Question from the audience:
Fr. Savva, “evlogeite” (your blessing). People say “We cannot have quality in our prayers, because the Holy Spirit would/should be the only One granting the quality and enabling us for a pure prayer. What we can offer is just quantity, meaning praying as much as we can…
And reading in spiritual books, I found our Holy Church Fathers saying, that we, lay people, which have many activities and mundane worries, can initially start by filling up the gap in-between, by trying, as much as and in any way we can, to say the Jesus-prayer. When eating something or driving somewhere in our car, for example, to say the Jesus-prayer. This is how we can utilize this spare time. But, Father, is this enough, at least in terms of quantity?
Answer by Fr. Savvas:
No, it is not! Because we have so many things to do, and, at the end, there are not even 5 minutes left for prayer! Aren’t they? Am I right?
We have soooo much work to do, and the word “work” is called in Greek douliés, paraphrased δουλεῖες and pronounced douleíes (meaning enslaving labor), so (after all this work, we undertake during the whole day) we leave no more than 5 minutes left for us to do the most important work in our lives, THE work, the Jesus-prayer with no distractions, the pure prayer. Because this particular work, the noetic prayer, needs time.
In order to be able to deliver a pure prayer, i.e. in order for our heart to be purified and be able to offer a pure prayer, we need to spend hours, not just minutes! It is not my personal opinion here, but it is said by St. John the Chryssostomos. Even since the 4th century A.D., he instructed the lay people to devote 4 – 4,5 hours in prayer!… and that’s for the quantity.