At little St. Herman's, we've spent the last several weeks looking at prayer. We looked to the New Testament for examples, then to the Old. We looked to the Holy Fathers. This past Sunday, we looked to one who has been an inspiration on the topic of prayer to the priest at St. Herman's - Metropolitan Anthony.
In his several books one can learn innumerable lessons on the topic, and all of of great value. But it is a writing that we found on-line at mitras.ru/eng/ that struck us for this past week's homily. Here are the words of Metropolitan Anthony:
Life and prayer must be made one. Get up in the morning, stand before God and say, 'Lord, bless me, and bless this day that is beginning.' Then treat the whole day as a gift of God and consider yourself as God's envoy in this unknown which is the new day. This simply means something very difficult: that nothing which happens today will be alien to the will of God. Everything without exception is a situation in which God will have placed you in order that you should be His presence, His love, His compassion, His creative intelligence, His courage... And on the other hand, every time you encounter a situation, you will be the one whom God has put there to perform the office of a Christian, to be a particle of the Body of Christ and an action of God.
If you do that, you will easily see that at every moment you will have to turn to God and say, 'Lord, clarify my intelligence, strengthen and direct my will, give me a heart of fire, help me!' At other moments you may say, 'Thank you, Lord!' And if you are wise and know how to be thankful, you will avoid the folly that is called vanity or pride, which consists of imagining that one has done something that could have been left undone. It is god who has done it! It is God who has given us this marvelous gift of having this to do.
And when, in the evening, you present yourself again before God, and make a quick examination of the day, you will be able to sing His praises, glorify Him, thank Him, weep over others and weep over yourself. If you begin to connect your prayer to life in this way, the two will never again be separated, and life will be like a fuel which at every moment is feeding a fire that becomes richer and richer, more and more burning, and which little by little will transform you yourself into that burning bush that is told about in Scripture.
The above is only the close of the article titled, "Prayer Today." There's much omitted for the sake of space in this blog posting. But how often in prayer do we neglect to see ourselves as God's instruments for answering the prayer of others? How often do we seek His will and mean it - whatever it means for effort or inconvenience in our day? How often are we focused on His agenda for the day, and not our own?
Can we begin to pray, 'Lord, bless me, and bless this day that is beginning,' and then live up to whatever challenges He gives us, recognizing them not as troubles or trials, but as that which He has appointed to help me find my way to His salvation?