Why do people become slaves to addiction and how can Christians help them spiritually, with prayer, fasting and alms giving.
All of us look for answers in this this world. People who become slaves to addiction obviously do not live with true faith, otherwise they would not fall into addiction. These people usually live their lives away from God. They don’t know where to find answers. They don’t know what Christianity really is so they can find answer and be freed. In their confused state it’s so easy to be deceived by evil or confused minds and be lead astray. These people need help and if you love the children of your Heavenly Father, you can help them by prayer, fasting and alms giving (acts of compassion).
How Can a Christian Help Anyone To Break Free from Addiction
I will tell you about how a mother saved her son. I read this story in the 37th letter of Nikolay Velimirovic in his book, titled “Aposotolic Leters.” Bishop Nikolay of Serbia was bishop of Ohrid and of Zica in the Serbian Orthodox Church, an influential theological writer and a highly gifted orator.
This mother had an adult son who not only was an atheist, but would also mock his mother’s faith, prayer and devotion. He then surrendered to dissolute life, which is the inevitable consequence of unbelief. He was angry moody, lazy and insolent. He would required from his mother what she could not give him. he would be enraged at his mother every time should would try to advise her son. It’s like he was ready to kill his own mother. But the mother loved her son.
Bishop Nikolay writes.
One day she suddenly stopped giving any advise to her son or try to help to correct his life. Not a word anymore. And she began to pray to God that he sent his son some disease. You may say “cruel mother!” Listen to the end. This mother herself told me all this.
– I understood, – she said – that no one under heaven can not save him, but God alone, and only through some suffering. So I prayed that God sent my son a trial. I prayed for a long time. And, indeed, my son became ill. He lay in bed for three months, I took care of him and prayed to God in his presence. He thought I was praying for his bodily health, but I was praying for the healing of his soul. He saw my care, love and prayer, and his heart softened. One day when the doctors had already dropped their hands, and he looked like a shadow, he wept and whispered: “My dear mother, pray to God that I’m not dead!”. I said to him, “Promise me, son, that you will always remember God and thank Him that you will correct your life.” – “Yes, mother, yes. Yes! “- He whispered in agony. I kind of knew, I felt that he would not die. And, thank God, he recovered. Now he is healthy in soul, and body. Soft like wax and pious as an angel. Obedient and thoughtful, like the sun.
Then bishop Nikolay advises one sister who had a brother of similar character and to whom he wrote this letter, to stop giving advises to his brother, be quiet and not irritate him anymore. He advises him to pray God and ask for a mercy for his brother, even if he has to go through trials, fast once a week and do good works, such as giving alms to the needy. And God in his mercy and in his timing will soften the soul of the person under addiction and return him to life free from sin and passion. Fasting does bring you to the frontiers of dispassion.
How To Provide Spiritual Help
What is the true spiritual help. It consists of the following, writes professor Aleksey Osipov. “We say: pray for such a such person. What does “pray” mean? – “Lord, deliver him from drinking?” People do not understand one very important thing: any addiction is slavery. Each slavery is nothing, but, in the words of St. Anthony the Great, submission to the spirit of slavery. It’s the demon-torturers who enslave the person.” And how do get rid of the demon-tormentor?
Fasting and Prayer
One day our Lord Jesus was coming down from mt. Tabor. He saw a large crowd and his disciples arguing with teachers of the law. When he asked them what they were arguing about, a man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” The father asks Jesus to help. The Lord tells him that “everything is possible for one who believes,” and commands the demon tormentor “to come out of him and never enter him again.” After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:14-29)
This single teaching and example is already enough to know that true spiritual fasting has an undefeatable power against any evil force. Remember how the citizens of Nineveh fasted for three days and spared their city from God’s declared punishment. (Jonah 3:5). Remember how all the Jews fasted in Susa for three days so that Esther could go to the king and not perish. (4:16) Moses also fasted for 40 days and 40 nights because of the sins of the Jews (the Golden Calf) and the Lord listened to him and Moses went up to the mountain for the second time to get the second set of the Ten Commandments. (Deut. 9:18-19) There are number of other examples about the power of fasting in the Holy Scripture.
About the Prayer
Regarding the prayer we are not only talking about “Lord have mercy on him:” meaning the person suffering from addiction. This is a good prayer and we should pray asking for the Lord’s mercy on that person. But what else do you need to know? We need to pray not just for the Lord to help that person, but also, “Lord, help me, heal me too, forgive me too. Lord have mercy on my sins too.” In other words, “the degree of assistance to another person, the degree of usefulness of your prayers about the other person is completely dependent on the degree of healing of your soul. We must understand that the more your heart is cleansed, the more effective will your prayers be. It is for this reason that we appeal to the saints. They are clean in heart, and see how effective their intercessory prayers are,” continues writing professor Osipov in his writing, quoted above.
Therefore, you see. There is a type of evil in our lives that possess us and enslaves us, making addicted to drug-use, alcohol or any type of addiction. And our Lord teaches us that “this type,” meaning the demon, “can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
Turn to God. Believe in him and ask for his help to cleanse your hearts and minds. When someone is ill, we aren’t afraid of the best doctor, but run to him. God is Love. He is the ultimate healer and savior. Run to him.