Archimandrite Pavel (Gruzdev) always prayed for those who had no one to pray for them. In his prayers, he remembered the unfortunate and the forsaken; people who have lost everything, have been forgotten by their friends and family and died in obscurity. He also prayed for abandoned old people who have outlived their relatives and were living out their days without a soulmate to talk to.
For all such unfortunate and forgotten people, compassionate father Pavel invented a short prayer, which he read every day: “Remember, o Lord, those who have no one to pray for them, due to adversity.” Once, Father Pavel fell seriously ill and checked into a hospital, where he underwent a complex surgery. He was on the verge of death. The doctors were preparing to pronounce his death, when Father Pavel came to his senses and said that he had been in the other world, where a great number of people approached him and began to fervently pray to God for him, asking for His mercy.
Some of these people were his reposed friends from the clergy, whom he remembered every day. But most of them were complete strangers, and still, they were praying fervently for him.
— Who are these people? — Father Pavel asked in surprise.
— These are the ones for whom you have always prayed. They came to ask God for your recovery. — One of the priests answered.
To us, praying for strangers seems like a strange thing to do, since we have no time to pray even for our family and friends. And yet, Father Pavel (Gruzdev) was ready to give his last shirt to the needy and prayed for everyone with all simplicity of his loving heart. People flocked to him day and night asking for his prayers and spiritual advice. He was often heard saying, “He’s poor, all right; but God is by his side!”
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds