The holy prayer

Scripture, Divine Tradition and the Holy Fathers have given us great volumes of works devoted to prayer. Whether we are in Church, at home, at work, traveling, or at leisure, prayer constitutes our most intimate union with God. It is inconceivable even to imagine oneself as being an Orthodox Christian with out prayer; in fact, the more one “lives and breathes” Orthodoxy, the more one’s soul and body strive toward prayer, and the more one strives to develop perpetual, heartfelt communion with God every moment of one’s life. To walk with God’s presence felt continually in one’s heart is to walk with un ceasing prayer. Christ Himself is our ex ample Who not only prayed corporally (Matt. 14:23; 26:36; Luke 6:12; John 17), but perpetually “beheld” within, God the Father (John 10:38).

There are many Christian virtues which we should follow, e.g., giving alms, showing mercy, being gentle, not arguing, etc., but these often require and depend upon circum stance-prayer, however, we can a 1 w a y 5 practice; there is no circumstance which can prevent us in our conscious existence from conversing with God. Prayer should be our first, middle and final endeavor as Orthodox. From the moment of waking, to the time of sleeping, we should strive not to let prayer leave our hearts. Even while we sleep, God in His mercy is able to grant us prayer during such hours of “unconsciousness”-for, although we sleep, the heart is awake (Song 5:2). If we have prayer in our hearts continuously, then we stand always before God and all other. Christian virtues are then easy to fulfill. As St. Tikhon of Zadonsk wrote:

As a bird without wings, as a soldier without arms, so is a Christian without prayer.

We are like birds ever striving to fly to God and dwell in His unutterably joyful Kingdom. and we are like soldiers perpetually battling those dark, evil forces which tempt us and often cause us to fall; with the wings of prayer we can soar to God and with the arms of prayer we can scatter the temptations of the dark ones, gaining for ourselves peace, crowns, and the Kingdom of Heaven.

The following are but a few of the teachings that we have been given about prayer and the reading of Divinely inspired books as ex pounded by Scriptures and the Holy Fathers- in particular, the emphasis is on personal prayer. We should strive to read and re read these words, implant them in our hearts, and put them into practice.

What is Prayer and Why It Is Needed

God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

What then, is prayer? Prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to God in praise and thanksgiving to Him and in supplication for the good things that we need, both spiritual and physical. Prayers are spiritual because they are originally born in the (human) spirit and ripen there by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. In their origin they (i.e. prayers, psalms, hymns, etc.) were purely spiritual and only afterwards came to be clothed in words and so assumed an oral form (Bp. Theophan the Recluse)

When you praise the Lord, exalt Him as much as you can; for He will surpass even that.

Every man when praying converses with God. Each of us understands how great a thing it is, being man, to converse with God; but I doubt if anyone can express this honor in words, for it is higher even than the station of angels. A man who strives all his life to practice praying and serving God, speedily becomes akin to angels in life, honor, estate, wisdom and understanding.

If you deprive yourself of prayer, it is like taking a fish out of water; for as water means life to a fish, so prayer means life to the soul. .. Prayer is the cause of salvation, the source of immortality, the indestructible wall of the Church, the unassailable fortress, which terrifies the demons and protects us in the work of righteousness.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (II Tim. 3:16)

When you read the Gospels, Christ speaks to you; when you pray, you are speaking to Him…. The Bible should be read not just for analysis, but as an immediate dialogue with the living Word Himself-to feed our love for Christ, to kindle our hearts with prayer and to provide us with guidance in our personal life. (St. Tikhon of Zodonsk)

When one reads the Holy Scriptures, one should apply everything to oneself and not to someone else. As a Book uniquely inspired by God and addressed to each of the faithful personally, the Bible possesses sacramental power, transmitting Grace to the reader, bringing him to a point of meeting and decisive encounter with God. (St. Mark the Monk)

Keep on studying the Gospels until the end of your life. Never stop. Do not think you know it enough, even if you know it all by heart. (Bp. Ignatius Brianchaninov)

How to Pray and Types of Prayer

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door; pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matt. 6:6)

The room of the soul is the body; its doors are the five bodily senses. The soul enters its room when the mind does not wander here and there, roaming among the things and affairs of the world, but stays within, in our hearts. Our senses become closed and re main closed when we do not let them be passionately attached to external sensory things and in this way our mind remains free from every worldly attachment, and by secret mental prayer unites with God our Father.

(St.Gregory Palamos)

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.   (Eph. 5:19)

What is meant by those who sing with their “heart to the Lord?” It means: undertake this work with attention, for those who are in attentive sing in vain, pronouncing only words, while their heart wanders elsewhere. (St. John Chrysostom)

When you pray, try to let the prayer reach your heart; in other words, it is necessary that your heart should feel what you are talking about in your prayer, that it should wish for the blessing for which you are asking…. Observe, during prayer, whether your heart is in accord with that which you are saying. (St. John of Kronstadt)

Our prayer reflects our attitude towards God. He who is careless of salvation has a different attitude toward God from him who has abandoned sin and is zealous for virtue but has not yet entered within himself and works for the Lord only outwardly. Finally, he who has entered within and carries the Lord within himself, standing before Him, has yet another attitude. The first man is negligent in prayer, just as he is negligent in life, and he prays in church and at home merely according to the established custom, without attention or feeling. The second man reads many prayers and goes often to church, trying at the same time to keep his attention from wandering and to experience feelings in accordance with the prayers which are read, al though he is seldom successful. The third man, wholly concentrated within, stands with his mind before God, and prays to Him in his heart without distraction, without long verbal prayers, even when standing for a long time at prayer in his home or in church…. Every prayer must come from the heart and any other prayer is no prayer at all. Prayer-book prayers, your own prayers and very short prayers, all must issue forth from the heart to God, seen before you. (Bp. Theophun the Recluse)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matt. 21:22)

Remember that while you pray, God expects from you a positive answer to His question: “Do you believe that I can fulfill your prayer?” You must be able to answer from the bottom of your heart: “Yes, I believe, O God,” and then you will be answered according to your faith. (St. John of Kponstodt)

How many times have I prayed for what seemed a good thing for me and not leaving it to God to do as He knows best But having obtained what I begged for, I found myself in distress because I had not asked for it to be, rather, according to God’s will. (St. Nilus of Sinai)

I had rather speak five words with my understanding… than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. (I Cor. 14:19)

Pray Simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable gift of prayer Consider yourself unworthy of it-then you will find peace. Use the empty, cold dryness of your prayer as food for your humility. Repeat constantly: “I am not worthy, Lord, I am not worthy!” But say it calmly, without agitation. This humble prayer will be acceptable to God. (Elder Macarius of Optina)

You should not make long prayer, for it is better to pray little but often. Superfluous words are idle talk. (St. Theophylact)

Strive to render your mind deaf and dumb during prayer. Blessed is the mind which during prayer keeps itself wholly without image or fantasy. (St. Nilus of Sinai)

Do not rush one prayer after another but say them with orderly deliberation, as one addressing a great person for a favor. Do not just pay attention to the words, but rather let the mind be in the heart, standing before the Lord in full awareness of His presence, in full consciousness of His greatness and grace and justice. (Theophun the Recluse)

The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  (Matt. 11:12)

In order to pray a man must struggle to has last breath. If we do not find prayer difficult, perhaps it is because we have not really started to pray. (Abba Agathon)

I advise you to convince yourself a n d force yourself to prayer and every good action, even if you do not feel the desire for it. God seeing such labor and application will give you goodwill and zeal. Such good will and a certain attraction to prayer is often a result of habit. Get into this habit and it will draw you to prayer and good actions. (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)

If you strive after prayer, prepare yourself for diabolical suggestions and bear patiently their onslaughts; for they will attack you like wild beasts…. Try as much as possible to be humble and courageous. He who endures will be granted great joy. (St. Nilus of Sinai)

Do not spare yourself from heartfelt prayer even when you have spent the whole day in hard work. Do not indulge in laziness when you pray; tell God everything that is in your heart. If you allow yourself time to pray with diligence, you will not fall asleep before you have wept over your sins. Believe that, if for the sake of bodily rest you pray hurriedly, you will lose the tranquility of both body and soul. By what labor, sweat and tears is our closeness to God achieved! (St. John of Kronstadt)

Pray without ceasing. (I Thess. 5:17)

Make sure that you do not limit your prayer merely to a particular part of the day. Turn to prayer at anytime. (St. John Chrysostom)

In everything they (the Apostles) did, they thought of God and lived in constant devotion to Him. This spiritual state was their unceasing prayer. (St. Basil the Great)

Rising in the morning stand as firmly as possible before God in your heart, as you offer your morning prayers and then go to the work apportioned to you by God, without withdrawing from Him in your feelings and consciousness….When there is no inner activity occupying a person, one must develop a habit of a continual repetition of a short prayer. This will eventually repeat itself and will bring one to constant remembrance of God, thus rejecting other thoughts of no profit. However, habit of the tongue is one thing, establishment in the heart is another. (Bp. Theophan the Recluse)

Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

Let not one think, my fellow Christian, that only priests and monks need to pray with out ceasing and not laymen No, no; every Christian without exception ought to dwell always in prayer. (St. Gregory Polomas)

St. Xenia Press

Melbourne. Australia

Source: Orthodox America, Feb 1983

“This is the mystery of Pentecost: The Holy Spirit illuminates the human spirit and, by revealing Christ Crucified and Risen, indicates the way to become more like him, that is, to be ‘the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ.’” (Pope Benedict XVI, June 4, 2006)

Dear Father, in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to stir up within me the fullness of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to grow in my relationship with the Third Person of Your Holy Trinity and to live in His power and use His gifts.

Lord Jesus, You promised, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). Help me to remember that I don’t know everything, and that this is okay, because the Holy Spirit understands it all. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and His understanding of everything that is happening in my life.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus asked the Father to give me the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17). Help me to recognize You in the scriptures. Open my mind to understand Your truths, and open my heart to accept Your truths in faith even before I gain right understanding.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “The one who receives the seed that falls on good soil hears the word and understands it. He produces an abundant crop” (Matt. 13:23). Be the gardener of my life. Nourish the seeds of heaven that You have already placed within me and make it grow so that Your love, Your ways, and Your kingdom will always grow within me and produce much good fruit for others.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say” (Luke 12:11-12). Help me to trust in You always. Help me to remember that with You, nothing is impossible, and that You work everything according to what is good and right and timely, even if it doesn’t seem so to me.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and everything else you need will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Help me to let go of all my earthly attachments. First help me to recognize what I am attached to that is not of You, and then hold my hand as I walk away from the things of the world. Give me the determination and the strength to let go so that I have no other gods before me. I want only You.

O Holy Spirit, You are the Comforter. Help me to let go of the losses in my life. Heal my heart. And help me to face my sinfulness and to feel genuine sorrow for the damage ~ both intentional and unintentional ~ that I have inflicted on others and in so doing have inflicted on Jesus. Comfort me as I mourn my need for forgiveness, and give me Your spirit of rejoicing over this new growth in me.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus freely chose to suffer and die for me because of His tremendous love for me. I have pains in my life ~ hurts, wounds, sufferings, trials, difficulties ~ and I want to run from them. Strengthen me to follow in Jesus’ footsteps so that I can walk my road to Calvary without fearing evil, and lead me into my new life of victory and resurrection.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said that He would not leave us orphans, but would send You to us (John 14:18). How often I have wept or complained because it seemed like You were not with me in my sorrows and sufferings! Help me to recognize Your presence in ALL situations. Help me to turn to You and find You, for You never leave me nor abandon me. You care even more about me and my problems than I do. You are working a plan for my benefit, to make good come from everything that happens to me. Help me to discover Your presence in every moment of my life.

O Holy Spirit, by the cross of Jesus we are healed! By His resurrection we live in the new life of total, unconditional love. Help me to share that healing love with all those around me. Jesus commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Help me to declare with power the Good News of Jesus Christ. Send me to where You can use my gifts and talents to make a difference.

O Holy Spirit, You gave Yourself to the Virgin Mary and she said “yes” to becoming the mother of the Messiah. Help me to say “yes!” to whatever it is You are calling me to do. I want to serve the Father and make Jesus’ love more evident in the world around me.

O Holy Spirit, I have my own expectations about what I should and should not do. I now surrender to You my ideas, my limitations, my preferences, and my goals. Fill me, Holy Spirit, with all Your supernatural gifts! Empower me to accept and grow in the supernatural life as much as the early disciples did. I want to be useful to You. I want to go where You lead me. Holy Spirit, send me forth gifted and empowered to make a difference spreading the Good News of God’s forgiving love.

Come, Holy Spirit; renew me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

© 2000 by Terry A. Modica

A Testimony from a reader of the Good News daily Good News Reflections:

Dear Terry,

Thanks for the beautiful reflection as well as for the link to the Prayers to the Holy Spirit. I saw this link about a year ago, printed it and use it very often during my prayers.

You mentioned about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit being a necessity in one’s spiritual life. Let me share a little on this subject. My wife and I were in quite a bad spiritual state (practically anti-God) when we were told that we could not have a child. The Lord in his mercy drew us to a prayer meeting where there were testimonies by people from various faiths including some priests and leaders from the local Charismatic Renewal. We listened in particular to two gentlemen, a father and son.

Their testimony was so powerful and it touched us so much that I went forward to be prayed over when the call was given and was prayed over by the older gentleman mentioned earlier. It was such a dramatic experience that it gives me shivers even when I think of it today, 30 years later. I was in tears, shaking and shivering, and I received the gift of tongues on the spot. My wife saw my experience, and she too went up and had a similar experience.

Life was completely different after that. We were able to tell the Lord that even if he wanted us to be childless, we would be happy, as his will was more important that our want. It is only after this acceptance that the Lord gifted us with a son ten years into our marriage.

The idea of this sharing is to inform those who have not had the privilege of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to go ahead and attend a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” and I can guarantee you that it will be an experience that will overhaul your life.

God Bless

Next: See Lord Send Out Your Spirit
a Multi-Media Meditation at Catholic Digital Resources

Or use this Novena to the Holy Spirit
Or read: Who is the Holy Spirit?

Cardinal Mercier’s Prayer To The Holy Spirit

“I am going to reveal to you a secret of sanctity and happiness. For five minutes every day quiet your imagination, close your eyes to everything visible and your ears to all external sounds and withdraw into the sanctuary of your baptized soul which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. There, speak to the Holy Spirit and say:

“O Holy Spirit

Beloved of my soul I adore you. Enlighten Me Guide Me, strengthen Me and Console me. Tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it. I promise to submit to everything that you ask of me and to accept all that you allow to happen to me. Just show me what is your will.”

If you do this, your life will be happy and serene. Even in the midst of troubles you will experience great consolation, for grace will be given to strengthen and help you to cope with every difficulty”

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.

Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in our lives the work of Your grace and love.

  • Grant us the Spirit of Fear Of The Lord that we may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.
  • the Spirit of Piety that we may find peace and fulfillment in the service of God while serving others;
  • the Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with our salvation;
  • the Spirit of Knowledge that we may know You and know ourselves and grow in holiness;
  • the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our minds with the light of Your truth;
  • the Spirit of Counsel that we may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
  • Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may aspire to the things that last forever;

    Teach us to be Your faithful disciples and animate us in every way with Your Spirit. Amen.

Children’s Prayer to Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit…
bring me today…   love, joy and peace… in all that I say.

Come Holy Spirit…
help me be like you…   showing kindness and goodness in all that I do.

Come Holy Spirit

Please Bless my Family and Friends…  In all that we do! And bless the many people…   that might not know and love you.


Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your Divine Love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Oh God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructed the hearts of the faithful, Grant, that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Invocation to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit,

come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your well-beloved spouse.

Come, Holy Spirit,

come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your well-beloved spouse.

Come, Holy Spirit,

come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your well-beloved spouse.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.

Veni Creator

Come, O Creator Spirit blest! And in our souls take up Thy rest; Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid, To fill the hearts which Thou hast made. Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry, O highest gift of God most high! O font of life! O fire of love! And sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known, The finger of God’s hand we own; The promise of the Father, Thou! Who dost the tongue with power endow. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us Thy true peace instead; So shall we not, with Thee for guide, Turn from the path of life aside. Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know, And Thee, through endless times confessed, Of both, the eternal Spirit blest. All glory while the ages run Be to the Father and the Son Who rose from death; the same to Thee, O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

Spreading the Word of God

Lord, you have enriched me

with the strength of your word. You have opened my mind and heart to see the wonders you have created. You have blessed me with the gift of communication to share your divine message.

Holy Spirit, help me to understand

the power of these gifts, and teach me to use them wisely. Bless all who use their talents to communicate the Gospel. Guide those who work in the field of communications to use their power for the good of your people. This I ask through Jesus Christ, Our Lord Amen

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