Actually my experience has been the other way round. Never got into the chotki
and Jesus Prayer, even though The Way of a Pilgrim
made me more aware of Russian Orthodoxy as a living reality that still exists.
My now-departed Byzantine Catholic pastor, however, seemed absolutely oblivious to the Jesus Prayer--he hadn't ever read "Way of a Pilgrim" until I suggested it and loaned him my copy
A son of a 1917-exile Russian Orthodox priest told me his father was the same way. Chotki
are monastic — literally part of the habit when worn on the left wrist. The late Fr X never owned any.The Rosary
is wonderful and does work for me - up to a point.
It's a great prayer when you are ill, overtired or otherwise unable to concentrate on more bookish prayers. (Devotees of the Jesus Prayer say the same thing.)
Consider where the Rosary came from - it is literally a substitute for the 150 psalms of the hours
/divine office cleverly and effectively devised for the illiterate. All one needs is memorization: 'Pater noster, Ave Maria
, Criede/Learn the child while yt is nede'. (The chaplet, that is, the set of beads = 1/3 of this bookless psalter.)
That it parallels the older use of prayer beads in other religions — Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, to this day — speaks of its effectiveness.
It has its place.
Literate people East and West have used forms of the hours/divine office since medieval times.
(Though using them privately/at home in a breviary format seems to be a western Catholic thing - as Subdeacon Lance Weakland, a forum member, points out in his foreword on my hours page, the Byzantine Rite hours evolved with no thought of using them anywhere other than church.
The long lists of the same long prayers every day in Orthodox manuals for the laity don't work for me. Sorry.)
I can read, therefore I usually prefer that form of prayer.
This basically agrees with anastasios' point. The akathist, a literate prayer, works wonderfully too as a standalone or as part of the office (Little Compline in the Byzantine Rite).
To keep this from seeming snobbish, I will point out that simple memorized prayer forms have flourished alongside breviaries/books of hours for centuries, so they obviously work for many kinds of people.
Although in traditional Roman Rite practice, and according to Byzantine Rite rules in church as well, one isn't supposed to recite liturgical prayers from memory, I know by heart most of the ordo
of the office I use (see link for hours, above) and so often do pray them at home (usually silently) without the book. So I can have it both ways — the non-thinking part of my brain getting into a prayerful groove, just like the way the memorized prayers of the Rosary or the chotki
work, and the thinking part taking on board the written word of God.
Your mileage may vary.