Know your weakness, humble yourself and pray – Mar Isaac the Syrian

Blessed is the man who knows his weakness. This knowledge becomes for him the foundation and the beginning [of his coming] unto all good and beautiful things.
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When he knows that he needs divine help, he will frequently pray. And by much beseeching the heart becomes humble, tor there is no man who is needy and asking, without being humble (And God will not despise a broken and contrite heart).

Until the heart has become humble, it will not rest from distraction. Humility restrains the heart. And as soon as man has become humble, mercy will surround and envelop him. And when mercy draws near, the heart will perceive help at once, because some confidence and force will also move in it. When it perceives that divine help approach unto it and that He is its support and its helper, then the heart will be filled with faith at once.

Then it will see and understand that prayer is the port of help, the fountain of salvation, the treasure of confidence, the sheet-anchor amidst the storms, the light in the darkness, the stick of the weak, the shelter at the time of temptations, the medicine at the time of illness, the shield of protection in the battle, the sharp arrow against the enemies.

And because by prayer he has found the entrance unto all this good, he will delight in prayer of faith for ever more,while his heart exults in confidence, not blindly and with words only, as it had been till then. [Mar Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies]

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