On The Greatness of Prayer- By: Fr. Matthew The Poor

Fr. Matthew the Poor

Prayer, originally, is not the work of man alone. Neither is it performed for his comfort or for the fulfillment of his needs or demands. The greatness of prayer lies in its being the work of spiritual beings in general.  It is neither of this age, nor for this age. Thus, if we restrict prayer to the satisfaction on man’s needs and demands or to responding to his pleas in this life, it loses its essential greatness. Through hallowing the name of God, paying homage to him, thanking and honoring him with pure praise, man is transformed into a spiritual being. He thus joins the heavenly host in their transcendent ministry.

However, we ask God for temporal things because we have fallen from our original spiritual status in which we lacked nothing. Although this is alien to the original concept of prayer, God in his graciousness has come down to our level and promised to listen to our prayers when we bring him our needs and complaints, which he knows only too well. He thus assures us that he will never abandon us for our sins and that our tribulations are a matter of concern to him.

Excerpt taken from the book: Orthodox Prayer Life, By: Matthew the Poor.


2 Responses to “On The Greatness of Prayer- By: Fr. Matthew The Poor”

  1. 1 Susan Cushman February 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I love Matthew the Poor. Discovered him in 1998, when I lost my father and my Goddaughter within 2 months of each other. His writing on suffering was full of grace. btw, where did you get the icon of Mary of Egypt? She’s my patron, and I’ve got over a dozen icons of her, but never have seen that one.

  2. 2 Mary February 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Hi Susan,

    I’ve been introduced to Matthew the Poor very recently and I’m truly happy with this discovery. Sorry to hear about your father and Goddaughter, may their memory be eternal!

    The icon of St. Mary of Egypt that I have here was sent to me online through a friend. I’m sorry I can’t tell you where it’s from. Oh, and St. Mary of Egypt is my patron too. 🙂

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St. Mary of Egypt


St. Poemen the Great

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

St. Gregory the Great

"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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