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Where Have All the Prayers Gone?

In the hours and days that passed after the horror of the attacks on September 11, 2001, when the shock began to wear off and the fear began to set in, Americans flocked to their churches and flooded into town squares to do the thing that should always be done: pray.

Seventeen years later it is important to ask the questions that should haunt us: Where have all the prayers gone? Where are the throngs of believers publicly begging God for love, forgiveness and mercy? Where is the genuine desire within the homes and communities of Christians to stand spiritually before God with an ardent desire to submit to Him?

After everything that has transpired since September 11, one would think that this desire for an outpouring of prayer would be somewhere near as strong today as it was all those years ago. Since it is clear that the desire has waned, the time has come to renew our understanding of and commitment to prayer. We must re-learn why we pray, how to pray and what it means for our lives.

“To pray is to stand spiritually before God in our heart in glorification, thanksgiving, supplication, and contrite penitence. Everything must be spiritual. The root of all prayer is devout fear of God; from this comes belief about God and faith in Him, submission of oneself to God, hope in God, and cleaving to Him with the feeling of love, in oblivion of all created things. When prayer is powerful, all these spiritual feelings and movements are present in the heart with corresponding vigour" (Theophan the Recluse as quoted in The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, p. 93).

Prayer is life! Prayer is union with God!

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