All power and authority given to man on earth by God is given to him when he prays.
‘How can this be? I pray all the time and I don’t have any power, I have no authority. What are you talking about? But I do see power and authority given to people who have status, who have money, who are educated, who know how to pull the strings. As for the rest of us, right, we pray, but we pray because there’s nothing else we can do.’
With a sigh of resignation the words of barely hidden contempt are mouthed. Men for whom Christ died and who say they believe in Him, men on whom ‘all authority in heaven and on earth,’ given to Christ by His Father has been bestowed, men who can read the words for themselves, ‘anything you ask for in My name,’ are reduced to practicing magic they don’t even believe in.
‘Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You!’ I hear muttered constantly under his breath, and ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!’ cried out in lonely and forsaken places, moaned even, mingled with sobs of sorrow for his sins. Of little account, the world passes the saint and thinks him mad, yet his prayer is genuine and not for show or for sale.
The religious are even baffled. ‘We do more than he does, keep the fasts, drink tea without sugar, never touch flesh or oil or cheese during the prohibited times, never miss a service, and we greet each other nicely. Why does everybody go running to him? He scares us. He doesn’t follow the rules. He’s proud and wants his own way. Why does God answer his prayers and not ours?’
He can battle the devil, he can even drive him out, because he knows him personally. He has locked himself in battle with him in an invisible ring many times. His weapons? The words of holy and divine scripture, outbursts of mighty psalms, supplications to God Himself and his shameless asking for what he doesn’t deserve, his confession of his own sins, his laying all at the feet of Jesus.
The irreligious, bent as they are on what profits them, can come closer to the Truth than those who were suckled by it, who feel so sure that they know what works and what doesn’t, that they do neither. Seeking himself, the worldly man can stumble upon his own corpse and, asking, rise from the dead. The religious polish their coffins, but the saints lie down in theirs in peace, expecting life.
‘In peace I lie down, and fall asleep at once, since You alone, Yahweh, make me rest secure. (Psalm 4)
For me the reward of virtue is to see Your face, and, on waking, to gaze my fill on Your likeness.’ (Psalm 17)