To guard love, the pinnacle of virtues, diligence in prayer is an immediate spiritual necessity. Struggle in prayer if you want our Christ to dwell in you, and He, the most experienced general, will struggle together with you. He will fight for us and grant us the victory. We become like roaring lions when we get a good grip on the prayer—not when we pray carelessly or lukewarmly, but with strength of soul! Invigorate yourselves with the thought that the prayer is everything. Without the prayer, expect a general decline, going from one fall to another. If we hold on to the prayer with all our strength during temptations, we will certainly overcome the devil and we shall ascribe the victory to the all-holy name of Christ.
The ingredients that make prayer savory
Cry out the name of God; He is ready to help everyone who asks. Do not forget the prayer; man’s entire being is sanctified by the prayer. It is the only thing which those who do not struggle to the point of shedding blood are unable to do. What is more beautiful than prayer! Whoever prays is enlightened and comes to know the will of God. And how does he know it? When he prays well, of course. And when does he pray well? When he sends his prayers to God with all the right ingredients. And what are the ingredients that make prayer savory? Humility, tears, self-reproach, simplicity, and especially obedience with love. Prayer sheds light, and this light shows the right path which God wills. The prayer should be said without flagging; by praying thus you will remain invulnerable on all sides. When you find yourselves in a state of passionate thoughts, resume the prayer eagerly and assiduously, and immediately you will find relief. Hold on to the Jesus prayer steadfastly.
Pray with the Jesus prayer constantly
We live in this vain world, but it must not attract and engross our heart so as to deaden its spiritual stamina and separate it from its Maker and God. Therefore, we ought to pray constantly, my child, in order to communicate ceaselessly with our Christ and draw spiritual strength from Him, so that we may face every demonic attack victoriously. Pray with the Jesus prayer, and He, the wonder-working Lord, first of all will forgive us the multitude of our sins, and secondly, by His grace will help us defeat the flesh, the world, and the devil— our three great enemies. Moreover, prayer is the provider of joy and peace in God. Consider how much we need joy of soul and especially divine joy. Therefore, let us see to it that at all costs we take advantage of all our spare time and utilize it for prayer.
subm. no. 3
paragraphs: 3, 7, 18, 10, 12, 19, 21, 22 from pages 303-312
From the book
Councels from the Holy mountain
Selected from the letters and homilies of Elder Efraim of Arizona
Selection of passages from the book by Silviu Podariu