An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men
Edited and Introduced by April French
Translated by Christa Belyaeva
According to Father Alexander Men (1935-1990), the Russian Orthodox priest and popular spiritual teacher who was tragically murdered in 1990, prayer is “the flight of the heart toward God.” This work, available for the first time in English, is a collection of his writings, lectures, and sermons on prayer. You will discover both ancient and modern wisdom, and you will see how one Eastern Orthodox priest taught his parishioners to pray.
An Inner Step Toward God is an absorbing, inspirational guide to Father Alexander Men’s teachings about a prayerful life. But, even more than that, it offers insight into many of the deepest and most profound aspects of Russian Orthodox theology, elements that reach much beyond Russia, past and present. Skillfully translated and presented, with instructive notes and a glossary of terms unfamiliar to a non-Orthodox audience, the book gives access to the inner recesses of the mind and heart, providing a bridge across an abyss that is often described as unbridgeable.
Dr. Wallace Daniel, Department of History, Mercer University
A timely and universally useful spiritual primer. Fr. Men has so much to tell us, whatever our spiritual journey. On every page we sense his rootedness in his own deeply reliable tradition. But those deep roots permit a complete freedom from all sectarianism, pettiness, and attachment – a freedom that may surprise and refresh us. Reading this brief but rich book of well chosen and thoughtfully translated gems, we are invited into that groundedness and that freedom, invited to take an inner step toward God.
Peter C. Bouteneff, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
More than 20 years after his untimely death, there seems to be no end to the treasures still being unlocked from Fr Alexander Men’s spiritual cornucopia. The introduction to his work by the editor, April French, is a jewel and her selection of his writing on prayer puts him in the same category as Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, who is frequently quoted. The comparison is the highest recommendation for the Western Christian who wants to become closer to the Eastern teaching on prayer.
Canon Dr. Michael Bourdeaux, Founder of Keston Institute
Prayer is the great mystery in our relationship with God. In An Inner Step Toward God, Fr. Alexander Men helps us to fashion our unique key to unlock this mystery and enter the kingdom of the heart. Not only does he discuss the need and workings of prayers, but he also sets us on a path by giving practical suggestions how to begin and live in the world of prayer. This book will be of benefit for all to deepen their understanding and personhood in Christ.
Father Silouan, Superior of Monastery of St. Michael, New Mexico
Seventy years ago, when I was privileged to become both friend and housemate of Nicholas Zernov at Oxford, it changed my life as a Christian. Father Men’s wonderful book on prayer may hopefully change the prayer life of many Evangelicals like myself, for we need wider vision to appreciate the prayerful lives of martyrs like Father Men. I commend this as a wonderful enrichment of our Western Christianity. Enlarge your vision of the life of prayer by a richer appreciation of the communion of Nicene Christians, like the saintly Father Men.
James M. Houston, Founding Principal of Regent College, Vancouver
Fr. Alexander Men's intensely practical guidance on prayer has that absolute authenticity which comes from a life which was itself a lived prayer. This most universal of Christian teachers does not seek to convert to some system or method or set of ideas, but rather shows the way to friendship with God. It is that rare book which can be life changing. I welcome its appearance with great gratitude.
Bishop Seraphim Sigrist, Author of A Life Together: Wisdom of Community from the Christian East