Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Protestant Discussion => Topic started by: TinyDancer on February 11, 2011, 04:44:08 PM

Title: Recommendations needed
Post by: TinyDancer on February 11, 2011, 04:44:08 PM
I work for a Protestant organization (I know, it isn't ideal) and I've been asked to contribute something to their Lenten Devotional.  They do know I am Orthodox.  Does anyone have any recommendations for what I could  contribute? 

I don't really consider myself a writer so pre-existing commentary that I could reference (with appropriate credit/annotations, of course!)   would be extremely helpful!  I was considering introducing them to the Prayer of St. Ephrem but I don't know if that would completely confuse and/or scare them away!

(I am paging through Great Lent: Journey to Pascha by Alexander Schmemann which is a wonderful book, but I think it would go over the heads of the people who would be reading the devotional...)
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: Shanghaiski on February 11, 2011, 04:47:08 PM
Psalm 50/51

The Prayer of Manasseh

The passage of the Suffering Servant from Isaiah
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: TinyDancer on February 11, 2011, 04:49:53 PM
Oh, good suggestions already!
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: IssacTheSyrian on February 11, 2011, 05:20:18 PM
The Prologue from the Orchrid by St Nicholai Velimerovitch. The whole 4 Volumes are online: http://www.westsrbdio.org/prolog/my.html (http://www.westsrbdio.org/prolog/my.html)

Prayers By The Lake (by the same author) is also online: http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/index.htm (http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/index.htm)

Either one is great for devotional reading and reflection.
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: Quinault on February 11, 2011, 11:37:52 PM
I think you should go with your initial idea about the prayer of Saint Ephrem. It is a wonderful prayer and could be a great deal of help for anyone.
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: TinyDancer on February 15, 2011, 03:09:48 PM
Thank you, everyone.  I think I'll submit something with the Prayer of Saint Ephrem and maybe one other and let them pick...
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: Melodist on February 15, 2011, 08:43:13 PM
This might help. I have a friend who runs a non-denominational protestant church out of a food bank. For Thanksgiving and Christmas he wanted to make some prayer books that he could hand out with turkey dinners and toys and asked me for some help in putting one together. It included a number of Orthodox prayers in there along with a few Psalms, other prayers from scripture, and a few prayers that came from other sources (RC, Anglican, various sources but mostly traditional). I made a point to go through all the prayers and give as many scripture references as I could find for what is being said in the prayers. One example is that he included the Apostles Creed for a confession of faith and next to the word "catholic" I put a reference to a verse where St Paul writes about being of one accord and one mind (that is "according to the whole" not "according to the Pope of Rome" as many misunderstand the word) to show that the bible bears witness to the catholicity of the Church.

If you can find a few prayers in there that you might want to recommend to your friend, then you will also have references to show how they are "scriptural". Unfortunately, being as it was made by and for a Protestant church, it doesn't include anything that could be viewed as "too repititious" (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal..., etc) or petitions for intercession form Mary/saints/angels (through the prayers of the Teotokos, our holy fathers, etc), but your friend might not be too intereted in them anyway.

I put numbers for the references throughout the prayers and then an index in the back so that people ouldn't get too distracted when praying, but could still look something up if curious "where does the bible say that".

The format is strange because they printed the pages out and put them together in a plastic photo book for durability and to make it easier to do in house.

I hope it helps.
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: katherineofdixie on February 16, 2011, 12:54:25 PM
I agree, I think you should go with your initial idea of St. Ephrem.
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: TinyDancer on February 18, 2011, 02:13:03 PM
Does this still make sense?  Does it read TOO Orthodox?  I had to condense significantly from Fr. Schmemann's excellent commentary.

Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages.  Amen.

St. Ephrem’s prayer covers a basic “checklist” for Lent- it helps liberate us from our spiritual sicknesses and heal by turning to God. 
The basic disease is sloth, the laziness and passivity of our entire being which constantly convinces us that no change is possible and therefore desirable. It is in fact a deeply rooted cynicism which to every spiritual challenge responds "what for?" and makes our life one tremendous spiritual waste. It is the root of all sin because it poisons the spiritual energy at its very source. The result of sloth is faint-heartedness, the state of despondency considered the greatest danger for the soul. Despondency is the impossibility for people to see anything good or positive; it is the reduction of everything to negativism and pessimism. Sloth and despondency fill our life with lust of power. One begins to evaluate everything in terms of selfish needs,  ideas, desires, and judgments.   Idle talk, especially gossip, enforces all these.
Chastity, when translated from the Greek sofrosini and the Russian tselomudryie means whole –mindedness, the opposite of  Sloth is. Humility alone is capable of truth, of seeing and accepting things as they are and therefore of seeing God's majesty and goodness and love in everything. This is why we are told that God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. The closer we come to God, the more patient we grow and the more we reflect that infinite respect for all beings which is the proper quality of God.  Finally, the crown and fruit of all virtues, of all growth and effort, is love -- that love which can be given by God alone-the gift which is the goal of all spiritual preparation and practice.
Pride is the source of evil, and all evil is pride. Yet it is not enough for me to see my own errors, for even this apparent virtue can be turned into pride.  But when we "see our own errors" and "do not judge our brothers," when, in other terms, chastity, humility, patience, and love are but one in us, then and only then the ultimate enemy--pride--will be destroyed in us.
Reflections excerpted and summarized from Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
Title: Re: Recommendations needed
Post by: Ortho_cat on February 18, 2011, 02:58:21 PM
Looks good to me, tiny.