Talk 40: Advice on Prayer: Does it Have to Be So Complicated?

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Set of 3 Audio CD's

(Duration: 3hrs 14mins) 

This talk is a continuation of Talk 39. Much has been written on the subject of prayer, both by contemporary authors and by saints throughout the centuries. Yet the topic of prayer remains surrounded by ignorance, distortion and confusion. This is partly because the saints’ writings on prayer are often too deep for today’s Orthodox Christians to comprehend. On the other hand, articles by contemporary clergy and theologians frequently only add to the confusion.

In this talk, Father Kosmas relates valuable advice on the topic of prayer, mainly using the writings of recent saints or elders. These holy men, possessing the divine gift of discernment, were able to instruct Orthodox Christians living in the world how to pray. They knew how to explain the writings of the ancient fathers without creating confusion and causing spiritual disasters.

The following questions are also discussed: how does one prepare for prayer? What is meant by “shame in approaching the icons”? What is “spiritual paralysis”? Is it dangerous to be too confident in prayer? How does God protect the person who prays vaingloriously? What is meant by “pressuring God”? What should we do when we fail to say our prayers? Should we set a time limit for our prayer rule? How do we protect ourselves from excessive zeal in prayer?

Other points covered in this talk include: depression and prayer; monotony and boredom in prayer; the difficulty of praying in one’s own words; how externals in prayer can be useful; the dangers of too many prayers and prostrations; how prayer and fasting can affect the mentally ill; a fearful example of one young man’s obsession with prayer; haste and carelessness in prayer; quality versus quantity of prayer; and self-examination by the mentally ill.