Saint Sophrony is a modern saint (glorified in 2019) who was born in Russia, eventually moving to Mount Athos to become a monk. He was the spiritual child of ascetic Saint Silouan and wrote about many of his teachings. On Prayer is a reflective memoir of his own spiritual journey.

What is prayer?

Prayer is infinite creation, far superior to any form of art or science. Through prayer we enter into communion with him that was before all worlds. Or, to put it in another way, the life of the Self-existing God flows into us through the channel of prayer. Prayer is an act of supreme wisdom, of all-surpassing beauty and virtue. Prayer is delight for the spirt.

Prayer is the highest activity of man. If you don’t pray then—to use secular language—you haven’t reached your “potential.” We are called by God to be like Him through grace. Without prayer this cannot be done.

Why is prayer so difficult?

…the act of prayer is too much for our earthly nature and so our mortal body, incapable of rising into the spiritual sphere, resists. The intellect resists because it is incapable of containing infinity, is shaken by doubts, and rejects everything that exceeds its understanding. The social environment in which I live in antagonistic to prayer—it has organized life with other aims diametrically opposed to prayer. Hostile spirits cannot endure prayer. But prayer alone can restore the created world from its fall, overcoming its stagnation and inertia, by means of a mighty effort of our spirit to follow Christ’s commandments.

If you don’t want to pray, force yourself. We force ourselves to do many other things in life that offer us practically no benefit to our soul, such as exercising or eating healthy, so there is no excuse to not call upon our willpower in moments when we want to do anything but pray.

The power of humility

The more we humble ourselves in painful repentance, the more rapidly our prayer reaches God. When, though, we lose humility, no ascetic striving will help us. The action in us of pride, criticism of our brethren, self-exalting, and hostility towards our neighbor, thrusts us away from the Lord.

[…]

Christ-like humility is an all-conquering force. It knows no degradation. It is divinely majestic. It is indescribable—what we portray in our words seems contradictory. Humility is an attribute of the God of Love, who in his openness to all creatures meekly accepts every blow, every wound, from the hands which he fashioned.

[…]

Pride, as the manifest or hidden tendency to self-divinization, has distorted the human heart: no sooner do we detect in ourselves some sign of spiritual ascension than this snake lifts its head and thereby clouds the mind, interrupts the vision, and drives us away from God.

Are you proud of your beauty or your body? It came from God. Are you proud of the color of your eyes? God made them. Are you proud of a good deed you accomplished? God inspired it. Are you proud of going to church every weekend? God motivated you. Everything good you do is from God, and so all credit must be given to him. You decided to serve God, to perform the good, and then He comes in to provide the necessary motivating energy.

Loving your enemies

Staretz Silouan described the state of our spirit when grace is given us from on high to love our enemies, as experience of divine eternity while we are still within the confines of this life. He both said and wrote, “The man who does not love his enemies has not yet come to know God as we ought to know him.”

We are all guilty

…it is we, and we only, who are guilty of all the evil throughout the history of mankind. God manifested himself in our flesh. Humility is a natural attribute of his love. Divine humility, we may adumbrate as a readiness to accept all and every wound at the hands of creatures created by him. And, of course, this humility is indescribable. But we did not just reject him—we put him to what was in our eyes a shameful death. And I saw in spirit that it was not absence of compassion on God’s part that was the case of human misery but, only and entirely, man’s abuse of the gift of freedom…

When Christ was on the Cross, all the sins of mankind poured into Him, including your sins. All the sufferings he endured were for you and all whom you love.

Moments of grace

For a brief instant he comforts the soul, touches the heart with his fire, delights the mind with a vision of his glory… and again withdraws, lest we should think that we have attained to the fullness of knowledge of him. Our lot on earth is to be “poor in spirit.” The moment we are invaded by a false feeling of self-satisfaction, the Spirit of Life proceeding from the Father forsakes us.

If you have a spiritual experience that is full of God’s grace, remember it! A long time may pass until you experience it again, if ever, because God doesn’t want you to build a faith based on spiritual experiences. He gives you what you need and no more, like a parent who takes away a child’s dinner plate when he has had enough.

Do you hate God?

Every creature having reason swings between two extremes—between love for God to the point of self-hatred, and love of self to the point of hatred for God. “Hate” for God means a falling away, a withdrawal from God. It is not necessarily inked with emotions of the heart, though this, too, may often happen. Hate can be a cool decision on the part of the intellect—the “enlightened” intellect, many would say, but reality is hide from them: their “light” may naturally evolve to a degree where all life is frozen out.

[…]

When for the sake of a “pottage of lentils” (Gen 25.33-34) people refuse the path indicated by Christ—divinization by the power of the Holy Spirit and the adoption of sons to the Eternal Father—the whole point of man’s appearance in the world vanishes.

You must suffer

We are called to eternal life in the Kingdom of our Father which is in heaven. But entry into the Kingdom for created beings inevitably entails great suffering. Many decline the Father’s gift of love precisely because the utmost effort is required to assimilate it.

[…]

It is imperative that we should experience both pain and horror, if the depths of being are to be disclosed to us, and for us to become capable of the love commanded of us. In the absence of suffering man remains spiritually lazy, half asleep, devoid of Christ.

This life is very short. The sufferings we endure, in the cosmic reality of eternity, is like stubbing your toe against the wall, and yet how we howl for our insignificant little toe! No, it’s better to suffer now, to take the lead of our Savior who showed us how to suffer (even though he did nothing wrong), rather than risk our salvation and suffer for eternity as a result of our spiritual laziness and desire for comfort.

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world… which none of the princes and servants of this world knew (cf. 1 Cor 1.24; 2.7-8). Before him the whole world, all its peoples, walked in dark ignorance of the way leading to the kingdom of God and our Father. Now these hidden mysteries are revealed to us. We are given the surest knowledge of the ultimate meaning of our coming into this life The Lord spoke to us of the pre-eternal love of the Father for us, and in himself made manifest to us the Father as he is. But we in our mad folly crucified him; and when he was hanging on the cross we mocked him. And to this day we continue to scoff.

It was the Jews who crucified the body of Jesus Christ, but since He allowed Himself to be crucified to redeem our sins, it was all of us who participated in His crucifixion. For every sin you perform, you crucify Him again, because only through the blood that was shed on the cross can that sin be remitted.

Modern Christians are weak

In France, having arrived from Greece, I met with the sort of people I had become unfamiliar with during my twenty-two years on the Holy Mountain—especially during the latter period when I was spiritual confessor to several hundred monks representing every aspects of the ascetic life on Mount Athos. I make no secret of the fact that I was completely disorientated. The psychology of the monks, their patience and stamina, so far excelled all and everything that I encountered in Europe that I simply could not find either words or outward forms for contact. What monks accept gratefully, in Europe shattered people. Many of them spurned me, considering me abnormally hard-hearted, a distortion, even, of the gospel spirit of love. And I concluded that the “norms” of monastic ascetics and those of people of Western culture differed profoundly. There can be no doubt that the most “abnormal” of all, both for the world of the “Great inquisitor” and of our own contemporaries, would be Christ. Who can hear Christ, or even more, follow him? What monks acquired after decades of weeping, our contemporaries think to receive after a brief interval—sometimes even in a few hours of pleasant “theological” discussion.

This passage is a strong hint to visit monasteries as often as we can to receive the fullness of what Christ taught. Parish priests, even in the Orthodox Church, often have to provide “baby food” for those parishioners whose faith is at a lower level, similar to how a school teacher has to account for the slower students in class before progressing to a more advanced lesson. Consider that many Orthodox Christians don’t know about the toll houses, and how upon their deaths, the demons will test their souls for sins. Parish life is critical, and we must be considerate to those who are cool in the faith, but nothing stops you from supplementing with more advanced teachings that come from experiencing the services in monasteries and receiving guidance from monks and nuns, who gave up everything in this world to serve God.

Secular knowledge will not lead you to God

Secular scholarship provides the means for expressing experience, but without the assistance of grace it cannot communicate really redemptive knowledge. Knowledge of God is existential, not abstract and intellectual. Countless number of professional theologians are awarded top diplomas, yet in actual fact they remain profoundly ignorant in the sphere of the Spirit. This is because they do not live according to Christ’s commandments, and so are deprived of the light of knowledge of God. God is love—but love acquired by torturous repentance and fear of God.

One could easily argue that the purpose of secular knowledge is to turn you away from God. Consider that young teenagers have been so imbued with the spirit of scientism and relativistic truth that it is a great challenge to even use spiritual language and vocabulary to teach them the truth of God. They reject it immediately without contemplation.

Gradual revelation

Just as in the life of each one of us God reveals himself gradually, so in the history of mankind as shown in the Bible “at sundry times and in divine manners” (Heb 1.1) he revealed himself to the Fathers and the Prophets with increasing power and depth.

Can a broken cup hold pristine water? So our damaged souls cannot handle the full revelation of God until it has been gradually repaired through faith and repentance. As your faith deepens, so will your knowledge of God.

The name of Jesus Christ

The name Jesus was given to us by a revelation from on High. It proceeds from the eternal divine sphere and is in no way the product of any earthly mind, although it is expressed by an everyday human word. Revelation is an act—the energy of Divinity—and as such belongs on another plane, and transcends cosmic energies. In its celestial glory the Name Jesus is meta-cosmic. When we pronounce the Name of Christ, calling upon him to communion with us, then he, all-fulfilling, hears us, and we enter into living contact with him.

Do not seek spiritual experiences

The truly repentant sinner does not seek after sublime contemplation: he is totally preoccupied with the battle against sin, against the passions. Only after being cleansed from the passions—still as yet incompletely—naturally and without constraint do hitherto unsuspected spiritual horizons, illumined by light, open before him, and mind and heart are raptured by divine love.

On Prayer is written in a style similar to Saint Augustine’s Confessions, with personal and spiritual stories entwined together. It’s a relatively quick read with many spiritual insights.

Learn More: On Prayer on Amazon

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Thank you for sharing this. It is important to have nuns, monks and priests who devote their life to prayer and serve people's spiritual needs. What would this world be like without them? At the same time I think of my Catholic parents who raised 8 children. How much time did they have for prayer in their day? Do we think for one moment that God's grace was not poured out on them? My mother sometimes would say, she should have become a nun. At the time I did not understand, but when I had my own three children and learned how difficult marriage and raising children can be, I understood her words. My dad must have had similar thoughts, as I heard from my mother that he told her he should not have gotten married. He never said too much to us and we had no knowledge of any struggles he may have had, but we looked up to him and loved him. As my parents grew old, they were rewarded with a loving family, grandchildren, and Christmases with a house full of people.

While I admire the wisdom of monks and their valuable contribution I also value the contribution and work of everyday couples raising ordinary children. My point is that sometimes we can contemplate life, its meaning etc. but forget to live life as God intended. When people get married their future is not only about them, their life must be devoted to their spouse and the children God gives them. Their struggles become your burdens also. Struggles are important for leaning on God, growing closer to Him and becoming the person He wants us to be. I forget the exact words, but God gave us the command to leave father and mother and join with your wife or husband. My dad only met my mother a few times before they decided to get married, that would seem crazy today. They remained married until they died in old age and they respected and loved each other. Would it not be fair to say that a life of sacrifices and trials can be just as pleasing to God as a life of prayer? I can find no greater example of loving God, than by doing His will in an ordinary way, doing ordinary things, while trusting Him to take care of everything.

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"Everything good you do is from God, and so all credit must be given to him."

Was watching a youtube video by a Catholic who was explaining the TLM. He said nearly everything we have in this life is given to us by God. The only things we can truly call our own are our sins.

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"Everything good you do is from God, and so all credit must be given to him."

Was watching a youtube video by a Catholic who was explaining the TLM. He said nearly everything we have in this life is given to us by God. The only things we can truly call our own are our sins

All credit must be given to God but we can contribute to the good in the world by offering our daily life to Him and we do this in our morning offering prayers. " O my God I offer Thee my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day" Catholics have been reciting this prayer for generations. As a child I wondered why we said that, but as I grew older I realized the importance of it.

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Originally posted on RooshV.com


Saint Sophrony is a modern saint (glorified in 2019) who was born in Russia, eventually moving to Mount Athos to become a monk. He was the spiritual child of ascetic Saint Silouan and wrote about many of his teachings. On Prayer is a reflective memoir of his own spiritual journey.

What is prayer?​

Prayer is the highest activity of man. If you don’t pray then—to use secular language—you haven’t reached your “potential.” We are called by God to be like Him through grace. Without prayer this cannot be done.

Why is prayer so difficult?​

If you don’t want to pray, force yourself. We force ourselves to do many other things in life that offer us practically no benefit to our soul, such as exercising or eating healthy, so there is no excuse to not call upon our willpower in moments when we want to do anything but pray.

The power of humility​

Are you proud of your beauty or your body? It came from God. Are you proud of the color of your eyes? God made them. Are you proud of a good deed you accomplished? God inspired it. Are you proud of going to church every weekend? God motivated you. Everything good you do is from God, and so all credit must be given to him. You decided to serve God, to perform the good, and then He comes in to provide the necessary motivating energy.

Loving your enemies​

We are all guilty​

When Christ was on the Cross, all the sins of mankind poured into Him, including your sins. All the sufferings he endured were for you and all whom you love.

Moments of grace​

If you have a spiritual experience that is full of God’s grace, remember it! A long time may pass until you experience it again, if ever, because God doesn’t want you to build a faith based on spiritual experiences. He gives you what you need and no more, like a parent who takes away a child’s dinner plate when he has had enough.

Do you hate God?​

You must suffer​

This life is very short. The sufferings we endure, in the cosmic reality of eternity, is like stubbing your toe against the wall, and yet how we howl for our insignificant little toe! No, it’s better to suffer now, to take the lead of our Savior who showed us how to suffer (even though he did nothing wrong), rather than risk our salvation and suffer for eternity as a result of our spiritual laziness and desire for comfort.

Who is Jesus Christ?​

It was the Jews who crucified the body of Jesus Christ, but since He allowed Himself to be crucified to redeem our sins, it was all of us who participated in His crucifixion. For every sin you perform, you crucify Him again, because only through the blood that was shed on the cross can that sin be remitted.

Modern Christians are weak​

This passage is a strong hint to visit monasteries as often as we can to receive the fullness of what Christ taught. Parish priests, even in the Orthodox Church, often have to provide “baby food” for those parishioners whose faith is at a lower level, similar to how a school teacher has to account for the slower students in class before progressing to a more advanced lesson. Consider that many Orthodox Christians don’t know about the toll houses, and how upon their deaths, the demons will test their souls for sins. Parish life is critical, and we must be considerate to those who are cool in the faith, but nothing stops you from supplementing with more advanced teachings that come from experiencing the services in monasteries and receiving guidance from monks and nuns, who gave up everything in this world to serve God.

Secular knowledge will not lead you to God​

One could easily argue that the purpose of secular knowledge is to turn you away from God. Consider that young teenagers have been so imbued with the spirit of scientism and relativistic truth that it is a great challenge to even use spiritual language and vocabulary to teach them the truth of God. They reject it immediately without contemplation.

Gradual revelation​

Can a broken cup hold pristine water? So our damaged souls cannot handle the full revelation of God until it has been gradually repaired through faith and repentance. As your faith deepens, so will your knowledge of God.

The name of Jesus Christ​

Do not seek spiritual experiences​

On Prayer is written in a style similar to Saint Augustine’s Confessions, with personal and spiritual stories entwined together. It’s a relatively quick read with many spiritual insights.

Learn More: On Prayer on Amazon
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josaphat_Kuntsevych St.Josaphat Kuntsevych, pray for us!

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Roosh, I've been reading your stuff for probably more than a decade now. From all the way back from when you were a pickup artist until now. I just want to tell you that there's nothing you can't do. While I always thought the pickup stuff was stupid, I deeply respect the determination and persistence that you put towards achieving what you wanted. Just the insane number of hours you spent on observing men and women and applying what you observed to real life over and over and continuing despite experiencing failure after failure. Even now, your daily routine makes me speechless. I tell you, you will surely achieve any goal you apply yourself to with that attitude. You really aren't a normal person at all. You don't have to be afraid. You're very strong and God is on your side.

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1 Corinthians 4:7 states, “Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?”

All of us contain an enemy inside of ourselves: a false self that, like Lucifer, aspires to rise above the heights of God and claim unto itself that which can only belong to God. It proclaims itself when the truth supports only the proclaiming of God. The truth is all good things come from God. He alone is the giver of all good gifts.

And what is a good gift? Is your wealth really such a good gift when it fosters your pride and the idea that your merit built your fortune? When it makes you believe, even a little bit, that you’re a little better than all those people out there who aren’t as smart as you or didn’t work as hard as you? Your intelligence was given you by God. So was your motivation. And so was your work ethic.

Was the man born blind from birth given a good gift? In the economy of salvation, apparently his blindness was a good gift: Jesus said his blindness was given to him “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

There is so much more going on than any of us realize. We see now through a mirror darkly and it is only through prayer, a constant knocking and seeking relational communication with our Father and creator, that we can hope to hear and be given the grace to heed and be shaped by His still, small voice.

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Saint Andrew Bobola, pray for us!

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Odd persecutor, killed by the one who he was ,,persecuting''. Usually it's the other way around...

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  A Russophile Ruthenian newspaper, Slovo [uk], published several negative articles about Kuntsevych.[19]: 29–30 [q] This antagonism to his canonization "makes sense within the context of the Russophile hegemony in Ruthenian public opinion" and was seen as an insult to Imperial Russia.[19]: 31  The Russian government responded, in 1875, with further Russification and forced conversion of the Eastern Catholic Chełm Eparchy, the last Eastern Catholic eparchy in the Russian Empire

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It was the Jews who crucified the body of Jesus Christ, but since He allowed Himself to be crucified to redeem our sins, it was all of us who participated in His crucifixion. For every sin you perform, you crucify Him again, because only through the blood that was shed on the cross can that sin be remitted.

Given it was the Jews (revelation 2:9) who crucified the innocent Jesus Christ is it no wonder the same outrage will exist when society acknowledges abortion as the act of murdering an innocent life?

What else does one expect, from the instigators, when it was "Jesus, whom [you] delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you." Acts 13-16

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
John 3:36

Prayer is the highest activity of man. Praying for the most innocent of lives, and for hearts to be soften.

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honestly, seeing some threads on this forum, I was kind of surprised to see "Loving your enemies here"

I wonder how many people here are praying that for example these (((bankers))) or vaxxers may accept Christ?

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honestly, seeing some threads on this forum, I was kind of surprised to see "Loving your enemies here"

I wonder how many people here are praying that for example these (((bankers))) or vaxxers may accept Christ?

I pray for my enemies, but not as often as I probably should.

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