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authio
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« on: May 01, 2007, 03:45:56 PM »

So it's been over 2 years now since the Lord converted me to Orthodoxy, and I want to know what you all think of this...

In my understanding individual prayers are often expressions of individual opinions tagged to the Divine Name in order to call it a "prayer."  [Example: "Lord, my friend struggles with alcoholism, save him"] In my understanding this is often done outside of the direction of one's spiritual father, thus rendering the prayer unorthodox.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2007, 04:05:45 PM »

I don't know of any spiritual father that would tell you to get a blessing to make a spontaneous prayer. Remember, you have a direct link with God--you can use it!

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2007, 04:52:02 PM »

I'm glad to hear this as well.  Thanks!
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2007, 12:36:20 AM »

Aren't these prayers inherently full of judgment and gossip?
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2007, 12:56:22 AM »

I don't know of any spiritual father that would tell you to get a blessing to make a spontaneous prayer.


Can't a quy pose such a question?
Let's say a blessing would not be required but would be encouraged.
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2007, 03:12:13 AM »

Aren't these prayers inherently full of judgment and gossip?
They can be if you're not careful, but they don't need to be.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 08:19:51 AM »

Are these prayers full of judgement and gossip?

I don't think so, we are asked to pray for others in all things.  If one knows either from the individual or by observed behavior that the individual is an alcoholic, drug abuser, spouse abuser, etc there is nothing wrong in praying for that individual or family in need. If one does it with love, even if wrong about the perception, it was done with good intention and God will bless both the one who prays and the one who is being prayed for. 

I know of such an example: In a parish I was in at one time there was a man who occassionally would come to church  and appeared to be intoxicated, he had a sweet breath like one would find in an alcoholic. Several people in the Church prayed for him and his drinking problem. Within the month  a nurse visiting the parish approached the priest to discuss the man's problem, she asked the priest, "is anyone helping him  with his diabetes? he seems to be very ill". The priest unaware that the  man was diabetic spoke with him and found that since the man's wife had died, he was having problems seeing the insulin to measure it and was not taking it properly thus the occassional symptoms of Ketoacidosis (slurred speech, sweet breath, etc), a complication of diabetes.  By the prayers of the people who knew him, although  disgnosing  him wrong, God worked a miracle.  The priest arranged for a social worker in the parish to arrange appropriate assistance for the man and the symptoms disappeared.  I can not help but think that it was the prayers of people who had made the wrong conclusion that helped this man get what he really needed. That is what intercessory prayer is---send your prayer to God and trusting that he will provide what is needed.

Thomas
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2007, 08:56:36 AM »

Can't a quy pose such a question?
Let's say a blessing would not be required but would be encouraged.

1) Sure you can ask a question. My take is, no spiritual father would tell you to do this. Isn't spontaneous prayer a natural part of life? For instance I pray for people all the time when I see them. Is that not normal? I just always assumed it was.

2) How would you purport to get a blessing before making spontaneous prayer each time? Wouldn't that drive your spiritual father crazy?  Grin Or are you suggesting to discuss with him when it is ok to make spontaneous prayers in general?
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2007, 08:57:06 AM »

Aren't these prayers inherently full of judgment and gossip?

You could always finish with, "and have mercy on me too since I am worse."
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2007, 11:05:33 AM »

When I was in my preteens, and I hated some kids in school, I used to ask God to give them the worst nightmares every night.  Grin (that was my "mild" punishment request; I could have easily asked for injuries or disease or bad hair days  Tongue )

Of course, I'm more mature in my prayers now.  Cool
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2007, 01:19:13 PM »

You could always finish with, "and have mercy on me too since I am worse."

This is a very interesting discussion.  I knew it's common Orthodox practice to pray set, memorized prayers, but I had no idea there was any question on whether or not we needed a blessing to pray our own individual prayers.  As an inquirer from a Protestant church this seems foreign to me, but I am doing my best to wrap my brain around it.  I think we should all pray as Anastasios suggests: "And have mercy on me too, since I am worse."   Grin
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2007, 01:25:23 PM »

When I was in my preteens, and I hated some kids in school, I used to ask God to give them the worst nightmares every night.  Grin (that was my "mild" punishment request; I could have easily asked for injuries or disease or bad hair days  Tongue )

Of course, I'm more mature in my prayers now.  Cool

This is exactly what I mean!  How is this sort of prayer holy?
Wink

This is a very interesting discussion.  I knew it's common Orthodox practice to pray set, memorized prayers, but I had no idea there was any question on whether or not we needed a blessing to pray our own individual prayers.  As an inquirer from a Protestant church this seems foreign to me, but I am doing my best to wrap my brain around it.  I think we should all pray as Anastasios suggests: "And have mercy on me too, since I am worse."   Grin

Labosseuse,
There is a Traditional way to do this, it's in the commemorations: "Remember, O Lord, those who have asked me to pray for them, unworthy though I may be."
Maybe we're worthy, maybe we're not.  It's a mystery.
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2007, 02:11:16 PM »

I knew it's common Orthodox practice to pray set, memorized prayers, but I had no idea there was any question on whether or not we needed a blessing to pray our own individual prayers.

I never knew there was a question about this until today either Wink And I first started looking at Orthodoxy in 1999 Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2007, 08:05:55 PM »

I asked my priest a few weeks ago, and here's what he said:

Quote
I am not sure what "individual" prayer is as all prayer is liturgical and corporate i.e. we pray together if at church or at home.  Each person has requests and needs and can ask for them, but during this angels pray with us.


To sum up - there is no such thing as individual prayer after all because at the very least angels pray with us!  Glory to God!
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 09:33:10 PM »

I asked my priest a few weeks ago, and here's what he said:


To sum up - there is no such thing as individual prayer after all because at the very least angels pray with us!  Glory to God!

That's a interesting way of putting it.  It reminds me of stories of the most spiritual monks who when in their cell praying, Divine light would emanate from their doors and other fellow monks would hear a community of beautiful voices giving praise to God inside.

God bless.
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2007, 09:14:05 AM »

Interesting discussion...

I was raised secular humanist, so I never prayed as a child, a youth or a young adult. I said my first prayers when I was already in my 40-s, in a Presbyterian Church. They were very "Protestant" - entirely in my mind, absolutely spontaneous.

Just recently, when I became a catechumen, I learned to pray aloud (not "loudly," actually whispering or saying words of prayers in a very quiet, soft voice - but not merely in my head), and in front of the Holy Icons. It is an entirely new and different and very blissful experience to me. I, indeed, say those prayers that are written in my Ukrainian Orthodox prayer book, word to word, without any improvisation. These are the prayer to the Holy Spirit ("Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of the Truth, Though Who abidest everywhere and fillest everything..."), the Trisagion, the Small Doxology, the Lord's Prayer, and the prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos ("Theotokos the Virgin, rejoice, blessed Mary, the Lord is with thee, blessed thou art among women...). I do really feel that the words of these prayers are "THE" words that need to be said. What can I, in fact, "add" to the sentence, directed to the Most Holy Theotokos, "carry our prayers to thy Son and our God, so that He saves our souls for thy sake!"? What exactly are these "our prayers," I am sure the Lord knows, He hears them even before "we" say them or rationally-cerebrally "formulate" them in our thoughts...

Yet, I do also say short "personal" prayers - simply mentioning names of my relatives and close friends, and imagining them as I ask the Lord to save them, to have mercy on them, to protect them or, if they have died, to rest their souls and to create for them memory eternal.

Again, I am probably different from most people on this list, or maybe even from all, because you guys were raised Christians (or non-Christians but still religious), and are used to prayer from early childhood. So, my experience is probably of little use, but I just felt like sharing.

George
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2007, 07:40:13 PM »

Interesting discussion...

I was raised secular humanist, so I never prayed as a child, a youth or a young adult. I said my first prayers when I was already in my 40-s, in a Presbyterian Church. They were very "Protestant" - entirely in my mind, absolutely spontaneous.

Just recently, when I became a catechumen, I learned to pray aloud (not "loudly," actually whispering or saying words of prayers in a very quiet, soft voice - but not merely in my head), and in front of the Holy Icons. It is an entirely new and different and very blissful experience to me. I, indeed, say those prayers that are written in my Ukrainian Orthodox prayer book, word to word, without any improvisation. These are the prayer to the Holy Spirit ("Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of the Truth, Though Who abidest everywhere and fillest everything..."), the Trisagion, the Small Doxology, the Lord's Prayer, and the prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos ("Theotokos the Virgin, rejoice, blessed Mary, the Lord is with thee, blessed thou art among women...). I do really feel that the words of these prayers are "THE" words that need to be said. What can I, in fact, "add" to the sentence, directed to the Most Holy Theotokos, "carry our prayers to thy Son and our God, so that He saves our souls for thy sake!"? What exactly are these "our prayers," I am sure the Lord knows, He hears them even before "we" say them or rationally-cerebrally "formulate" them in our thoughts...

Yet, I do also say short "personal" prayers - simply mentioning names of my relatives and close friends, and imagining them as I ask the Lord to save them, to have mercy on them, to protect them or, if they have died, to rest their souls and to create for them memory eternal.

Again, I am probably different from most people on this list, or maybe even from all, because you guys were raised Christians (or non-Christians but still religious), and are used to prayer from early childhood. So, my experience is probably of little use, but I just felt like sharing.

George

Thank you for sharing this!  I do things much the same way as you.  I have to say, that even though I was raised Christian (Pentecostal), the unscripted prayers never seemed right.  When I first started looking into Orthodoxy I noticed the prayers and I started praying them even when I had no intention of converting.  They said everything that needed to be said and did it much better than I could ever have on my own.  It's been a relief and a comfort.
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2007, 01:02:08 AM »

I agree with Jaderook and George - the prayers are most of all we need.  I went to a Pentecostal church for three years, and although I never joined it, it is something I still struggle with - all that unholy spontanaeity.
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