The Purpose of Life

Remembrance of Death

Prayer of the Heart


Synopsis: A talk about the soul, which leads us to many things. We talk about how man was created and why, the purpose of life, the attributes of the soul, the image of God in man, remembrance of death, and prayer of the heart, and intercessory pray, with lots of practical advice about prayer. This all fits together.

This talk is in audio at


Group picture for All Saints Orthodox Camp,, Summer, 2016


This document is notes for a talk about the soul, which was given at the All Saints Orthodox Camp (, @OCAAllSaintsSummerCamp, )June 27 – June 27 – July 1, 2016) in a breakout session. That talk was not recorded, and it was necessarily short, because there was little time, and the campers were fatigued. The actual talk recorded was one given *before* the camp, to my parish, as a kind of “practice”. This talk is longer, and more comprehensive. Not everything in these notes was talked about.



1.     Tell you about the Soul

2.     Teach you about your purpose and the “remembrance of death”

3.     May you have desire!

4.     Entice you to read Scripture

5.     Convince you to pray every day with your heart.


You will not learn about God from

·       a thousand sermons,

·       or a thousand books,

·       or a thousand liturgies.


You will learn about God by experiencing Him.


I can point you in the right direction to experience Him

·       Know your purpose and desire it above EVERYTHING.

·       Learn the skill of the remembrance of death.

·       Read the Scripture and the Psalter.

·       Pray with your heart.


It is absolutely useless to know something unless we act according to our knowledge. Too much of our Christianity is knowledge without action.


We say

o   we are Christians,

o   we love God,

o   there is a heaven and Hell –


but we are lazy,

o   do not love our neighbor,

o   barely fast,

o   rarely pray,

o   know more about TV than the Gospels

o   and even do things we know are wrong, and barely care

SO everything I will tell you is from my heart and is with the express purpose to

·       entice you,

·       motivate you,

·       encourage you

·       to seek after God with all your heart.

He will teach you everything,


The Soul


We must first understand why we were created and our purpose.


Who are you?

Creation of God

In His image and after His likeness

Gen 1:26-27  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  (27)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.


What does this mean?


Image, to be like something.

Blue eyes, athletic ability, intelligence, 2 hands, 10 fingers, etc.

Some people say being made in the image of God means we have “free will”. This is only part of it.

3 main attributes of God that we share:

1.     Knowledge

2.     Desire

3.     Will

We have bodies. This part is not like God.

All of our attributes, which are in the image of God are in the SOUL.


Soul means “LIFE”

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


Basically, our life on this earth is spent learning what life really is

All of our life came from God

Without God we are not alive.

We seek God, we seek life. We seek something else – that is death.

 “I am the way the truth and the life.”


Physical things – will pass away

Our accomplishments, will pass away.


One thing remains from our life – our soul, which will be reunited with a perfected body at the second coming.


So, the ONLY thing that you can possess permanently is who you are. This state of being is preserved in your soul


Let’s describe the soul


Not much to know.


We described “What is the soul”/


Why do we care?


Do you know your purpose now?

This all happens in the soul.


A few scriptures about the soul.

Read the scriptures!

Nothing will teach you as much as reading the scriptures.

Just do it! Be like Mike.

Do not worry if you do not understand. READ, READ, READ!

Deu 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Deu 6:4-9  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  (5)  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  (6)  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  (7)  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  (8)  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  (9)  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

10:5  The Lord examineth the righteous man and the ungodly; but he that loveth unrighteousness hateth his own soul.

22:1 The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want.

22:2  In a place of green pasture, there hath He made me to dwell; beside the water of rest hath He nurtured me.

22:3  He hath converted my soul, He hath led me on the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.


Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


Mar 8:34-37  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (35)  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.  (36)  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  (37)  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?


Luk 12:16-21  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  (17)  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  (18)  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  (19)  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  (20)  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  (21)  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.





Remembrance of Death


From Monastic literature.

We are guided by monasticism/

All the cool Orthodox read monastic literature.


What is it?

How do you develop it?


What is it

A skill

Ultimately from the “groanings of the Holy Spirit”

It is NOT “knowing you will die”

It is basically, knowing what is alive and what is dead. Comparing all things to God.


To say what it is, lets study a little bit of Romans


(Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


(Rom 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

(Rom 8:3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

(Rom 8:4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(Rom 8:5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.


(Rom 8:6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

(Rom 8:7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.


(Rom 8:8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

(Rom 8:9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

(Rom 8:10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

(Rom 8:11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelled in you.

(Rom 8:12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

(Rom 8:13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

(Rom 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

(Rom 8:15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

(Rom 8:16) The Spirit itself bearish witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

(Rom 8:17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

(Rom 8:18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


So remembrance of death is to think spiritually.

This is a skill

It takes effort.

You will not learn it playing video games, or listening to pop Divas, or gossiping, or any kind of indulgence.


We were bought with A PRICE

We are precious

We must remember.

Prayer of the heart.


Prayer is to experience God.

Perfect prayer ceases being prayer at all, just the experience of God.


Jesus prayer

Intercession for others.


If you love someone you remember them

We must pray for them

God is love. We must become love.


Make a list

Keep it small

Pray every day.


Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on……


1x, 3x, 108, a whole prayer rope.

In the morning.



More intense prayer:

To pray for someone more diligently:

from Old Believer Prayer Book, with line 4 added

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on Thy servant(s) ________, [bow]

Deliver him (her, them) from every tribulation, wrath and need [bow],

From every sickness of soul and body, [bow]

Forgive him (her, them) every transgression, voluntary and involuntary, [bow]

Teach them to pray and to live with purpose. [bow]

And do whatever is profitable for our souls. [bow].


Prayer of St Siouan of Mount Athos:

I pray Thee, O merciful Lord, for all the peoples of the world, that they may come to know Thee by the Holy Spirit