Vouchsafe us, O Lord…

“Vouchsafe us, O Lord, to live this day without sin.” We pray thus in the morning. But only the gentle presence of the Divine Spirit within us affords us the possibility of continuing sober in spirit….  If our prayers are to lead to results like those of which our Fathers and teachers spoke so rapturously, it is essential that we follow their teaching. The first condition is belief in Christ. The second, to acknowledge ourselves as sinners. This perception can reach such depths that one feels oneself worse than all other men; and this is obvious to us not because of our outer behavior but because we see how distanced we are from God…. The more we humble ourselves in painful repentance, the more rapidly our prayer reaches God. When, though, we lose humility, no ascetic striving will help us. The action in us of pride, criticism of our brethren, self-exalting and hostility towards our neighbor, thrusts us away from the Lord.

~Elder Sophrony of Essex: On Prayer

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