Prayer is a conversation with God and it is the essence of the life of all angels in Heaven and all the saints. It is the very heart of all virtue – faith most of all. Without prayer it is impossible to conceive and understand mysteries of Orthodox faith, of the world we live in, of the people we relate to. Above all, without prayer there is no true love of God or true knowledge of God. All the mysteries of faith are revealed in a prayerful mind and a pure heart.
The Holy Apostle Paul recommends: ‘Pray ceaselessly’. The entire life of the Church is a ceaseless prayer, a ceaseless service to God.
In addition to communal services and prayers attended by all Christians, there are prayers that relate to everyday family life and prayers that are implemented in the quietness of solitude. Prayers can be divided into prayers of praise and glorification, prayers of thanksgiving, and prayers of supplication.
A Christian starts and ends his day in prayer. This is how he offers himself and his entire life to God. A prayer precedes each endeavor, but also every meal. It helps to pacify the upheavals of the soul. Above all, prayer is the way to approach and understand God, the way to intensify love towards God and towards fellow men. We should not learn to pray only at those occasions of real necessity, i.e. when we require God’s assistance immediately. The Christian ideal is to pray ceaselessly, without effort – just as easy as we breathe. It is advisable to learn from the experience of numerous Orthodox adepts of prayer and, by initially repeating their prayers, gain knowledge of conversing warmly and sincerely with God. However, we should not forget the advice on prayer of the Holy Fathers. Saint John Climacus says: ‘It sometimes happens when I stand in prayer that I am confronted with a need to perform an act of charity that can not be delayed. This is where love takes precedence over prayer. For love is above prayer.’