Prayer might be thought of as a request, an open line of communication, and perhaps a petition for understanding and coping. Many times the response to our pleas is not always what may be desired, for we are often given what is needed and not always what is wanted.
Prayer is often misunderstood in its practice and or purpose. Like using an item stored on a shelf, prayer is not merely a useful tool which is conveniently laid aside and then called upon when we need help. Prayer must be — and needs to be — an essential part of our being as in breathing or walking and not just an exercise as in the superficial mouthing of words. Prayer can be described as the mind descending into the heart, the center of our consciousness.
As hygiene activities are necessary for the care of the body, so too is prayer essential for the health of our soul. Saint Paul, who urges the Christians of the first century Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and “be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). Give thanks in all things, even in hardship and pray for those that need your prayers of intercession, even those who persecute you.
Saint Paul goes on to say, “For it is not I who live, but Christ our God who lives in me.” If the condition of our hearts is ready to receive Christ to dwell there in the center of our being, we can receive all that our creator has to give us in encouragement, endurance, illumination and most important Who He Is, love. To sever or deny this relationship would be like a self-induced imprisonment of solitary confinement. In prayer we never have to be alone, we can all share and be together sharing in our joys and sorrows, there is always a choice.
For the Eastern Orthodox Christian, to pray means to think and live our entire life in the presence of God, always, everywhere, and at any time. Prayer is rather the establishment of an intimate relationship with our father for his glory and the benefit, wellbeing, and edification of our fellow man. By committing oneself to this way of life, your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted prayer. Glory to God for all things great and small.
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