Often times the Orthodox saints have been guided by Spiritual elders to live a life of prayer. This can include talking to them and asking for advice. The saints may also be consulted for prayers and intercession for the sick and the suffering. Here are some examples of how the Orthodox saints pray.
St. John Chrysostom says we should seek the intercession of the saints
When we have a need or an issue, it is often helpful to pray to the saints. We should remember that the merits of the saints flow out from the merits of Christ, and we should seek their intercession in any situation.
Saints’ relics are considered holy by the Church because they are filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, many great Church Fathers referred to the relics of martyrs as “full of spiritual grace.”
However, there is some controversy surrounding the concept of seeking the intercession of saints. Although many Orthodox churches practice intercessory prayer, some Catholics do not.
Spiritual elders guide orthodox saints in the life of prayer
The Orthodox Church has spiritual elders who guide Orthodox saints in prayer. This role is often assumed by a priest or cleric. There are several examples of spiritual elders who guide Orthodox saints. Some examples include Elder Joseph the Hesychast of the American Orthodox Church, and Elder Ephraim of Arizona.
Father Artemy Vladimirov is a contemporary Orthodox spiritual father. He has been interviewed a few times for his insights into the role of spiritual fathers in the life of prayer. His answers are very patristic. His book The Spiritual Father According to Orthodox Tradition is a good introductory treatise on the role of the spiritual elder. Also, Fr. Alexey Young, now Hieromonk Ambrose, and Archpriest Valery Lukianov have written excellent books on spiritual elders.
Orthodox saints pray to overcome the world and the devil
In Orthodox Christianity, exorcism is performed on individuals and objects who are under demonic possession. The earliest Christians practiced exorcism, praying to drive evil spirits from baptized people. This practice was later taken over by priests. The priests invoke God to remove the evil spirits.
Orthodox believers believe that God is the creator of all things. The devil is powerless over the creatures, and that the only way to gain salvation is through obedience to God’s will. In this way, we can overcome the devil and win our eternal life.
Orthodox saints pray for the sick
Many Orthodox saints have prayed for the sick. Saints such as St. Damian and Cosmas have delighted in meditating healing grace for the church. The prayers of these saints are addressed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These prayers have the power to bring healing to the world.
They often make the sign of the cross with bows
The sign of the cross is an ancient gesture of reverence and prayer. It involves bending one’s waist and making the sign of the cross. Some people bow deeply, others only slightly. It is important to do it with care. It is not acceptable to make the sign of the cross while wavering your arms in the air or prostrating yourself on the ground.
The Sign of the Cross is commonly performed in a church service as a physical prayer. The sign is made during the introductory greeting of the service, at the end of the blessing, and during the penitential rite. It is also practiced by laity before the Gospel reading, in imitation of the priest, and as a mark of devotion.