April 16, 2021

On Noetic Prayer (St. Amphilochios Makris)

St. Amphilochios Makris taught the following about noetic prayer:

When you cultivate the prayer, you are not disturbed by the winds of temptation. Its power is weakened, it can do nothing to you. Let prayer be for you a wall, a shield and armor. We must have patience and prayer. The end of my life draws near. I plead with you all to live a holy life, to walk along holy paths in order to help the Church and our Greece. May your hearts become censers, from where your prayer will ascend to the throne of God.

When I sit on the high rock of prayer, no matter how many waves may come they will do nothing to me, but when they find me somewhere low they cover me. Noetic prayer assimilates, connects, sanctifies. When the soul is ignited with the fire of prayer everything that is dry is burned up and disappears. Noetic prayer is the basis of perfection. The first stage of spiritual ascent is noetic prayer. At the beginning of prayer you feel joy, then sweetness and then finally tears are produced like a fruit. This is because you now feel the presence of Jesus. When you cultivate the prayer you will not tire, you will not be disturbed, you will not be sleepy during services, because your body will be as if it were a garment. What you wear does not become sad, does not become cold, nor does it tire. No matter how many hours I stand I will not get tired.

We find ourselves in our current situation because monasticism has lost its color, it lost noetic prayer. Onward children, to cultivate the prayer! It has filled Paradise with so many holy people. There is no other way of purification and sanctification than noetic prayer. Psalms (namely, ecclesiastical hymns) are also good, but we say those in order to attract and emotionally move the people. We must speak with the King secretly into His ear. Those who chant are like those people who can be found outside of the palace of the King who cry out with various songs to order to show Him their enthusiasm. The King of course is also pleased with these things, because they are done for His person, but He is gladdened and pays more attention to those initiated into His courts, those who speak into His ear. When obedience takes away from the work done in secret, namely the prayer, it has no value. Even communism obeys its ideology, but what is it? The prayer is the life-jacket of our soul and body, so that even if you are on a boat in the ocean you can travel without fear.

Through the prayer a man becomes like a child. It brings him back to the simplicity and innocence which Adam had in Paradise before the fall. It puts to an end the differences with the opposite sex. He acquires blessed holy dispassion, which is incomprehensible to those who are worldly. With the prayer you sanctify the place where you sit and the work that you do. Now be careful because the devil is upset that you are fighting him with the prayer. He will try to distract your mind with various thoughts. You must be aware that all of your temptations are to prevent you from saying the prayer of Jesus. Receive communion often, pray fervently with your heart, be patient and you will see a strong hand upholding you.

When you cultivate noetic prayer you will become like children of the palace. You will know the language of the King and the royal manners. Then with just a nod your heart will make holy leaps. Cultivate the prayer. This will guide you into Paradise. You will see the Grace of God with your naked eye, you will gain the joy of Heaven. Beg the Lord to give you the gift of the prayer. I have no other gift to give you. I want to deliver to you what I consider most precious. The Grace of the All-Holy Spirit causes man to emit rays, but the recipient must have good reception in order to understand it, to receive news from the heat of the ray.

Man through the prayer of Jesus is always joyful, fulfilled and illuminated. Through the prayer you will gain everything. Man is purified, illumined, sanctified. At every moment try to breathe this clean air of the prayer of Jesus. This is when a monk has authentic joy: when he has the prayer of Christ in his heart. Pray that God will give me patience, fervent prayer and ascent towards our Christ. You will become thinner and be able to fly with the prayer. You will feel the living presence of our Christ within you and around you. A man is royal when he is united with God. He is then very careful with his words. He longs for the secret conversation with the King to not be interrupted, and he becomes very tired whenever he is approached by those who do not understand him.

I desire for you to set up prayer stations on our islands. I want to hear within you the voice of the Lord. Through the prayer, may you be the throne of the Lord. The spiritual life has great joys. You fly, leave the world, and take nothing to account.

Become children in whose hearts God dwells. The prayer arranges everything. You can walk on the sea. Distances are eliminated. It changes the will of people. Always does it give courage, faith and patience to our life. Take care of the union of your soul with God. When you walk along the paths of the prayer, of silence and of study, you will see Christ dwelling in your heart. May the Panagia protect you, may Christ dwell within your heart. This, my child, is perfection. Whenever I approach you I want Christ to speak to me from your heart and I want you also to hear your Bridegroom speak to you from within your soul and then there will be a truly secret feast. The Grace of God and spiritual union transform him, he becomes another man, fear departs.

With unlimited Grace he is not afraid of death. He considers this life, no matter how good it may seem, as slavery. Patience is required as well as prayer, that we may not fall into mistakes. To enjoy the joys of monasticism, the spiritual life, you must cultivate with all the strength of your soul the prayer, patience and silence. Without the prayer it is not easy to endure, nor to be silent. By the Grace of God, I applied these in my life. They help us to have Christ dwelling in our hearts.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.