Ascend to God In Your Heart- by: St. Theophanes the Recluse

St. Theophanes the Recluse

Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book, and still not have prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their prayer rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their morning prayers, and think that their relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at prayer and complete his evening rule. In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the morning prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. As a result, it happens that one does not often feel like praying, and cannot get control of himself even to soften his heart a little bit. In such an atmosphere, prayer develops and ripens poorly. This problem needs to be corrected, that is, one must ensure that the soul does not only make petition to God when standing in prayer, but during the whole day, as much as possible, one must unceasingly ascend to Him and remain with Him.

In order to begin this task, one must first, during the course of the day, cry out to God more often, even if only with a few words, according to need and the work of the day. Beginning anything, for example, say “Bless, O Lord!” When you finish something, say, “Glory to Thee, O Lord”, and not only with your lips, but with feeling in your heart. If passions arise, say, “Save me, O Lord, I am perishing.” If the darkness of disturbing thoughts comes up, cry out: “Lead my soul out of prison.” If dishonest deeds present themselves and sin leads you to them, pray, “Set me, O Lord, in the way”, or “do not give up my feet to stumbling.” If sin takes hold of you and leads you to despair, cry out with the voice of the publican, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Do this in every circumstance, or simply say often, “Lord, have mercy”, “Most Holy Theotokos save us”, “Holy Angel, my guardian, protect me”, or other such words. Say such prayers as often as possible, always making the effort for them come from your heart, as if squeezed out of it. When we do this, we will frequently ascend to God in our hearts, making frequent petitions and prayers. Such increased frequency will bring about the habit of mental conversation with God.

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4 Responses to “Ascend to God In Your Heart- by: St. Theophanes the Recluse”


  1. 1 Adrienne August 10, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Thank you, Mary. This was the exact focus of my spiritual direction this week. God Bless.

  2. 2 Maura August 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Saint Theophan is one of my most favourite saints and I’m so happy that I have found your blog. Good Strength as continue to post the words of the Saints.

  3. 3 Отец Андрей August 11, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Thank you for your post. I will use it for my catechumens.I cant access my mail.


  1. 1 Saint Theophanes the Recluse on Prayer « Salt of the Earth Trackback on August 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

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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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