If a man say, I love God, and hated his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (I John 4, 20-21)
The way we pray is very important. God wants us to love and be humble. Because in the Lord’s Prayer, among the other things, God teaches us to say: and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. Thus, if we forgive, humble ourselves, love the others, God will compensate with His love, will listen to our prayers. Because the Heavenly Kingdom is love. If a man say, I love God, and hated his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (I John 4, 20-21). God is the Father of all the people. If you love God, you should love His children also, no matter what they are like. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who go to Church, pray, read the Gospel, but somehow, they are missing the essence and have a completely wrong perception of God and prayer. I have heard many people saying: “Father, I go to church every week, light candles, sometimes even donate to the poor, and still bad things happen to me. Why is that?” These people think that they have indebted God with something, that because of their good deeds, God owes them, so now He should help them in everything, make them feel well, healthy and at peace. What a wrong approach to prayer! As if our Lord is some machine created to fulfil our wishes. We go to Church, push a button and ask for what we need at the moment. And if we don’t get it, suddenly the Lord becomes unfair, wrongful, mean, we don’t need Him anymore because He doesn’t fulfil our wishes. Truly, we are sometimes so distant from what is said in the Lord’s Prayer.
(Excerpt from the sermon of Archimandrite Parthenius delivered on the Sunday of the publican and the Pharisee)