Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Prayer as Personal Relationship with God

Prayer has a central significance and place in a Christian’s life. This is evident through the centrality of the Divine Liturgy and the Sacraments in general. Without the practice of prayer we a spiritually hungry, not being able to achieve our full potential in life, i.e. our communion with God and our theosis, our sanctification. Vladimir Lossky explains the fact that prayer is a personal relationship with God, claiming:

‘Union with God cannot take place outside of prayer, for prayer is a personal relationship with God. Now this union must be fulfilled in human person; it must be personal, conscious and voluntary. ‘The power of prayer . . . fulfils the sacrament of our union with God’, says St Gregory Palamas, ‘because it is a bond connecting rational creatures with their Creator.’ It is more perfect than the practice of the virtues, for it is ‘the leader of the choir of the virtues’. All the virtues together subserve perfection in prayer; while the virtues cannot possibly be assured if the spirit is not constantly turned towards prayer. Moreover, the greatest of the virtues, charity, that love of God in which the mystical union is accomplished is itself the fruit of prayer – η αγάπη εκ της ευχής, as St Isaac the Syrian says. For in prayer man meets with God personally – he knows Him and he loves Him. Knowledge (gnosis) and love are closely inter-connected in Eastern asceticism.’[1]

[1] Lossky, Vadimir, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 1991, pp. 206-207. 

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