Πέμπτη, 4 Αυγούστου 2016

“Prayer, the raising of the spirit towards God” (from the Orthodox Church of Zimbabwe)


Orthodox Archbishopric of Zimbabwe
By Archbishop Seraphim Kykkotis of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Zimbabwe

The Apostle Paul gives us advice of great importance in today’s Epistle extract (Romans 12, 6 – 14). In a few phrases, he recounts with wisdom to our Saviour Jesus Christ. He places special importance and seriousness on the issue of prayer.

Photo from here
1. What is prayer 

Saint John of Damascus has given a superb definition: “Prayer is the raising of the spirit towards God”. We people, who are so small, drag away our thoughts for a little while from earth with prayer and we allow our thoughts to rise high up and meet man’s creator and the creator of all creation. We approach His throne and we converse with Him, in an atmosphere of friendship and love. We tell him our joys and sorrows and we entrust our hearts anguish and pins to Him. He listens like a good father and a true friend.

2. Prayer is essential. 

All nations recognize the necessity of prayer, because it is implanted in man to believe in God. Our Lord Himself set the example; always and everywhere He would pray to his Heavenly Father and until His last moment from His Cross He prayed for those who had crucified Him.
God is not in need of our prayer, neither do our doxologies add glory and brilliance to Him. A person who does not pray is like a fish out of water, like a house without foundations, like a bird without wings…
What would we say about a sculptor who wanted to make a statue without a chisel, or a soldier who wanted to fight without a gun? Similarly a Christian cannot win the Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise, without prayer. This is why we must work and pray, we must think and pray, we must keep vigil and pray, we suffer and pray, we rejoice and pray.

Prayer in Orthodox Church of Zimbabwe, from here.

3. Some stipulations 

David desired “his prayer to rise like incense to God’s throne” But for our prayer to be of this nature, of necessity is:
a. Attention and devoutness. Prayer without attention and devoutness is like sending a letter without an address
b. Faith and Trust. Prayer without faith and trust is like writing a letter and leaving it on the desk saying, “they will not reply, so for what reason should I send it?” The Christian must persist in prayer and must believe that God will do the utmost. Sometimes that which we ask for is not in our interests God knows better than us. We must never grumble against God if because of love He denies us something that we ask for sometimes again He is late in granting our request in order to test our faith but we must never loose our faith. 

Orthodox Women in the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Congo-Brazzaville (from here)

4. The Results of Prayer

In the Old and New Testament, there are countless examples, which show that::
a] Prayer is an enviable weapon
b] Prayer bestows blessings on work and allows our efforts to be fruitful
c] Prayer creates an atmosphere of tranquility like the poet professes
Let rain and hail come
and let the heavens violently
break upon the earth,
I have you as Father,
so what does it matter to me
d] Prayer unites family members and it binds them with holy bonds of love.“ A child is drowning” a voice was heard in a village which was situated close to a raging river. Indeed everybody ran and saw a child who was fighting to be saved. Immediately, a rope was brought and the best swimmer of the village tied it like a belt around his waist and having given the other end of the rope to his fellow villagers he threw himself into the waters of the river.
“Pull the rope” he soon shouted when he had grabbed the child. The villages looked at each other in anguish. No one had taken care to hold onto the other end of the rope. The strong current swept away the two helpless people and they drowned.
Life is a violent river. If someone does not hold onto the end of our rope, we will be lost. This rope is PRAYER. Each one of us must answer to the question: Have we given it (the rope) to God to hold onto with faith?

Click:

Orthodox Zimbabwe
Tinokugamuchirai Kunzira akakomborerwa Zimbabwe / Welcome to the blessed Zimbabwe !
The Jesus Prayer: A Blood-bond
Orthodox Legacy 

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