True prayer is a gift of God, which is granted to him that prayeth, that is, to those who labor in it unremittingly, continually, without sloth, according to what is written: He granteth his prayer to him that prayeth. If with every virtue habit is not acquired at once, but according to the measure of one's practice in it, then even more the habit of prayer requires long-continued labor and unremitting forcing of oneself. And meanwhile, is this sad truth not surprising, that the human soul is so sluggish and is not zealous for prayer! But prayer, as everyone knows, is conversation with God, it is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God, who is the Prototype and Origin of our souls. Does it not seem natural for the soul to rush towards its Origin (Genesis 2:7; ), towards its natural Prototype? How quickly we run to converse with people close to us and loved by us, how readily we reveal our concerns and needs to the powerful and strong of this world, how eagerly we show our wounds and illnesses to the physician! But in prayer, offered before the Heavenly Father who loves us, before our grace-filled Physician, the great High Priest, Who is able to have compassion on our infirmities (Heb. ), before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we stand not only without sufficient reverence, without proper love and longing for Him, but often even without attention, as though by compulsion, from obligation, and not from the inclination of the heart. Isn't this strange and isn't it sad? What may be the reason for this?
The causes of this are many. The chief, and as it were original cause is that we have immoderately sunk down to the earth, have become so busy that the soul doesn't rule over the flesh subject to her, but on the contrary the soul has been enslaved by the flesh. That slave of corruption, the much-passionate flesh, has seized the upper hand over the immortal, free soul, and has, as it were, added its corpulence to her wings, hindering her flight to the heavens!