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Prayer is a Powerful Weapon
Elder Paisios - Orthodox Christian monk

Do not forget there we are going through difficult times and much prayer is needed. You must remember the great need that people have for prayer today and the great expectation God has of us to pray. Praying for the general outrageous condition of the whole world that Christ may have pity on his creations for they are heading for destruction. Pray for his divine intervention in our outrageous time for the people are heading into general confusion, into madness, and an impasse.

God has called for us to pray for the people, who have so many problems. The poor people don't even have time to cross themselves. If we who are monks and nuns don't pray then who will? The soldier in wartime is on alert always ready with his boots on. The monk must also be on alert. How I would have loved to be a Maccabee, to withdraw to the mountains and prayed constantly for the world.

We must help everyone with our prayer and not let the devil have his way with them. The devil has acquired rights. Not because God has given him permission, but because he doesn't want to violate man's free will. This is why we can help through prayer. When one is pained over the prevailing condition of the world and prays, then people can be helped, without violating free will. If you continue with the grace of God a little further we can begin to make some progress on the issue of prayer, to put into effect a certain order, to be a radar station of prayer, for the urgency of the times require it. We must organize a prayer task force. You must wage war with the komboschini (prayer rope). Pray with pain in your heart for the world. Do you know what great power such prayer has?

I am deeply hurt to see monks acting in human ways and not with prayer through God in matters which are difficult to achieve by human means. God can put everything in order. When one does good spiritual work, then, through prayer alone, one can build monasteries, equip them with all the necessary things and help the whole world. There is no need to even work, as long as one prays. A monk must try not to worry over every little difficulty, whether it is personal or affects a fellow human being, or even the general state of society, but should instead resort to prayer and send, through God, many divine powers. After all, a monk's work is precisely the work of prayer, and if any monk has not realized this, his life is without meaning.

For this reason, he must know that every worry which urges him to seek human solutions to various problems, the suffering and headaches, is a result of demonic temptation. When you see yourself worried about matters which have no human solution you don't put them in God's hands, you must understand that this is a machination of the devil, to distract you from prayer, which God can send not only divine power but many divine powers, and this help will not then be simply divine help but a miracle from God. From the moment we begin to be troubled and anxious we prevent God from intervening. We tend to put our reasoning first rather than God, the divine will, so that we may deserve divine help. The devil tries by craftily misdirecting a monk's love, to limit him into a worldly love, to a human way of helping his fellow human beings, whereas the monk can move in his own space in his own field, which is to be a wireless operator of prayer, the unique service God has given him to do. All the other things a monk may do through his human efforts are of secondary importance.

Also it is better for the monk to help others with his prayer that his words. If he does not have the power to keep someone from doing evil then he should help him from afar through prayer, otherwise he may himself be harmed. A prayer from the heart has more power than a thousand words especially for someone who won't listen. Even though people say that I help those who come to here to see me, I consider my true help to people to be my reading of the Psalms for an hour and half each day. I view all else as entertainment; people come and tell me their problems and I give them some advice, some spiritual counsel. As such any help they may receive is not from me, for it is the prayer that really helps. If I could devote all my time for prayer, I think I would be helping people more. Let's say I see two hundred suffering people a day; are there only two hundred people suffering in the world? If I see no one and spend all day praying for the whole world, then I see everyone. This is why I tell people, "I prefer to talk to God about you, rather than to talk to you about God. This is better for you, but you don't understand me."

In these difficult years let us not neglect the work of prayer. Prayer is security; it is communication with God. Do you see what Abba Isaac says? God will not ask us why we did not pray, but why we did not have a relationship with Christ and allowed the devil to torment us."

This excerpt was published in Spiritual Awakening, Vol. II.

Elder Paisios (1924-1994), was one of the towering figures of Greek Orthodox monasticism in the 20th century.

Published: May 12, 2010

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