Author: Mother Erene
The life of prayer
The life of prayer is beautiful and gives us joy and peace. It is a key by which we open heaven and get what we want from God according to His will. Prayer is our relationship with God and the only door through which we can enter Paradise and sit with the God of glory and talk with Him because when one spends good and ample time sitting with God and talking with Him, one feels as if in Paradise.
When you love someone, you like to always see him and talk with him. You say that talking with that person in time of distress, helps you relieve your pain and comforts you. Then imagine how it should be when you sit with God and talk with Him! Imagine the joy that you will receive.
While sitting with God, we acquire some good virtues and some of His characteristics. It is exactly when you live with someone. You start to adopt some of his qualities unconsciously, a word or an expression. So it is when we sit with God; we take from His qualities which are: peace, joy, love, giving and sacrifice.
Prayer is the resource, the spring that cures our spiritual, psychological and physical illnesses.
Prayer during our day
Our teacher, St Paul the apostle says to the Ephesians, “Pray always with all prayer and supplication…” (Eph. 6:18).
You will say, “Tamav, we are living in the world; are we monks?” I will tell you, pray even a few simple words while you are in the car; say the Jesus Prayer:
> Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me
> Lord Jesus Christ, save me.
> Lord Jesus Christ, I praise You
> Lord Jesus Christ I glorify You
And look for anything sweet to thank Him, glorify Him and praise Him for.
If you know the Psalms by heart, recite them while you are in the car. Thus when you stand to pray, your prayer will be deep and spiritual, because all day you are doing what? You are speaking with God.
Our teacher, St Paul the Apostle says in his epistle to the Colossians, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Col. 4:2)
What are the conditions of prayer?
To be performed with depth and humility. The most important thing is that it comes from the heart; it is not to be imposed or regarded as a rule or a certain duty. No. I should pray with joy, with depth, with a feeling that I am in the presence of God. The tax collector said a few words, “God be merciful to me a sinner.’ But he said them humbly and deeply so he went down to his house justified and God accepted his prayer more than that of the Pharisee who said, “I do this and that.” Sometimes we are busy with many things such as meetings, work and peace, so how can we pray deeply?
> To be able to do so, we have to take a time of preparation before prayer to free our mind of these things. At first one can read a chapter from the bible, chant a hymn or a beautiful carol, or make prostrations.
> We should be standing up while praying. Believe me when we pray with intensity, we forget about our exhaustion, that is, we do not feel that we are tired. If we still feel tired, we can sit a little bit, then stand up again and complete our prayer with depth.
> When we pray the psalms, let us do that with depth, how? We can chant the psalm or say it an audible voice. If there is no time to pray them deeply, we can recite them quickly but let us not get used to that.
> In my prayer, I should feel that I am the worst of sinners; I have to feel my weakness and desperate need for Him, because without God I can do nothing. I should feel the love of God and His patience despite my negligence.
> While praying, let me dedicate all my feelings to God and try to avoid distraction, for we get distracted quite a lot and the devil fights us. When this happens and if I have time, I can restart the psalm that I was praying. If i don’t have time, I should continue the psalm with depth. For example, one can chant it in an audible voice or pray in an improvised or spontaneous way in an attempt to concentrate on praying, to enjoy the words of our prayer and thus overcome distraction.
> Prayer needs struggle. Sometimes we feel bored and do not feel like praying or reading the bible. It is also possible that when we start praying, the devil attacks us and makes us lazy, or we may get a headache or fever. We have to fight and resist all these things. Here comes struggle; we force ourselves to pray.
More on prayer
> In fact, a deep and strong prayer is to be felt and experienced; it cannot be explained. Nor can one speak about it. When you get to the depth while praying, you will find a great deal of consolation. As you stand up to talk with God, you will first feel that it is only you and Him. No thoughts, no work, nothing comes between you. Then you will feel so weak and poor and tell Him, “Show me how to pray”.
> When one prays deeply and wholeheartedly to God – that is, with all his heart, mind and feelings – this gives him purity, simplicity, love, longsuffering, patience and every sweet thing without feeling exhausted. The saints used to talk continually with God while working. Everything they did was for His sake. That is why He helped them and they managed to pray with that depth.
> I wish that prayer would have the first priority in our life. When I sleep early, I will be able to wake up an hour earlier, so that I can pray at ease. In the past, the old nuns used to say, “The early prayer is protected against the devil”. I used to wonder what it meant to be “protected against the devil”. But then when one wakes up early, his mind is not yet affected by a phone call, a problem or any piece of news. So one’s mind is clear. Thus one can lift up one’s heart to God and pray properly.
Ref: Tamav Erene Leader and mother in the monastic pastures (book 4), p. 55-59