On Prayer for Neighbors
- When you are struck by other people's suffering, and the contraction of their souls, so that you are induced to pray for them with a pitying and contrite heart, pray to God to have mercy upon them and to forgive them their sins, as you would pray for the forgiveness of your own sins--that is, implore God with tears to pardon them. Likewise, pray for the salvation of others as you would pray for your own salvation. If you attain to this and make it a habit, you will receive from God an abundance of spiritual gifts, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Who loves the soul that cares for the salvation of others, because he himself, the Most Holy Spirit, wishes to save us all in every possible way, if only we do not oppose Him and do not harden our hearts. "The Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26)
If you wish to correct anyone from his faults, do not think of correcting him solely by your own means: you would only do harm by your own passions, for instance by pride and by irritability arising from it; "but cast thy burden upon the Lord" (Psalm 54:25), and pray to God "Who trieth the hearts and the reins" (Psalm 7:9) with all your heart, that He Himself may enlighten the mind and heart of that man. If He sees that your prayer breathes love, and it really comes from the depth of your heart, He infallibly will fulfill the desire of your heart; and you yourself will soon tell, seeing the change that has taken place in him for whom you have prayed, that it is the work of "the right hand of God, the Most High" (Psalm 76:10).
St. John of Kronstadt from his writings On Prayer for Neighbors
Orthodox Blagochestie, Oct.-Nov. 1994, p.6
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