Pray in the evening, the morning, and at other moments during your daily life. Pray for the others in the community. It is only by unity in the Holy Spirit that you will be capable of building your salvation. Pray for your neighbors, and ask God to bless you by their prayers.
When we pray for someone who is ill, we say his name and we think of him, asking God to heal him. This is not an illusion, but reality. Nor do we pray because of passion, but from an attitude of Christian love towards our brother.
When our mind is wholly directed towards God, all questions cease. There remains only one question: how to have in oneself, and to keep, the Holy Spirit?
In the momentum of our spirit towards God, we can attain to the state of pure prayer. When prayer becomes pure, a new perspective, of another order, is born in man. He now goes beyond everything that he has assimilated in this world by experience or by his studies.
In the state of prayer, man knows neither his age nor his position, social or hierarchical. All the details of his earthly life are transcended. From this, one can understand better the meaning of Christ’s word: ‘In that day you will ask me nothing’.
What stance should one adopt when in church? One should be as it were ‘taut’, concentrated, in a certain tension – that is, with very great attention, so as not to be distracted by superficial things and by alien thoughts.
When our mind is free from passions, our nature which was deformed by the Fall is restored to its former beauty. If we are in God’s likeness, revelations become normal phenomena for us. The Christian way consists in filling our mind and heart with higher knowledge of God.
It is only by long experience, which may last months and years, that one acquires, little by little, a Christian attitude in prayer.
Be fools, be ‘mad’ like true ascetics! Why ‘mad’? Because to be Christian means to live on two levels at once: the present, and the eternal.
I repeat: let us now with greater attention try to construct our life.
Keep all that I have said in your consciousness, and your life will be full of interest, not only every day, but at every moment.
Do not forget these words. God has given you time to build your eternal salvation. Do not waste it!
~Adapted from Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), Words of Life, translated from the French by Sister Magdalen (Stavropegic Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Essex)