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Prayer is essentially a state of standing before God.

In the
words of St. Dimitri of Rostov, Prayer is urning the mind and
thoughts towards God. To pray means to stand before God with the
mind, mentally to gaze unwaveringly on Him and to converse with
Him in reverent fear and hope. This notion of Standing before
God recurs again and again in Theophan: The principal thing is
to stand with the mind in the heart before God, and to go on
standing before Him unceasingly day and night, until the end of
life. We shall not contradict the meaning of the Holy Fathers
instructions, if we say: Behave as you wish, so long as you learn
to stand before God with the mind in the heart, for in this lies
the essence of the matter. This state of standing before God may
be accompanied by words, or it may be soundless: sometimes we
speak to God, sometimes we simply remain in His presence, saying
nothing, but conscious that He is near us, :Closer to us than our
own soul. As Theophan pits it: Inner prayer means standing with
the mind in the heart before God, either simply living in His
presence, or expressing supplication, thanksgiving, and
glorification.
Theophan and other authors in the Art of Prayer speaks of
three elements in man - body, soul, and spirit - which Theophan
describes as follows: The body is made of earth; yet it is not
something dead by alive and endowed with a living soul. Into this
soul is breathed a spirit - the spirit of God, intended to know
God, to reverence Him, to seek and taste Him, and to have its joy
in Him and nothing else. The soul, then, is the basic principle
of life - what makes a human being something alive, as opposed to
an inanimate mass of flesh. But while the soul exists primarily
in the natural plane, the spirit brings us into contact with the
order of divine realities: it is the highest faculty in man, and
that which enables him to enter in communion with God. As such,
mans spirit is closely linked with the Third Person of the
Trinity, the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God; but though connected,
the two are nor identical - to confuse them would be to end in
pantheism.
Body, soul, and spirit have each their special way of
knowing: the body, through the five senses; the soul, through
intellectual reasoning; the spirit, through the conscience,
through a mystical perception that transcends mans ordinary
rational processes.
Along side the elements of spirit, soul, anybody, there is
another aspect of mans nature which lies outside this three-fold
classification - the heart. The term heart is of particular
significance in the Orthodox doctrine of man. When people In the

west today speak of the heart, thy usually mean the emotions and
affections. But in the Bible, as in most ascetic texts of the
Orthodox Church, the heart has far wider connotations. It is the
primary organ of mans being, whether physical or spiritual it is
the center of life, the determining principle of all our
activities and aspirations. As such, the heart obviously includes
the affectations and emotions, but it also includes much else
besides: it embraces in effect everything that goes to comprise
what we call a person.
The homilies of St. Makarios develop this idea of the heart:
The heart governs and reigns over the while bodily organism; and
when grace possesses the ranges of the heart, it rules over all
the members and the thoughts. For there, in the heart, is the
mind, and all the thoughts of the soul and its expectations and
in this way grace penetrates also to all the members of the body
Within the heart are unfathomable depths. There are reception
rooms and bed chambers in it, doors and porches, and many offices
and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness and
wickedness. In it is death, in it is life The heart is Christs
palace: there Christ the King comes to take His rest, with the
angels and the spirits of the saints, and He dwells there,
walking within it and placing His kingdom there. The heart is but
a small vessel: and yet dragons and lions are there and there
poisonous creatures and all th treasures of wickedness; rough,
uneven paths are there, and gapping chasms. There likewise is
God, there are the angels, there life and the Kingdom, there
light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasures of
grace: all things are there.
Understood in this all embracing sense, the hear clearly
does not fall within any one if the three elements in man - body,
soul, spirit - if taken singly, but it is linked with all of them
at once:
1.) the heart is something existing on the material level, a
part of the body, the center of our organism from the physical
point of view. This material aspect of the hear must not be
forgotten: when Orthodox asecetical texts speak of the heart,
they mean (among other things) the carnal hear, a piece of
muscular flesh, and they are not to be understood solely in a
symbolical or metaphorical sense.
2.)The heart is connected in a special way with mans psychic
composition, with his soul: if the heart stops beating, we know
from this that the soul is no linger in the body.

3.) Most important of all for our present purpose m the hear
is linked with the spirit: in Theophans words, the heart is the
innermost man, or spirit. Here are located self-awareness, the
conscience, the idea of God and of ones complete dependence on
Him, and all the eternal treasures of the spiritual life. There
are times, he continues, when the word heart Is to be
understood, not in its ordinary meaning, but in the sense of
Inner man. We have within is an inner man, according to the
Apostle Paul, or a hidden man of the heart, according to the
Apostle Peter. It is the God-like spirit that was breathed into
the first man, and it remains with us continuously, even after
the fall. In this connection, Greek and Russian writers are fond
of quoting the text, The inner man and the heart are very deep.
This deep heart is equivalent to mans spirit: it signifies the
core or apex of our being, what the Rhineland and Flemish mystics
termed the ground of the soul. It is here, in the deep heart,
that a man comes face to face with God.
It is now possible to understand, in some small measure,
that Theophan means when he describes prayer as standing before
God with the mind in the heart. So long as the ascetic prays
with the mind in the head, he will still be working solely with
the resources of the human intellect, and on this level he will
never attain to an immediate and personal encounter with God. Nu
the use of his brain, he will at best know about God, but he will
never know God. For there can be no direct knowledge of Go
without exceedingly great love, and such love must come, not from
the brain alone, but from the whole man - that is, from the
heart. It is necessary, then, for the ascetic to descend from the
head into the hart. He is not required to abandon his
intellectual powers - the reason, too, is a gift of God - but he
is called to descend with the mind into his heart.
Into the heart, then, he descends - into his natural heart first
and from there into the deep heart - into that inner closet
of the heart which is no longer of the flesh. Here, in the depths
of the heart, he discovers first the godlike spirit which the
Holy Trinity implanted in man at creation, and with this spirit
he comes to know the Spirit of God, who dwells within every
Christian from the moment of baptism, even though most of us are
unaware of His presence. From one point of view the whole aim of
the ascetic and mystical life is rediscovery of that grace of
baptism. The man who would advance along the path of inner prayer
must in this way return into himself, finding the kingdom of
heaven that is within, and so passing across the mysterious
frontier between the created and uncreated