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Author Topic: Fast Days and (Spiritual) War  (Read 866 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 25, 2010, 11:57:36 AM »

Yesterday was a fast day - I love that I get to fast twice a week!  Smiley  But since I've followed the Orthodox Fasts I've noticed a LOT more activity going on in the spiritual side of things. . . namely those arrows that come from the enemy.  I usually end up begging for mercy, grace and help for most of the day instead of praying for things that really need prayer. . .which I think is actually what the intent is. 

Any words of guidance or help?  I know the struggle will go til my last dying breath. . . but any thing to help me keep on track in intercessory prayer? 

Thanks, everyone!
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2010, 01:30:17 PM »

Strange... I usually get strong when fasting...
I am always filled with evil passions, but when fasting, they just go away...
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2010, 01:36:32 PM »

Strange... I usually get strong when fasting...
I am always filled with evil passions, but when fasting, they just go away...

That was the case at the beginning, and for quite a while - but it's changing.  If any of you more experienced prayer warriors have any suggestions of what this might be - whether this is a just keep on keeping on - and keep resisting. . .maybe ignore and keep praying the intercessory prayer?  I've always held that you don't get poked in the nose unless you are standing in opposition. . . so in that, I'm encouraged.  But that may be the wrong view to take too. . .I don't know.  Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 02:07:45 AM »

I wonder about this as well.  The past several years (basically, as long as I've been in the Orthodox Church) have seen various upheavals in my life.  Hearing disturbing things about my family that I never knew, my parents nearly breaking up, argument with my sister-in-law, husband's job loss, a new job but greatly reduced pay and unstable conditions, difficulties with friends, breaking up with those friends....Whether temporary or with long-lasting effects, at the time they are acute.  At first, they happened mostly during long fast periods, such as Lent.  Now, they no longer discriminate.  I'm going through one right now, and have for nearly 3 months.  At times I feel like I'll be crushed under the weight of it, especially since this one affects not only my personal life but my faith as well.  I've had problems before, of course, but I don't recall ever having so many life-changing events happening in such close succession.  Lord have mercy and protect me from calamity!

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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2010, 03:12:32 AM »

I usually end up begging for mercy, grace and help for most of the day instead of praying for things that really need prayer. . . 



If this is how you are praying, then you shouldn't change a thing! If only we would all spend our day begging God for His mercy, grace, and help. In fact, as you may know, this is the basis of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

It is also very simple to include others in our own prayers for divine mercy, grace, and help. So, if our prayers revolve around pleading God's mercy for ourselves and for others, then we are praying in Truth.

I'm not a Priest, but that's my understanding anyway.

Peace to you!


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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 08:50:45 AM »

I had lunch with my sponsor yesterday (I sooooo love her!! Smiley ) and told her what was going on, and told her that sometimes I felt like I needed to be exorcised or something.  She shook her head and laughed, and said, "no, just expect it.  They don't want you to pray, and will do anything to keep you from praying - just ignore them and go right on praying."  She said I will get better at it with time, practice and prayer. 

I love the support I have, now.  I've never experienced anything like it in any other Christian faith tradition. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 09:37:15 AM »

Strange... I usually get strong when fasting...
I am always filled with evil passions, but when fasting, they just go away...

That was the case at the beginning, and for quite a while - but it's changing.  If any of you more experienced prayer warriors have any suggestions of what this might be - whether this is a just keep on keeping on - and keep resisting. . .maybe ignore and keep praying the intercessory prayer?  I've always held that you don't get poked in the nose unless you are standing in opposition. . . so in that, I'm encouraged.  But that may be the wrong view to take too. . .I don't know.  Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Have you ever heard about St Ignatio de Loyola or Inacian Spiritual exercises? He called the time working on the exercises "tiempos fortes", or hard time. It is said also that he was every night beaten by demons. So I think it might be kind of usual. The Enemy don't like people who can stand against him, and if you are not seduced by the mundane passions, then he will try to frighten you...
Ad Majoriam Gloriam Dei.
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 01:51:56 AM »

My own particular issues have sometimes kept me from prayer.  But I went back to it, and must keep fighting.  Otherwise, shall we say, Satan will win.   Tongue
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 02:11:44 PM »

Yesterday was a fast day - I love that I get to fast twice a week!  Smiley  But since I've followed the Orthodox Fasts I've noticed a LOT more activity going on in the spiritual side of things. . . namely those arrows that come from the enemy.  I usually end up begging for mercy, grace and help for most of the day instead of praying for things that really need prayer. . .which I think is actually what the intent is. 

Any words of guidance or help?  I know the struggle will go til my last dying breath. . . but any thing to help me keep on track in intercessory prayer? 

Thanks, everyone!

I find that the more rigorously I try to fast, the more temptations present themselves for me to break my fast. My Protestant girlfriend never follows any kind of fast and finds it offensive whenever I want to follow one, although I followed the Black Fast (minus oil) for this last Lent and she was at least supportive then, but she makes the biweekly fasting more difficult.

I also find that trying to pray more intensely, fervently, and regularly causes me to come under attack. It makes prayer much harder. I have one prayer to the Theotokos which I say in these times:

Quote
Prayer of St. Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovic) to the Most-Holy Theotokos

Waves of passion disturb my spirit, great sadness and anguish have overwhelmed my soul. Embalm my soul with Thy Son's peace, O Most Holy One, and by His Grace drive away every doubt and despair. Calm the storm of my sins that, like a fiery worm, burn me, and quench its flame. Fill my heart with joy, O Most Pure One, and disperse the fog of my iniquities before me, for it confuses me. Illumine me with the light of Thy Son. Helpless is my soul, and everything is cumbersome, even prayer. Here I am, cold as a stone, my lips whispering prayers, while my heart remains immovable, for it is smothered in anguish. Melt the ice which envelops my soul and warm my heart with Thy love.

I rely not on human protection, but fall down before Thee, O Most Pure Sovereign Mother of God; reject me not, but hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant. Sadness has overcome me; I can endure the demonic attack no more. I have no protection; there is no shelter for this poor man, and in this battle I am ever being wounded. I have no consolation, but in Thee, O Holy Sovereign. O Hope and Protection of all who believe, reject not my prayer.

O Most Holy Mother of Christ, Most Pure, Most Blessed Theotokos, Satan is pounding at me like the waves of the sea against a ship, pursuing me by day and tormenting me at night. I have no peace; turbulent is my soul, my spirit trembles. Hearken, O Most Holy One and help me. Intercede before the dear Lord that He may have mercy on me and forgive the sins I have committed. O Most Holy Mother of Jesus, Thy grace is great, and the mightiest opponent to the powers of hades. Thou art able to save even the greatest of sinners who, having been cast into the depths of hell by unclean powers, should call upon Thee. So too, save me, for lo, Satan will have me stumble and will destroy my faith, but I trust in the Lord. I magnify Thee, Who art more holy than the Cherubim and the Seraphim.

Amen.

I have it printed out on a piece a paper on my icon corner.
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2010, 12:05:08 PM »

Strange... I usually get strong when fasting...
I am always filled with evil passions, but when fasting, they just go away...

That was the case at the beginning, and for quite a while - but it's changing.  If any of you more experienced prayer warriors have any suggestions of what this might be - whether this is a just keep on keeping on - and keep resisting. . .maybe ignore and keep praying the intercessory prayer?  I've always held that you don't get poked in the nose unless you are standing in opposition. . . so in that, I'm encouraged.  But that may be the wrong view to take too. . .I don't know.  Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Have you ever heard about St Ignatio de Loyola or Inacian Spiritual exercises? He called the time working on the exercises "tiempos fortes", or hard time. It is said also that he was every night beaten by demons. So I think it might be kind of usual. The Enemy don't like people who can stand against him, and if you are not seduced by the mundane passions, then he will try to frighten you...
Ad Majoriam Gloriam Dei.

No, I haven't. . . I did look this up.  I tend to try to stay away from anything that uses my imagination. . .as I tend to get into trouble that way.  My lack.  But there are other parts that would be very good to think about.  Thank you for the suggestion!
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2010, 12:09:57 PM »

My own particular issues have sometimes kept me from prayer.  But I went back to it, and must keep fighting.  Otherwise, shall we say, Satan will win.   Tongue

Yes.  Yes.  Yes. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 12:12:43 PM »

Yesterday was a fast day - I love that I get to fast twice a week!  Smiley  But since I've followed the Orthodox Fasts I've noticed a LOT more activity going on in the spiritual side of things. . . namely those arrows that come from the enemy.  I usually end up begging for mercy, grace and help for most of the day instead of praying for things that really need prayer. . .which I think is actually what the intent is. 

Any words of guidance or help?  I know the struggle will go til my last dying breath. . . but any thing to help me keep on track in intercessory prayer? 

Thanks, everyone!

I find that the more rigorously I try to fast, the more temptations present themselves for me to break my fast. My Protestant girlfriend never follows any kind of fast and finds it offensive whenever I want to follow one, although I followed the Black Fast (minus oil) for this last Lent and she was at least supportive then, but she makes the biweekly fasting more difficult.

I also find that trying to pray more intensely, fervently, and regularly causes me to come under attack. It makes prayer much harder. I have one prayer to the Theotokos which I say in these times:

Quote
Prayer of St. Bishop Nikolai (Velimirovic) to the Most-Holy Theotokos

Waves of passion disturb my spirit, great sadness and anguish have overwhelmed my soul. Embalm my soul with Thy Son's peace, O Most Holy One, and by His Grace drive away every doubt and despair. Calm the storm of my sins that, like a fiery worm, burn me, and quench its flame. Fill my heart with joy, O Most Pure One, and disperse the fog of my iniquities before me, for it confuses me. Illumine me with the light of Thy Son. Helpless is my soul, and everything is cumbersome, even prayer. Here I am, cold as a stone, my lips whispering prayers, while my heart remains immovable, for it is smothered in anguish. Melt the ice which envelops my soul and warm my heart with Thy love.

I rely not on human protection, but fall down before Thee, O Most Pure Sovereign Mother of God; reject me not, but hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant. Sadness has overcome me; I can endure the demonic attack no more. I have no protection; there is no shelter for this poor man, and in this battle I am ever being wounded. I have no consolation, but in Thee, O Holy Sovereign. O Hope and Protection of all who believe, reject not my prayer.

O Most Holy Mother of Christ, Most Pure, Most Blessed Theotokos, Satan is pounding at me like the waves of the sea against a ship, pursuing me by day and tormenting me at night. I have no peace; turbulent is my soul, my spirit trembles. Hearken, O Most Holy One and help me. Intercede before the dear Lord that He may have mercy on me and forgive the sins I have committed. O Most Holy Mother of Jesus, Thy grace is great, and the mightiest opponent to the powers of hades. Thou art able to save even the greatest of sinners who, having been cast into the depths of hell by unclean powers, should call upon Thee. So too, save me, for lo, Satan will have me stumble and will destroy my faith, but I trust in the Lord. I magnify Thee, Who art more holy than the Cherubim and the Seraphim.

Amen.

I have it printed out on a piece a paper on my icon corner.

Thank you!!

Heh. . . if I have to work harder to pray. . .then perhaps it will work against what's his face that's trying to keep me from praying?  Much like isometrics? 
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 08:11:36 AM »

I usually get stronger with fastings, I don't know why. Of couse, there are more temptations (specially in breaking fast), but I feel stronger to resist. In the other hand, strange things come to happen. And as strange, I mean pretty weird (like noises all around, and coming from nowhere, like the sounds of pigs, and there are no pigs near my house, even my dog seems stranger).
Strange... I usually get strong when fasting...
I am always filled with evil passions, but when fasting, they just go away...

That was the case at the beginning, and for quite a while - but it's changing.  If any of you more experienced prayer warriors have any suggestions of what this might be - whether this is a just keep on keeping on - and keep resisting. . .maybe ignore and keep praying the intercessory prayer?  I've always held that you don't get poked in the nose unless you are standing in opposition. . . so in that, I'm encouraged.  But that may be the wrong view to take too. . .I don't know.  Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Have you ever heard about St Ignatio de Loyola or Inacian Spiritual exercises? He called the time working on the exercises "tiempos fortes", or hard time. It is said also that he was every night beaten by demons. So I think it might be kind of usual. The Enemy don't like people who can stand against him, and if you are not seduced by the mundane passions, then he will try to frighten you...
Ad Majoriam Gloriam Dei.

No, I haven't. . . I did look this up.  I tend to try to stay away from anything that uses my imagination. . .as I tend to get into trouble that way.  My lack.  But there are other parts that would be very good to think about.  Thank you for the suggestion!
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 08:36:23 AM »

I usually get stronger with fastings, I don't know why. Of couse, there are more temptations (specially in breaking fast), but I feel stronger to resist. In the other hand, strange things come to happen. And as strange, I mean pretty weird (like noises all around, and coming from nowhere, like the sounds of pigs, and there are no pigs near my house, even my dog seems stranger).


Yes, this is what I'm talking about. . .the really strange stuff. . .not necessarily the passions. . . the really bizarre stand the hair up on the back of your neck stuff.  I was getting pretty close to asking my priest if I needed to be exorcised or something.   Undecided

I"ve been reassured since then that it's just another diversion to try to keep me from praying - to just keep pressing in and pressing on. . .that it may get weirder . . .who knows. . .but to keep praying.
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 09:22:02 AM »

I know it can really look strange to you, but try to read the books of Eliphas Levi. I think he figured out many of his statements based on the orthodoxy. Search his books on the web, but read only from dogma et rituel de l'Haute Magie (Dogma and Ritual of the High Magic) on.
I usually get stronger with fastings, I don't know why. Of couse, there are more temptations (specially in breaking fast), but I feel stronger to resist. In the other hand, strange things come to happen. And as strange, I mean pretty weird (like noises all around, and coming from nowhere, like the sounds of pigs, and there are no pigs near my house, even my dog seems stranger).


Yes, this is what I'm talking about. . .the really strange stuff. . .not necessarily the passions. . . the really bizarre stand the hair up on the back of your neck stuff.  I was getting pretty close to asking my priest if I needed to be exorcised or something.   Undecided

I"ve been reassured since then that it's just another diversion to try to keep me from praying - to just keep pressing in and pressing on. . .that it may get weirder . . .who knows. . .but to keep praying.
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