About Prayer

By Fr. Paisie Olaru of Sihla

Any prayer is a gift from God. But we, the weaker ones, we only have the prayer of the mouth (the one that we can only say with our lips). For now, you just do that, my son. For the well is deep, but the rope is short, and the bucket is small.

In the morning, read the Akatist of the Holy Theotokos and in the evening, read Her Paraklesis. The Creed is a must-read, at least once a day; and read Psalm 50 two or three times a day…

Then read more prayers. The canon is voluntary, completely dependant on one’s good-will: “The Lord’s Prayer”, countless times, “Lord Jesus…” countless times, and genuflections countless times. Each person as much as s/he can; as neither the bee itself will be able to collect all the nectar in a flower, can she. Yet it does one so much good to put such order in one’s life. I look at myself and what I usually do: if I wake up in the morning and do a bit of a prayer rule, it’s like I’m a whole new person all day. But if you wake up in the morning and start turning around in your house [worrying] – “I need to do this, and that” – then things won’t go well all day. So do a bit of canon every day, like just Jove, who would bring sacrifice each day for his sons – just in case they had done something wrong in their minds.

Every day, do as many genuflections as you can before the Holy Theotokos – at least twelve genuflections – and at each one say this, simply, like our countryside grandmas here: “Holy Mother of God, don’t leave me… don’t leave me, Mother of God”. Never forget the Holy Theotokos, my son, never forget her, for she is so good! There, my son, never give up prayer… Do a genuflection, read a psalm, say a “Lord Jesus…” prayer. One must do a bit of rule. Because a dirty shirt won’t be washed only in water, it also needs soap and something stronger, to be cleaned.

And if you say “Lord Jesus” 100 times, at least 10 times be there with your mind, too. When you talk to someone, you don’t stand before him with your back turned… do you? Let alone when you talk to God! This is what Fr. Daniel used to tell me, dear soul: “Paisie, my man, don’t let your thoughts wonder out of your cell”. [*room]

Thoughts will come and go, but don’t entertain them, don’t pay any attention to them. Make sure prayer always occupies your mind; say “Lord Jesus” at all times. Make it your habit to say that prayer all the time, and for each Akathist or Paraklesis that you left unread every day, do 24 genuflections – at least do that… Now, at midnight, here at Sihla (and in Sihăstria), we do a vigil. Try to wake up, at least cross yourself three times, say “Heavenly Father”, “The Lord’s Prayer” and whatever else you know, do 24 genuflections – and there, it’s like you’ve attended the whole vigil…

When you can’t weep during prayer, that is also for our humility, my son, so that we can become humble. Now, we don’t have to weep heavily. “Sacrifices to God are a contrite spirit: a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

Because sometimes the devil will help you weep, so that you will eventually take pride in it and lose your soul. There was a woman who would come to see us often; and one day she told me: “Father, I sometimes do 100 genuflections a day” – but she would do them without any blessing. And I told her: “From now on, don’t do 100; do only 24 a day. You have a blessing for no more, now”. And she came to me a month later and said: “Father, I can’t do the 24 genuflections a day. I don’t know what happens; I, who would do 100 genuflections every day and very easily so, now I’m not able to even do the 24 genuflections on any given day, as you told me!” See? The enemy was fighting her, because these later ones were genuflections for which she had received a blessing. When she had been doing the 100, there was also a bit of pride in them. 

So everything you do, do it with your spiritual Father’s blessing. Wherever you live, go to your spiritual Father and ask him to give you a praying rule. So that he knows your rule of prayer and you, one the other hand, will do as much as you have received blessing for. It is also good to ask for advice and blessing for any good deed that you would like to do, or for keeping a fasting day, etc… Everything you do, do it with your spiritual Father’s blessing, my son, so that the enemy doesn’t feel bold enough to interfere with your effort…


3 thoughts on “About Prayer

  1. jean-michel says:

    this one in French :

    I’ll post a few more such translations in the next days or weeks – I have a + 3000 articles long list waiting for translate, plus a few books 🙂

    Gloire à Dieu!

  2. Valahia says:

    Que Dieu vous aide dans votre travail excellent, Jean-Michel! Je me réjouis de vous avoir rencontré dans cet espace virtuel. Bonne continuation! 🙂

  3. Cazare Ieftina Timisoara

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
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    your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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