On Prayer

Prayer is by nature a dialog and a union of man with God.  Its effect is to hold the world together.

John of Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent274

John’s claim here is no empty piety.  He truly believes that prayer is the binding that holds creation together.  We must understand that, for John, man represents one of the two poles of creation and God the other.  Man is created last among all creation and encompasses all creation within his nature.  We can take within ourselves the forms of all things (just think, within your mind you contain so many things, favorite trees and childhood memories, types of cars and the dance of birds) and these forms fundamentally are the things themselves.  We are the microcosmos, the final procession of God’s creative act and intended to inaugurate the return of all things to their Creator.  This process is, of course, disrupted by sin.  Yet, through the Incarnation the pathway toward God is restored.  The aspect of creation that has strayed furthest from its Creator (i.e. us) is sanctified through union with God in Christ, and we are able to be reconciled to our Creator via imitating Him, bringing creation with us and restoring the cosmic order.  Prayer brings about this reconciliation and, thus, is the unifying bond of the world, the thing that holds together creation and Creator and effects their union.

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