the saints to help. But even this silent prayer is done between times.
So what is prayer? Is it work or just an internal monologue for luck, hoping that the problem will be solved with the help of higher forces? Prayer is work. And it has its own particularities and rules. It is for a reason that we make physical efforts during prayer: we stand to our full height, we bow, strain our vocal chords, concentrate on the text and its meaning, and spend our free time. And the fruits of prayer affect the whole person, from body to soul and vice versa. This means that the call of Christ and the apostles and all the holy and respected representatives of the Church to pray is justified. But for some reason we don’t hear them.
Prayer is called a conversation between a person and God for a reason. But it is also a kind of effort, it’s work. During the day we have to deal with a variety of things that lead to some kind of result. And prayer is no exception. The ritual of prayer itself as doing is akin to work. We do something and spend time on it, get tired and almost immediately get a result in the form of perceived grace. Yes, we feel easier, brighter, and calmer. God answered our prayers. The right thoughts come to us, we get the missing motivation, and then the complicated situations are resolved in the most incredible way.
If we can’t do anything without God, it means we cannot build a truly right life on our own. We are exposed to the virus of sin, which literally destroys our lives, treacherously making its way into our heart. And it all starts with temptation. A beautiful and even sweet word hides a dangerous path to sin. Either something happened before our eyes, or we thought about something ourselves, or maybe the internal and the external came together. And here it is! Sin is already in us. It is disgusting, hard, viscous, like in a swamp, and the picture of the day, which had been beautiful before, suddenly begins to crumble like broken glass. What’s happened?
Temptation is the threshold of the door to sin. A person knows both good and evil, but he is able to choose. We have a door to eternity, and there is exactly the same door to fiery hell. And often, someone rings the doorbell. We look through the peephole of the mind who came there and what he brought. And if we succumb to temptation, then confidently open the door and let sin into our soul. It looks like a robber who has put a bouquet of flowers to the eye of our door. But as soon as we open the door, he puts a knife to our throat and robs us.
Man is like a child in the spiritual world, therefore he always needs the advice of a Parent. We know how good children differ from defiant children. The former listen to their parents’ advice and accept it, while the latter believe that they will figure everything out themselves. The same can be said about praying and not praying Christians. In prayer, we hear God, therefore, we accept Him in our hearts and receive immunity from sin and a path for moving through life. All this happens often and very unconsciously. But we call upon God, trust in Him, and in return we receive grace as a resource for the right actions. And if we don’t do this, spiritual thieves will constantly ring the door of our souls. Each time they come up with a new way to break into us and rob us. To minimize the chances for these “calls”, you need to pray. And may everything be well and done with God.
Translated by Alyona Malafeeva