Prayer before Holy Icons
from "The Orthodox Companion"
by Rev. David F. Abramtsov
St. John of Damascus says that the Holy Spirit surrounds the Icons of the Saints with a certain halo of grace. Wherever the Cross is erected the malicious designs of the evil one are defeated. How often a soul sunk in sin has been touched and converted by the sight of an Icon; how often have sacred pictures comforted and encouraged devout persons, especially at the moment of death! While gaving upon an Icon we pray with greater recollection; Holy Icons are steps whereby we ascent more easily in spirit to Heaven. Icons are also a constant admonition to us; either by placing vividly before us one of the truths of the Faith, or exhorting us to imitate the example of the Saints. Icons breathe forth an atmosphere of devotion. In the presence of Holy Icons we develop a feeling of reverence and pious fear of God. How much more likely are we to pray with greater fervor before a scene from Our Lord's life, or His Live-giving Cross, or before an icon of the Saint whose name was given to us at Holy Baptism, than before a bare wall of a bed-post.

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