Saint Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite of Milesi
Be mindful of the Lord in goodness and seek Him in simplicity of heart; for He is found with those who do not tempt Him, and appears to those who are not unfaithful to him. Wisdom 1:1 – 2
Elder Porphyrios tells a story about a converstion on prayer he had with a visiting Bishop.
He asked the Bishop, “What is meant by praying ‘in simplicity of heart and artlessness?'”
The Bishop replied, “Praying with simplicity.”
The elder then asked, “And do you understand what that means, your Emenince?”
He responded, “Yes I do.”
The Elder then said, “Well, I don’t. It is a mystery. It’s something that happens only with divine grace.“
The Bishop replied, “You are quite right. I don’t understand either. An I’m grateful to you for reminding me that simplicity and artlessness can only be understood and achieved though divine grace.”
The lesson is that true prayer cannot be gained by any external set of rules or method. It only comes based on a humble loving relationship with God. Prayer is mystical and comes with grace.
The Elder tells us,
Simplicity and gentleness are a very saintly mode of spiritual life, but you cannot learn this in an external way. It must suffuse itself mystically within you so that your soul embraces this mode of life through the grace of God.
Elder Porphyrios says,
We shouldn’t continue relentlessly in order to acquire what we want; rather we should leave all things to the will of God. What happens when we peruse what we want? These always increase and we are never satisfied with what we have. The more we chase after these wants the more elusive they become. If we pray for good grades next we will ask for a good job. Then it will be for a better job and so forth.
What should we ask for in our prayer?
The Elder says,
In our prayer we should ask only for the salvation of our soul…. The secret is to ask for your union with Christ with utter selflessness, without saying “give me this” or “give me that.”… We should ask for the will of God to be done.
The enemy is our egoism.