17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
From Fr. Stephen’s Blog, I am linking a post on the boldness of prayer. I’m copying a passage from Mar Jacob of Serugh, from the 6th century. Fr. Stephen wrote: “It is a meditation on the ‘boldness’ of prayer and its measureless worth. I trust that readers may find it an encouragement in the life-long struggle.”
I find this very encouraging. It’s ever a struggle for me to put importance in prayer and find it stimulating to read the same texts each day. Yet when I let my heart focus on the power of the words I’m praying, I know that none of it is in vain or wasted time standing before my icon shelf.
“Prayer reveals the deep things of the Divine,
by it one enters to behold the mystery of hidden things.
It is the key able to open all doors.
From it one can clearly see what is hidden,
by it the soul can approach to speak with God,
it raises up the mind so that it reaches the Majesty.
It is easy for prayer to learn the mysteries of the divinity,
for it can go in and out unhindered by the angelic powers:
no angel is as swift-winged as prayer,
nor do the seraphim fly up with it as it ascends;
it whispers its words in the ears of the Lord, without any intermediary,
it murmurs in the heart, and God hears it in his exalted place.
Where it ascends not even the Watchers have ever reached,
for it is capable of approaching the very Divinity.
The seraph hides its face fromm the divine Being with its wings,
but prayer stands there unveiled before the Majesty:
nothing at all stands in the way between it and the Lord,
for it converses with him and he hears it gladly.
The Watchers tremble and the heavenly hosts in their modesty are held back,
whereas prayer goes in and relates its affairs before God.
The cherubim are harnessed and cannot see him whom they bear,
but prayer goes up and speaks with him lovingly.
In its love prayer speedily attains the exalted place,
in its love prayer advances to be raised up above the heavenly orders.
The cherub is afraid to raise its eyes to the Majesty,
being harnessed in its modesty with the pure yoke of flame;
the ranks of fire do not approach the Hidden One,
whereas prayer has authority to speak with him.
Prayer enters closer in than they and speaks unashamed;
above the myriads of heavenly hosts does it pass in flight, unhindered by their ranks.
As though to a close relation prayer reveals its secret to the Lord of the Watchers,
asking of him what is appropriate in all sorts of activities.
Prayer does not bend down to the angels to speak with them,
for it asks God himself, and he bids the angels attend to its affairs.”
 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus,
and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had
taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart
into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and
going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot
thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with
compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a
shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And
when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said,
This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into
the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
(As found on Father Stephen's Blog🙂
Thus the whole of
spiritual warfare wages round humility. The enemy fell from pride, and
would draw us to perdition by the same means. The enemy praises us, and
should the soul listen to his praise grace withdraws until she repents.
Thus throughout her life the soul is occupied with the lesson of
Christ-like humility. So long as she has not humility wrong thoughts and
impulses will always torment her. But the humble soul finds the rest
and the peace of which the Lord tells.
Fasting and abstinence, vigil and withdrawal into silence, and other
exploits of spiritual discipline all help, but humility is the principal
Humility is not learned in a trice. That is why the Lord said: ‘Learn
lowliness in heart and meekness of me.’ To learn takes time. And there
are some who have grown old in the practice of spiritual endeavor, yet
still have not learned humility, and they cannot understand why things
are not well with them, why they do not feel peace and their souls are
 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a
certain ruler, and worshiped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead:
but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve
years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be
whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her,
he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.
And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when
Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people
making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the
maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the
hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad
into all that land.
St. John Chrysostom says in his Homily 31 on Matthew…
I Corinthians 4:5-8
 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come,
who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will
make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have
praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a
figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye
might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that
no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For
who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou
didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as
if thou hadst not received it? Now ye are full, now ye
are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did
reign, that we also might reign with you.
St. John Chrysostom in his Homily XI on I Corinthians IV said: