The Holy Spirit who dwells within us is the one who prays, since we say at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, “O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, come and abide in us…” That is, we address Him by the power that He has sent down to us. He is the one who changes us from one state to another and lifts our soul to prayer.
You have stripped your soul of its lusts and caprices and made it a dwelling-place of God. He moves us to Himself, as though God in prayer addresses Himself. The Lord enters into you with the Holy Spirit. He strips your soul of its lusts and makes it capable of talking to Him. When you address the Holy Spirit at the beginning of every prayer, “O Heavenly King, the Comforter…” the spirit of evil flees from you and the Spirit of Christ dwells within you and raises you up. You have no more words because Christ’s words come down to you and Christ addresses Himself within you and by this you become Christ Himself.
It is true that prayer is the soul’s being lifted up to God, but in the sense that it is lifted up by the power of Christ Himself.
Before the Spirit of God enters into it, the soul is falling, empty, darkened, or broken. And if God’s Spirit enters it, it moves by His power to the Father and becomes a soul renewed in the Spirit. It attaches itself to the Lord, joining Him with all its powers and the Holy Spirit prays in it. For this reason we say at the beginning of our prayers, “Come and abide in us and cleans us of every impurity.” The meaning of this is that we cannot pray profoundly unless we call upon the Holy Spirit to come down to us and push the soul toward God, so man prays by the power of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, then, from the first word, is from the Holy Spirit to the Father.
This means that prayer begins in us when we expel the evil spirits from us. That is, the idea of sin. Man’s commitment to the Spirit of God within him is the condition for true prayer. So prayer from the beginning is repentance, in that through it you seek God and expel what is against God. It is possible for you to pray and to accept that sin remains in you. This is a contradiction. Prayer in its essence is repentance and it is clear that one who does not pray does not want to repent. In many cases, someone who neglects his prayer is someone who desires to not repent and someone who returns after neglecting it has decided to return to God. Prayer is the cord that binds us to God. It is to abide in God. It is the strongest proof of faith.
Prayer does not come from the mind alone. It is the power of the Holy Spirit Himself within us. It is our clear proof of our union with God.