Elder Paisios: The prayers of our fellow-man

ONCE upon a time…

A cruise ship sank during a fierce storm, and just two of the passengers managed to swim as far as a small desert island.

The two shipwrecked men, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other way out than to pray to God.

But to ascertain whose prayer was the stronger, they decided to split the region in two and stay on opposite sides of the island.

An image of a deserted island

“Two of the passengers managed to swim as far as a small desert island...”

The first thing for which they prayed was food.

The next morning, the first man saw a tree on its side, full of fruit, and he satisfied his hunger. The other side of the island remained barren.

After a week, the first man felt lonely, and decided to pray for a wife.

The next day, a woman went swimming on his side of the island. On the other side, nothing happened.

Presently, the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food.

The next day, the miracle happened! Because he prayed, it was given unto him! But the second man still failed to gain anything.

Eventually, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could get away from the desert island.

In the morning, he found a boat moored to his side of the island.

An image of a small boat drawn up on the beach

“In the morning, he found a boat moored to his side of the island.”

The first man and his wife boarded the boat, and decided to leave the second man behind on the island, alone. As they saw it, the second man was unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been heard.

As the boat was ready to sail, the first man heard a voice from heaven, making the air throb:

“Why are you marooning your companion on the island?”

“The blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed to receive them. Not one thing was heard from his prayers, so he doesn’t deserve anything,” replied the first man.

“You are making a big mistake”, the Voice said, rebukingly. “That man prayed for one thing only, and he was heard. If that hadn’t happened, you would not have received any blessings from me.”

“Tell me,” asked the first man, “to what prayer am I obliged?”

“He prayed for the hearing of all your prayers!”

Told by Elder Paisios the Athonite. My inexpert translation. Source: Αγιορειτικό Βήμα.

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