Prayer in Church20 December 2021
Saint John says:
‘Don’t make such a mistake, my good friend. Because if you do, you’re harming yourself. We know that everyone has the right to make their prayer at home. That’s true. But nobody ever prays at home as they do in church. What is it that makes prayer in church better? In church there are our fathers, the priests. And a crowd of people. And with one heart and voice we talk to our heavenly Father all together. Don’t be taken in by the idea that, if you sit at home and make your prayer there, in your own way, God will hear you better. You’re making a mistake. A grave error. God wants all of us to make our prayer together, like brothers and sisters, like his children. He taught us to say ‘Our Father’, ‘Father of us all’.
And, in the end, what do we do in church? We simply follow the words of the priests. And we repeat them as our own. If you’re looking to discover what makes prayer in church better, it’s many things. In particular, in church there are many of us. And we’ve all got the same thing in mind and speak with the same mouth. In church we’re all bound together in love; we’re all one. And the most important thing of all? In church we have our priests with us, who pray for us and bless us. And why do the priests lead the prayers in church? Do you want to know? Well, listen. The prayers of ordinary people are weak and feeble. But when these ordinary people follow the prayers of the priests, then their prayers take on such power that they ascend to heaven. What did you say? When do our prayers ascend to heaven? When we pray with the words of the priests and of the divine services. That’s the best prayer.
(From his homily On the Inconceivable III, PG 48).