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Free books by Fr. Matta El-Meskeen - Pt.4

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    The Necessity of Prayer by Fr. Matta El-Meskeen This excerpt is from Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way. The human soul’s relationship with God and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2006
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      The Necessity of Prayer

      by Fr. Matta El-Meskeen
      This excerpt is from Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way


      he human soul’s relationship with God and the longing to

      speak with him are essential elements of man’s very being. In

      the same way, ministry and praise are essential elements in the

      nature of angels. The tree that is ordained to bear fruit according

      to its kind does so in its proper season. So, too, does the man who

      responds to the spirit of worship within his soul also bear good

      fruit in good time.


      he tree appeals to the eyes of the gardener as one of good

      quality when it yields the expected fruit. So does the man

      who prays in good season appeal to God. The fruit, in fact, is the

      gardener’s ultimate hope in planting the tree, then watering and

      tending it. Fruit is the relationship that binds the tree to the

      gardener’s heart and thought. It is also the main purpose that

      motivates him to care for it and keep it in his garden.


      rayer functions in much the same way. God is the good vine

      dresser who bought us with his blood and acquired us for his

      vineyard. He planted us in his kingdom. He thus expects us to

      bear fruit. This is the ultimate aim of his enduring hardship and

      suffering on the cross. The ripe fruit of the blood that was shed,

      and the conscious response to the work of his love and suffering,

      is our prayer. But is prayer vital to our existence in this world?


      irst, we should know that the world in which we now live is

      one that has fallen back to the worship of idols - money,

      greed, and sensual pleasure. It is a world from which the fear of

      God has withdrawn. The race for gathering wealth; the use of

      power, cunning, guile, and bribery for reaching distinguished

      positions; the resorting to lies for self-vindication; the use of

      force and oppression for establishing supremacy - all have now

      become commonplace. Such is the case both in the world and in

      the Church alike.


      s for how to “save myself” in such a world, it has become a

      very critical problem. It demands much struggle and

      dissociation from this corrupt environment. One has to take

      refuge in prayer as the first and only weapon. In this age, more

      than in any other, prayer has become the vital need on which hang

      the loss or the salvation of one’s soul. In such an age, man may

      live without a God and escape the notice of everyone. He may

      even be praised and commended! In the midst of this world -

      which teems with atheism, sin, and injustice - prayer now stands

      as a reminder for all of us that we have a living God, a kingdom

      prepared for us, another glorious life, and a judgment we have to



      rayer also reminds us day after day that we are not of this

      world. We are the children of light. Prayer reminds us that we

      ought not to have communion with the dissolute, the wanton, the

      lewd, or the immoral.


      rayer restrains our hearts from coveting injustice. It keeps our

      feet from wandering down the path of sin and our tongues

      from flattery and lies. Prayer supplies us with a deep insight, so

      that we may refrain from involvement in wrongdoing or

      condoning improper behavior or praising wayward or wicked



      rayer grants us every day with a new heartfelt peace in return

      for that which we lose as a result of the provocations and

      injustices that we face in the world. Had it not been for God’s

      grace, we could have been blighted with anxiety and morbidity.


      rayer is an inward light that exposes the blemishes and defects

      of our daily conduct. This saves us from being driven into the

      abyss of hell.


      ut God does not seek mere believers. Rather, he seeks “true

      worshipers...who worship him... in spirit and truth” [John

      4:23, 24]. Here, Christ refers to the lawful state of prayer that is

      recognized by the Father. For God is truth, and he accepts no

      prayer except in truth. Such a prayer knows him well and surely

      believes in him. God is Spirit, and he accepts no prayer except in

      spirit. Such a prayer knows what eternal life is and submits to the

      Spirit of God. Therefore, the prayer that is in spirit and truth is

      the only prayer acceptable to God. It is thus an expression of true

      spiritual contact with God. This definition is actually the

      summary of the whole clear-cut theological concept of true

      prayer, or spiritual prayer.


      oreover, Christ’s words that God “seeks” such worshipers,

      or prayerful people, reveals the value and need for prayer

      from God’s point of view: God seeks [John 4:23]. The word


      implies that God looks for man’s prayer and shares in

      providing the circumstances and possibilities for its success. It is

      as if the existence of man hangs ultimately in the eyes of God on

      the existence of those who worship him in spirit and truth! True

      prayer here appears as the only channel or bond between man and

      God. Without prayer, man loses the meaning of his existence and

      the purpose of his creation.


      h that we should always remember that God ever seeks our

      worship! It is as if he awaits the hour of our prayer.

      Ed. Note: Fr. Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor) is a monk and spiritual

      father of the Monastery of St. Macarius the Great, Wadi El-Natroun, Egypt.

      This excerpt is from

      Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way.
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