The beginnings of prayer arise from the longing of the heart to know God, to rest in Him Who showed His love upon the precious Cross, to abide in the fullness of communion with Him. In the present book—a primer on prayer—Archimandrite Irenei first prepares the ground by helping us to count the cost (Luke 14:28) of our lives as Christians, to take stock of the spiritual struggle we must undertake if we are to ascend toward God in prayer. Then, based on a sober appraisal of our lowly condition and of the worldly and demonic influences that assail us, he helps us to adorn our inward beings as temples of prayer.
With an eye ever on the practical application of Orthodox Christian teaching to the spiritual life, the author raises our minds and hearts to a greater awareness of the holiness and majesty of God, and at the same time of the potential for us—unworthy though we be—to enter into intimate communion with Him. This awareness inspires us to explore with the author the depths of prayer, and to strive more fervently toward eternal life in Christ—the end for which we have been created.
Archimandrite Irenei (M. C. Steenberg) received his doctorate in Theology from the University of Oxford. He has served as Professor of Theology and Head of Theology & Religious Studies at Leeds Trinity and All Saints College, England, and as the Principal of the St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy in San Francisco, California. He is currently the priest of the St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Church in San Francisco (where St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco lived during his last years), as well as the Director of the Saints Cyril and Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies. His books include Irenaeus on Creation: The Cosmic Christ and the Saga of Redemption and Of God and Man: Theology and Anthropology from Irenaeus to Athanasius. He is the creator of www.monachos.net, an online compendium of Orthodox patristic theology.