-- Prayer is the speaking of the mind
to God. What structure does the mind need so that, not looking back (nor
hither and thither), it may rise to the Lord and converse with Him,
with no intermediary?
-- If Moses was forbidden to approach the earthly burning bush until he
had loosed his sandals from off his feet (Exodus 3:5), how can you not
cast away from yourself every passionate thought when you wish to see
Him, Who is above all feeling and thought, and
to converse with Him?
-- When you shed floods of tears during prayer, do not exalt yourself
for this, as though you were above many others. It is that your prayer
has received help from above, so that, having zealously confessed your
sins, you may incline the almighty to mercy by
-- Stand patiently and pray steadfastly, brushing off the impacts of
worldly cares and all thoughts; for they distract and worry you in order
to disturb the impetus of your prayer.
-- When the demons see that someone has the zeal and diligence to pray
as he ought, then they suggest to him thoughts about something,
supposedly important (and then draw away); but a little later they again
call up the memory of this thing, urging his mind
to examine it (if it is a problem – to solve it; if it is a thing – to
acquire it); and he, not finding what he seeks, feels vexed and grieved.
Then, when he stands up to pray, the demons remind him of what he had
thought of and sought for, so that his mind
should once more be moved to inquiry and his prayer become barren.
-- Strive to render your mind deaf and dumb during prayer; then you will be able to pray as you ought.
-- When you pray as you ought, there may come into your mind things
about which it seems right to be angry with your brother. There is
absolutely no anger against your brother which could be justified. If
you look, you will find that the question can be settled
quite well without anger. Therefore do your best not to be moved to
-- Do not pray that things may be according to your desires, for they
are not always in keeping with the will of God. Better pray as you were
taught, saying: "Thy will be done" on me (Matthew 6:10). And ask thus
about all things, for He always desires what
is good and profitable for your soul, whereas you do not always seek it.
-- Do not grieve if you do not at once receive from God that which you
ask. He wishes to benefit you still more by making you persist longer in
your patient prayer before Him. For what can be higher than to address
one’s converse to God and be in communion
-- Pray firstly to be purified of passions, secondly to be freed from
ignorance and forgetfulness, and thirdly to be delivered from all
temptation and forsaking.
-- Seek in prayer only righteousness and the kingdom, that is virtue and
knowledge – and all the rest "shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
-- When the sly demon, after using many devices, fails to hinder the
prayer of the diligent, he desists a little; but when the man has
finished his prayer, he takes his revenge. He either fires his anger and
thus destroys the fair state produced by prayer,
or excites an impulse towards some animal pleasure and thus mocks his
-- Why do demons wish to excite in us gluttony, fornication, greed,
anger, rancor and other passions? So that the mind, under their weight,
should be unable to pray as it ought; for when the passions of our
irrational part begin to act, they prevent the mind
from acting rationally.
-- He who prays in spirit and in truth does not borrow from creatures
thoughts to glorify the Creator, but draws from the Creator Himself
contemplations for His praise.
-- When your mind, inflamed by longing for God, little by little divests
itself of flesh, as it were, and turns away from all thoughts
engendered by sensory impressions, or from memory, being at the same
time full of adoration and rejoicing, then you may conclude
that it has approached the boundaries of prayer.