The Soul In Prayer

Vast numbers of people with no experience of the beneficial action of prayer do not know that a world of indescribably magnitude is disclosed to the spirit of man through prayer. Prayer unfolds both the dark depths of hell and the luminous heavenly spheres. Without faith in the resurrection almost all suffering is without meaning, pointless. It may subdue the obstinate soul but does not rid the soul of passion. suffering gradually destroys the body, the heart and the mind, without perfecting them in the knowledge of God. but when the Light of Supreme Being approaches the soul, all is changed: earthly passions die away and the spirit rises to contempation of the Eternal. The man endowed with this blessing regards worldly status, whether social, material or even cultural, as a sort of temporary ‘extra’, and does not worry about a career. And if he persists in his humble opinion of himself, the more knowledge will he be given of the mysteries of the world to come.

Father Sophrony in We Shall See Him As He Is

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





8 responses to “The Soul In Prayer”

  1. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    “Prayer unfolds both the dark depths of hell and the luminous heavenly spheres. Without faith in the resurrection almost all suffering is without meaning, pointless.”

    The Scripture in the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration say, “…and as he prayed, he was changed…”

    Long ago I had a tape of a sermon on prayer given by some Protestant minister in Las Vegas, NV. The one thing I remember from it was his insistence that it was arrogant to believe that prayer changes “things”. He cited the above verse as proof of that saying, “prayer dosen’t change things, prayer changes us as we pray.”

    I’ve often wondered if that minister did not find his way to the Church. His insight was certainly one of those little tidbits that helped me along the way.

  2. fatherstephen Avatar


    Often “things” as tough as they may be are just simply what they are. It is our hearts that must change. I think of Fr. Arseny (of the Fr. Arseny books)and the many like him when I am tempted to blames “things” for my problems in life.

  3. Atlanta Avatar

    Let us pray for unbelievers, that they may be shown the light of the Truth, in God’s due time.

  4. Br. Chris Baumann Avatar
    Br. Chris Baumann

    Grace and blessings

    The Soul In Prayer. What a wonderful phrase. It is the goal of contemplation to reach this step in prayer where you simply BE and not DO. We always want to DO, but sometimes we simply need to BE. The best moments of my day are those spent doing nothing in prayer.

    Br. Chris sends with holy affection

  5. Robert Avatar

    Father Bless!

    Father would you be so kind to speak about the Orthodox prayers, such as which prayers, what type of prayers constitute one’s prayer life? I use the prayers from The Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, but wonder if there is more so as to enrich my prayer habit. It is a long time from Sunday afternoon to Saturday Vespers!! Which prayers do the monks follow? How much is extemporenious vs read?

  6. fatherstephen Avatar


    Thre are many variations in prayer books, all of which are fine. Jordanville has an excellent one, as does St. Tikhon’s Press.

    I generally council people more towards quality than quantity – to pray with as much attention as possible. It also varies from person to person how much extemporaneous prayer to use. Somedays it’s almost all I use.

    At the least, I use the Rule of St. Seraphim, which is the Our Father, Rejoice, O Virgin and the Nicene Creed, and then O God, Cleanse me a sinner and the Jesus Prayer for as long as I can, again with the focus on trying to keep my mind in the words and mean them – it unites mind and heart to do this.

    Monastics generally have their common prayers, which consist of the various hours of the day (from the Horologion) Vespers and Matins (the Vigil) and Divine Liturgy or the Typical Psalms on days when there is no liturgy. The schedule of these will vary from monastery to monastery. Then each monk will also have his “cell rule” assigned to him by his spiritual father, that is how many prayers, prostrations, etc. he’ll do each day in his cell.

  7. James Avatar

    Among the blessings of this blog to me, a new Orthodox, are the introductions you provide to excellent writings. Again, thank you, Father, for this daily nourishment.

  8. Lucias Avatar

    Father Stephen,

    I wish I could approach the level that Father Sophrony speaks of here. I have found it true the more time one spends in prayer the more one tends toward a view such as the Father describes. However I am still a long way from that goal.

    Your blog is truly a blessing. Thank you for taking the time to maintain it.


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