Presentation on theme: "Orthodox Prayer Life The Interior WayPrayer is the journey to the kingdom: the arrival is union with God. The kingdom is not far from us, but is within."— Presentation transcript:
Orthodox Prayer Life The Interior WayPrayer is the journey to the kingdom: the arrival is union with God. The kingdom is not far from us, but is within us
What is Prayer? Lord, teach us to pray. (Luke 11:1) You have said, Seek my face. My heart says to you, Your face, Lord, do I seek. (Psalm 27:8) Prayer that is spiritual and genuine is both a call and a response: a divine call and a human response.
What is Prayer? According to St. Gregory of Nyssa, prayer is a heart-to-heart talk, forever active on Gods part, forever slow on ours. In fact, both parties call, and both respond. However, the initiative is always Gods: I spread out my hands all day long (Isaiah 65:2) In prayer, God offers us Himself
What is Prayer? Prayer is by nature a dialog between man and God. It unites the soul with its Creator and reconciles the two. Its effect is to hold the world together (St. John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent)
The Greatness of Prayer Prayer could not have an end or aim higher than itself. It is the highest aim of the highest work. Prayer is not performed for the comfort or the fulfillment of the needs or demands of man If we restrict prayer to the satisfaction of mans needs and demands or to responding to his pleas in this life, it loses its essential greatness
The Greatness of Prayer Prayer is an act of glorifying God Prayer is paying absolute honor to Gods will Isaac the Syrian says that Prayer is the kingdom of God! For this reason Christ urges us to pray: You ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1)
The Necessity of Prayer Apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5) Pray that you may not enter into temptation (Luke 22:40) Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me (Psalm 50:15) For the Father seeks such to worship Him (John 4:23)
The Necessity of Prayer A passage from pages 29-30: The ripe fruit of the blood that was shed, and the conscious response to the work of His love and suffering, is our prayer
The Effectiveness of Prayer If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13) Neither bliss, not interior peace, nor a feeling that prayer is answered, not any other feeling is equal to the hidden action of the Holy Spirit in ones soul. Such action qualifies the soul for eternal life.
The Effectiveness of Prayer The secret behind the mediation of Christ in every prayer raised to the Father in His name lies in His intercession as a high priest and in the shedding His blood as an atoning sacrifice. This made him able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25) But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. (Luke 22:32)
The Degrees of Prayer In every degree they ascend toward glory, they think they have reached the end. But if they ascend further and become illumined with a brighter light, they forget their first degree and think that this is the end! This is because it is not they who are moving towards glory but the action of the Holy Spirit within them (St John of Dalyatha)
The Degrees of Prayer Vocal Prayer Meditation Contemplation Acquired Contemplation Infused Contmplation: the gift or grace of prayer
Vocal Prayer Calls for mental effort to follow the meaning of the words we utter We should not merely recite words as if they proceeded from others to God, but they should pass through our own selves and then proceed directly from our own persons
Meditation Prayer is shared by the mind and the heart, linking thoughts and feelings The best example of this is the Psalms: select portions of Davids meditations with God
Meditation Meditation is an old,traditional term closely linked to profound and heartfelt Bible reading Such reading leaves an indelible impression upon ones memory, emotions, and tongue According to patristic tradition, meditation is the key to all graces
Meditation Meditation on the scriptures teaches the soul discourse with God When man advances in the practice of meditation with the help of grace, he begins little by little to understand the mystical subtleties in the word of God and in the Psalms.
Contemplation Prayer is a mode of concentration. This applies to its theme, like focusing ones prayer on a certain commandment or on one of Christs evangelistic or redemptive works Man would be under a strong influence of love, making his mind extremely alert
Contemplation Acquired Contemplation: -depends on the amount of love a man bears in his heart for Christ -depends on his readiness to employ all his mental powers in meditating Infused Contemplation: -Gods heart welcomes man in return for mans warm feelings of love in prayer
Beyond Prayer Ecstacy Vision of God Union with God!
Ecstacy And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them (Mark 16:8) Ecstacy, or spiritual trance, is a state of rapture. The Bible describes it…
Vision of God St Stephen: the protomartyr But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! (Acts 7:55-56)
Vision of God Thus He appeared to each of the holy fathers, exactly as He wished and as it seemed helpful to them. In one manner he appeared to Abraham, in another to Isaac, in another to Jacob, in another to Noah, Daniel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, and to each of the holy prophets. Still in another way to Elias and again differently to Moses… To each of the saints, likewise, God appeared as He wished so as to refresh them, to save and lead them into a knowledge of God. (St Macarius the Great, Intoxicated with God)
Union with God For He was made man the we might be made God; and He manifested himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and he endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality Behold the Bridegroom is coming, See, O my soul, that you sleep not …But watch that you may meet the Lord Christ with the oil of fatness and that He may grant you the true wedding of His divine glory. (Midnight Office, First Watch, Coptic Canonical Hours)
Jesus Praying For Us that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me… that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17)