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Prayer is to be commended, for it engenders in the soul a distinct conception of God. And the indwelling of God is this – to have God set firm within oneself through the process of memory. We thus become a temple of God whenever earthly cares cease to interrupt the continuity of our memory of him.
Saint Basil
The Heart of Basilian Spirituality Letter 2




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What Scripture Teaches us About Prayer

a. We should persevere in watching and prayer.
Matthew 7:7-8: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Luke 18.1-8: Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Luke 21:34-36: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Col. 4:2: “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…”
I Thess. 5:16-17: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing…”

b. We should give thanks to God even for the daily sustenance required by the body, before we partake of it.
Matthew 14:19: Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
Acts 27:35: And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.
1 Tim. 4:4: For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving...

c.We should not recite long and repetitious prayers for things that are perishable and unworthy of the Lord.
Matthew 6:7-8: And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Luke 12:29-30: And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.

d. How we should pray, and with what dispositions of soul.
Matthew 6:9-10: In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven...
Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Mark 11:25: And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
1 Tim. 2:8: I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting...

e. That we should pray for one another and for those who are preachers of the Word of Truth.
Luke 22:31-32: And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Eph 6:18-20: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
2 Thess 3:1: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you...

f. That we should pray even for our enemies.
Matthew [5.44,45]: 'Pray for them that persecute and calumniate you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.'

g. That no man ought to pray or prophesy with his head covered; and no woman, with uncovered head.
1 Cor. 11:3-5: But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

Father of the Church: Saint Basil in Morals pp138-140