The Struggle for Prayer

Fr. Sophrony relates part of his struggle for prayer and the grace he received to help others. The passage is from On Prayer. …On more than one occasion I felt as if I were crucified on an invisible cross. This would happen on Mt. Athos when I got angry with those who vexed me. My wickedness would destroy prayer and fill me with horror. At times it seemed impossible to struggle against…

In the Details – God Reigns

 For the second day, I am sitting in airports, just one of many thousands effected by a snow storm and a storm of flight cancellations. I cannot complain – I was comfortable last night and am so now. I will have missed my Tuesday appointments and responsibilities but it cannot be helped. But these are the events that precisely make up the stuff of our life. A plane doesn’t work. Traffic won’t…

Praying in the Belly of a Whale

The marvelous book of Jonah, read in its entirety on Holy Saturday, includes a very rich prayer which is obviously intended to be spoken from within the depths of Hades itself – thus its inclusion on Holy Saturday, the day on which Christ is proclaiming liberty to those “in prison.” Like the phrase from Psalm 139, “Lo if I descend into Hell there art there,” this prayer in Jonah is a poignant…

Beginning to Pray

  I have always found the little classic Beginning to Pray, by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, to be one of the best introductions to prayer. I first discovered the book in college and used it in a small study group. It has never ceased to be relevant to my situation in life. His opening paragraphs are worth a short read (and more). As we start learning to pray, I would like to…

The Morning Prayer of the Last Elders of Optina

I have loved this prayer for years and found it essential in beginning the day. Key phrases have a way of coming back throughout the events of each day. It is worth committing to heart. O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me with spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to Thy holy Will. At every hour of this day, direct and…