st. john the wonderworker
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the struggle for prayer...

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by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

In our struggle for prayer the emotions are almost irrelevant; what we must bring to God is a complete, firm determination to be faithful to him and strive that God should live in us. We must remember that the fruits of prayer are not this or that emotional state, but a deep change in the whole of our personality. What we aim at is to be made able to stand before God and to concentrate on his presence, all our needs being directed Godwards, and to be given power, strength, anything we need that the will of God may be fulfilled in us. That the will of God should be fulfilled in us is the only aim of prayer, and it is also the criterion of right prayer. It is not the mystical feeling we may have, or our emotions that make good praying. Theophane the Recluse says: ‘You ask yourself, “Have I prayed well today?” Do not try to find out how deep your emotions were, or how much deeper you understand things divine; ask yourself: “Am I doing God’s will better than I did before?” If you are, prayer has brought its fruits, if you are not, it has not, whatever amount of understanding or feeling you may have derived from the time spent in the presence of God.’

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