Discovering the Depth of the Orthodox Prayer Life

March 6, 2019

As we walk through our earthly journey, sometimes our minds wonder:

“Why is Orthodoxy so demanding?”

“why do I need to endure these long prayers and even more long fasting periods?”

“Is all of this really necessary?” “Is it needed for my salvation?”

But is Orthodox Christianity merely about gaining salvation? Or is it there more to it? One special feature of Orthodoxy is the deep desire for God that the Church stimulates in Her faithful.

We say with St. Macarius the Great: “But the head [beginning] of every good endeavor and the guiding force of right actions is in perseverance of prayer … for the person who daily forces himself to persevere in prayer is enflamed with divine passion and fiery desire from a spiritual love toward God…” Orthodox Christians are not taught about God but are taught to live with God… to live heaven here and now.

The focus of Orthodoxy is therefore not only the soul’s salvation, but is a continual willingness to be in loving communion with God. Because true Christianity is not an ideology, it is neither merely a religion… Orthodox Christianity is a life. A joyful life with Christ. And this is reflected in the Church’s long and deep prayers, it is reflected in the many all-night vigils.

It is reflected in the Church’s long fasting periods. It is reflected in the Church’s feasts! We do all of this and more because we love God. Because we want to give Him all our hearts, souls and minds.

Again, we say with St. Pope Kirellos the 6th: “By prayer your mind will be enlightened, your heart healed, and your conscience purified. By prayer your heart will be filled by holy and sublime desires, and be elevated above human nature. By prayer you will be raised above earthly things, and all your desires will be turned into spiritual ones.

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