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Prayer

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{{spirituality}}
'''Prayer''', with [[fasting]] and [[Alms|almsgiving]], is one of the three "pillars of piety" ([[Gospel of Matthew|Matthew]] 6:1-18). The Orthodox Church teaches that all of the [[virtues]] and powers of [[God]] are attained primarily by prayer.
==Personal and private prayer==
==Unceasing prayer==
St. [[Apostle Paul|Paul]], in his first letter to the Thessalonians says, "pray without ceasing", and to the Romans, "be constant in prayer." This has been interpreted by Orthodox tradition in two different ways. One is to have regular times for prayer which are never skipped, a [[prayer rule]]. The other is to have a brief prayer verse, usually the [[Jesus Prayer]] which is repeated over and over, literally hundreds of times throughout the day and night, until it becomes perpetually implanted in the heart, as a continual presence in the soul, calling out to the Lord.
<br>According with [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOGXdLoNl2w Father Cleopa] there are the following stages of prayer:
<ul>
<li>prayer of the lips - when prayer is just said
<li>prayer of the mind - when mind comprehends the prayer
<li>prayer of the heart - when mind descends into heart
<li>active prayer - when heart starts praying alone even in sleep
<li>all-seeing prayer - when unseen world including angels becomes visible together with future, past
<li>ecstasy prayer - when mind is taken to Heaven
<li>contemplative prayer - when people can be taken to Heaven
</ul>
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejtQagWplJc Father Paisios], [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxr6D74q-Y Father Porphyrios], Father Iakobov, [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxjhnoGZRe4 Father Arsenie Boca], [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1q0Zk7-zuE Father Ilarion Argatu] were examples of people at a high level of Prayer of the Heart. Here is an Hesychast speaking about speaking to God and about [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap7kreDRzgQ Prayer of the Heart].
<br>Practical teachings about raising through prayer stages is done in the book [http://orthodoxwiki.org/The_Way_of_a_Pilgrim The Way of a Pilgrim] and this book recommends saying "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me !" many times.
<br>The following steps are recommended:
<ul>
<li>To say the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me !" for 3000 times a day for around one week,
<br>Then
<li>To say the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me !" for 6000 times a day for around another week
<br>Then
<li>To say the prayer "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me !" for 12000 times a day for around another week and then to continue the prayer many times
</ul>
Also, practical advice about the Prayer of the Heart is found in the book named [http://orthodoxwiki.org/Philokalia Philokalia]. [http://orthodoxwiki.org/The_Way_of_a_Pilgrim The Way of a Pilgrim] book recommends a certain way in reading [http://orthodoxwiki.org/Philokalia Philokalia] so as to better understand the Prayer of the Heart.
The following chapters are recommended to be read from [http://orthodoxwiki.org/Philokalia Philokalia]
<ul>
<li>The book of Nicephorus the monk (in part two)
<li>The whole book of Gregory of Sinai, except the short chapters
<li>Simeon the new theologian on the three forms of prayer and his discourse on faith
<li>The book of Callistus and Ignatius.
<li>Part four with the summarized pattern of prayer by the most holy Callistus, Patriarch of Constantinople
<br>The books above explain the Prayer of The Hearth in a way that can be understood by everyone.
</ul>
==Intercessory prayer==
Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus, in praying to his [[God the Father|Father]], prayed for his people, and he is the only competent intercessor for mankind before God. In his resurrected glory, he prays eternally to his Father on behalf of all. In and through Christ, Orthodox Christians become competent to intercede before God. In the name of Jesus, Christians are authorized to pray for each other and for all creation. All prayer is to God the Father, through his Son, in his [[Holy Spirit]], even if not mentioned in the words of the prayer.
*[http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=191 Prayer] - V. Rev. [[Thomas Hopko]]
*[http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=sG_3pZvMQ4g Purpose of Orthodox Christian prayer], Bishop. Christodoulos of the Holy Metropolis Old Calendar G.O. Church discusses the purpose of Orthodox Christian prayer.
*[http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/ Orthodox Prayer]
*[http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1FEWldidLCM Amateur video on Orthodox Prayer]
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