Elder Anthimos+ on Correct Prayer…
“Prayer,” the Elder used to say, “means communication directly with God. The Psalmist says: ‘I will pour out my petition before Him, I will declare my affliction before Him'(Ps. 141/142:2).
“Before prayer, concentration and a humble disposition and necessary, in other words, in whatever we do, when we ask our superior for help, aid, or understanding of our problems. Through prayer we are delivered from passionate thoughts and fantasies. Fantasy is a deception of the intellect. Man is defiled by the five familiar physical senses and the five senses of the soul, which according to St Photios the Great (Feb. 6) are: intellectualizing, fantasy, amazement, surprise and judgment. With prayer first the intellect is cleansed from evil thoughts and then the heart from its wicked feelings. For this reason, in the beginning when the intelligible enemy attacks man, first he attacks his intellect, whereas his heart remains undisturbed. Thus, the intellect is easily defiled and easily cleansed, whereas the heart is defiled with difficulty and cleansed with difficulty. To obtain a pure heart and pure prayer is a very difficult work and is identified with dispassion. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’, the God-man Jesus said.