In his conversation with Nicholas Motovilov, St Seraphim of Sarov instructs that the aim of the Christian life is to acquire the Holy Spirit. Practising the virtues should not be the goal of our spiritual life; rather the virtues should be the means by which the goal is achieved.
The previous articles (Part 1 and Part 2) discussed why we pray, what prayer is, when we pray and where we should pray, all important practical questions for living in an Orthodox Christian manner. This article deals with how we should pray, and goes very briefly into certain ways to make our prayer more effective.
The previous article discussed what prayer is and why we pray. Now we turn to when and where we should pray, both important practical questions for living in an Orthodox Christian manner. Again, this article will draw heavily from the Church Fathers and Saints.
So much could be said about this topic. This article will start off by answering a couple of basic questions about prayer in order to get the ball rolling.
Just a short disclaimer here, this article doesn’t come from some great authority on prayer and the ascetic struggle. It comes from a struggling student. However, I will quote from real experts, saints who lived the words of St Paul to “pray unceasingly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
This second article on warfare and Orthodoxy plans to focus on the warfare that every baptised Orthodox Christian is called to engage in, the spiritual warfare. Many great books have been written on this very subject, and this author would recommend the four volumes of the Evergetinos, Unseen Warfare by St Theophan the Recluse, and The Field and The Arena by St Ignatius Brianchaninov. These provide step by step methods by which we can start to take our spiritual lives seriously and engage in spiritual exercise. First among these books is the Ladder of Divine Ascent of St John Climacus, which is traditionally read during Great Lent. What follows is but a brief summary of the idea of spiritual warfare.
"What do I need?" A Lenten reflection on passages from the spiritual diary of St John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
St John of Kronstadt, a saint of the 19th century, made some Lenten reflections on the things that are necessary in this life. He starts, “What do I need? I need nothing upon earth besides the indispensable. What do I need? I need the Lord, I need His grace, His kingdom within me.”