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September 19, 2012 + What Is Prayer?

by St. Theophan the Recluse
taken from The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, p. 51

What is prayer? What is its essence? How can we learn to pray? What does the spirit of the Christian experiences as he prayers in humility in his heart?

All such questions should constantly occupy the mind and heart of the believer, for in prayer man converses with God, he enters, through grace, into communion with Him, and lives in God. And the Holy Father and teachers of the Church gives answers to all these questions, based on the grace-given enlightenment which is acquired through the experience of practicing prayer – experience equally accessible to the simple and to the wise.

Prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; prayer is the drive force of everything; prayer is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For prayer will not allow anything to go wrong.


St. Theodore, Prince of Smolensk and Yaroslav

Troparion - Tone 4

From your youth you clung to Christ’s love And you eagerly kept his laws. You were enriched with miraculous gifts And now pour forth healings, Theodore, David and Constantine Pray to Christ our God to save those who honor you!

Kontakion - Tone 8

While in the flesh you were radiant lamps living like the angels. By fasting, vigils and faith you grew like the trees in paradise. You blossomed in prayer through the grace you received. You have become mighty physicians, healing infirmity of souls. O glorious wonderworkers Theodore, David and Constantine, Pray to Christ our God for the forgiveness of those who venerate your memory!