Unceasing Prayer

My dear friend,

I write to you for we both share a deep common desire to live a prayerful manner all the days of our life. Is it possible that in every work I do, I can simultaneously be praying? To that question, St. Paul answers us with a very confident YES!!! He teaches us saying, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whether you are playing, eating, studying, or even sleeping, you can be praying.  St. John Chrysostom advises us, “Make sure that you do not limit your prayer merely to a particular part of the day. Turn to prayer at anytime.” How you may ask? Before we can answer this question we must answer: What is prayer? As said by St. Issac the Syrian, “Prayer is the ‘refuge of help, source of salvation, a treasury of assurance, a haven that rescues from the tempest…a staff of the infirm, a shelter in times of temptation, a medicine at the height of sickness, a shield of deliverance in war, an arrow sharpened against the face of his enemies.” Isn’t prayer so beautiful? In prayer, there is no longer heaven and earth, but the manifest presence of God is revealed. Now, why would anyone not want to have this communion with God at all times? But the difficult question still remains: how can we do this godly work at every single moment of our life? To simply put it, the mentioning of the name of God is the greatest prayer one can offer. “So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name” (Malachi 3:16). God never forgets every cry out to Him, even if it’s just the mention of His name. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). Let our shield be this precious name that even the angels fear to utter. My beloved friend, believe in the power of His name. Repeat it unceasingly.

To the one who prays prior to eating: has he ever wondered why he chooses to pray? Is it possible that his mom is a terrible cook and he fears that he may fall ill to her always-burnt food and he is need of God’s healing presence to recover? Of course not. Maybe he then offers this short prayer so he can give thanks to God, the provider of this food, and on top of that, offer a petition on behalf of those who are less fortunate than him? No, it is much deeper than that. The man who prays before he eats prays because he cannot stand to be away from God for one second. He is asking that God would come and dine with him. He is inviting God to sit with him because this man is attached to God with every ounce of his soul.

You may be asking, well how can one be sleeping and praying at the same time. Fr. Tadros Malaty shares a very beautiful story that once he was taking a confession of a middle-aged man, and the man was regularly confessing his sins and then all of a sudden says, “Father, forgive me for when I’m in my bed, I sleep with my legs crossed.” Father looks at him in a very confused face and asks him, “I don’t understand. What do you mean?” The man strangely looks at him and replies, “How can I possibly sleep with my legs crossed? When I am sleeping, the Lord Christ is holding me in his arms and I am resting my head in His bosom.” Father Tadros looked at the man perplexed by his confession. See the man who unceasingly prays that even in his sleep he feels like he is resting in the arms of God. 

In order to see God in all you do and pray unceasingly, you must turn every activity into a prayer. Equally important, make sure that you are faithful in every work you do. Never sacrifice the presence of God just so that you can obtain a good grade. Although I believe that nothing I write to you can truly enhance your prayer life, all I ask of you is that you stand before God and the Lord will reveal himself to you and let the remembrance of the name of the Lord be always on your mind and heart. God is not mere words that can be taught, but a person that must be experienced. I feel like the most fitting way for us to end this is by praying together.

 

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

My beloved Lord, I thank you for you have allowed me to utter Your holy name, which I am so unworthy of saying. Every time I mention your blessed name I am renewed. I am sanctified. I am made holy. O Lord, you are so loving and I am not. O Lord, you are holy and I am not. O Lord, you are pure and I am not. O Lord, you are sinless and I am sinful. Mold me into a holy being that I may please you all the days of my life. I am weak when I am alone, but I am strengthened by your love. No matter where I am, allow me to enter into the inner room of my heart. My Lord, my heart is empty, fill it with Yourself. Allow me to only be occupied with you O my beloved Jesus Christ. Lord, how can I dare to forget about your great work for me for a single moment. You were determined to give Yourself up for the life of the world and I have chosen to live my life in darkness. Raise me from my weak and wretched state so that I may be a fellow partaker in Your glory. There is nothing that I desire more than the remembrance of You. For my heart will forever be restless until it rests in you. Amen.

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