June 20, 2012 + On Making Faithful Prayers


from My Life in Christ
by St. John of Kronstadt

If you wish to ask of God in prayer any blessing for yourself, then before praying prepare yourself for undoubting and firm faith, and take in good time means against doubt and unbelief. For it will go ill with you if during the prayer itself your heart wavers in its faith and does not stand firm in it; then do not even expect to obtain of the Lord what you have prayed for doubtingly, for in so doing you have offended the Lord, and God does not bestow His gifts upon a reviler. "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive," [17] said the Lord. This means, that if you doubt and do not believe, you shall not receive. "If ye have faith and doubt not," said He also, "ye shall have power to move mountains." [18]

Therefore, if you doubt and do not believe, you shall not have power to do so. "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed," says the Apostle James; "for let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." [19]

The heart that doubts that God can grant what it asks for is punished for this doubt: it is painfully oppressed and contracted by doubt. Do not anger Almighty God even by a shade of doubt--especially you, who have already experienced many and many times, the omnipotence of God. Doubt is a blasphemy against God, an insolent lie of the heart or of the lying spirit that nestles in the heart, against the spirit of truth. Fear it as you would fear a venomous serpent, or no--what I would rather say, is, despise it, do not take the slightest heed of it. Remember that God, during your prayer, is waiting for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking you: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" To which question you must from the depth of your heart reply, "Yea, Lord." [20]

Let the following considerations also help you in your doubt or unbelief: I ask of God, firstly, that which already exists, and nothing merely imaginary not a fanciful good, and everything that exists receives its being from God: because "without Him was not anything made that was made," [21] and therefore, nothing that happens can happen without Him, and everything has either received its being from Him, or happens by His will or His permission, by means of powers and faculties given by Him to His creatures--and in everything that exists or is still happening, God is an all-powerful Master. Besides this, "He calleth those things which be not as though they were." [22]

Therefore, had I even asked for that which does not exist, He could give it to me by creating it. Secondly, I ask of God what is possible, because what is impossible for us is possible for God; and there cannot be any difficulty even in this respect, because God can do for me even that which is impossible in my own opinion. It is our misfortune that our faith is hindered by the short-sightedness of our reason--that spider, that catches the truth in the web of its judgments, its arguments and analogies. Faith embraces and sees suddenly, whilst reason arrives at the truth by circuitous ways; faith is the means of communication between one spirit and another, whilst reason is the means of communication between the spiritually sensual and the spiritually sensual and even simply material: the first is the spirit and the latter the flesh.

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Hieromartyr Methodius, Bishop of Patara - June 20

Troparion of St. Methodius, Tone 1

Your blood cries out to God from the earth like that of Abel, divinely-wise holy hierarch, Methodius. You openly preached the Incarnation of God, putting the heresy of Origen to shame. You were translated to the heavenly bridal chamber: Pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion of St. Methodius, Tone 4

As a priest of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, and a preacher of the commandments of God that surpass understanding, you were the confirmation of Orthodox Christians, O Methodius! You denounced the errors of heretics; for the sake of the True Faith you shed your blood as a hieromartyr. Now as you stand before Christ with the angels, pray that we may be saved.