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Patriarch Pavle of Serbia – On Prayer, Prayer as the Essential Need of Man

Pavle Patriarch of Serbia
The Patriarch of simplicity and humility

Reposed on 15 November 2009

Thou only, Lord, knowest what we need;
(Prayer of Pavle, Patriarch of Serbia)

In the Memory of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle
“Jesus Christ says: “Let thine light shine before the people. Let them see thine good deeds and celebrations of thine Lord who is in Heaven”. This applies to us all. If we act in this manner, if we live by this rule, then it would be easier for us, both amongst ourselves and before the people in the world among whom there are undoubtedly people of good will […] We should be and act like humans in all circumstances thus saving ourselves, our family and our nation and contribute in this manner to the whole of humanity and people of good will. […] This is my wish and I pray to God so that you could live better, more peacefully and safely than we did.”
Patriarch Pavle, From his interview in December 27, 1999

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia – On Prayer
Prayer as the Essential Need of Man

Παυλος Σερβιας_Patriarch Pavle of Serbia_ Патријарх Павле_Portret Pavle_4Patrijarh-Pavle-1    Prayer is the pious turning of the soul towards God. It is a conversation of the heart with God through which man invisibly perceives God and pours out his soul before Him. Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God, the instrument with which man soars up into the choirs of angels and partakes of their blessedness. Prayer is a God-pleasing incense.  It is the most reliable bridge that spans across the temptations of the sea of life, the indestructible rock of all who believe.  Prayer provides a quiet refuge, a Godly garment that clothes the soul in goodness and beauty. Prayer is the mother of all good deeds, a guardian of chastity, a seal of virginity, and a sure protection from man’s eternal foe – the devil. Drive out the enemy with the Name of Christ, for there is no means more powerful than this, either in heaven or on earth. Prayer is the foundation upon which rests the world, the appeasement of God for our sins.  It is a port which no tempest can reach, an illumination of the mind, the axe which cuts down our despondency, the dispersing of sadness, the birth of hope, the temperance of anger, the intercessor of all those who are judged, the joy of those who are imprisoned, and salvation for the dying.

   Nothing is more precious in the life of man than prayer. Prayer makes possible even the impossible. It makes easy what is hard and comfortable what is uncomfortable.  Prayer is as necessary for man’s soul as is air for breathing. He who does not pray is deprived of conversation with God, and is like a fruitless tree that does not bear good fruit and will in time be cut down and thrown into the fire (Mat. 7:19).

  “When you direct your mind and your heart towards the heavens,” says St. Macarios the Great, “and when you desire to be united with the Lord, then a multitude of demons like a dark cloud hovers over you that they might block the heavenward path. But as the ancient walls of Jericho crumbled under God’s might, so now too will the rocks of evil that block your mind give way and be thrown down under the might of God. When you are praying, always bear in mind before Whom it is that you are standing. Be as one deaf and mute to all that surrounds you, cry unto the Lord for help and He will hasten to help you. It is necessary to pull out, by the root, any feelings of anger and be completely pure of every bodily desire, no matter what this desire may be directed towards.”

 The teachers of the Church and the Holy Fathers advise that everyone should have humility and  contrition in their hearts for their sins during prayer. For if a man does not feel deep within his heart his own sinfulness, God will not hear his prayer. One can see that clearly from the prayer of the Publican. A prayer cleansed by tears of humility and repentance is heard at once. Pouring forth from a contrite soul, the prayer penetrates the clouds, as the wise Solomon says, and does not stop until it reaches the Lord.

Παύλος Σερβίας- Павел Сербский- Pavle of Serbia33DSC00632 (2)   At a time of prayer do not busy yourself with other things, for the demons will always attempt to distract you with every kind of business. Should your soul find solace in the sweetness of the words of a prayer, continue praying, for then your guardian angel also prays with you. Saint Nephon once saw a monastic who was praying while walking along. His prayer ascended from his mouth into the heavens like a fiery flame. The monk walked on, and an angel of the Lord also walked with him, escorting him with a fiery lance with which he fended off demons from the monk.

 “Pray without ceasing”, said the holy apostle, “lest you fall into temptations.” Ceaseless prayer means that we should not only pray all the time, but that we should at all times remember God, feel His presence and know that He is here before us, that He sees our actions, our intentions and our thoughts. Therefore it is a beautiful custom to call upon the Lord from the heart with short prayers for every situation and every type of work one undertakes. At the beginning of work, one may say, for example: “O God help me!” or: “O Lord, bless.” Upon finishing one’s work, one might say: “Glory to God for all things”, or “I thank Thee, O Lord.” In unforeseen difficulties, or any kind of temptation, one should cry: “Save me , O Lord!” “O God, be merciful to me!” “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” “Most Holy Mother of God, save us!”

Troparion — Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,  an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;  your humility exalted you;  your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Pavle,  entreat Christ our God  that our souls may be saved.

Your Holiness, Beloved Patriarch Pavle,May his soul dwell with the Righteous!

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