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Author Topic: Corporate prayer vs. Private prayer  (Read 2789 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: July 30, 2007, 09:22:36 PM »

 This is gonna sound Protestant but here goes. Sometimes I don't feel as though I'm truly praying when I pray the Corporate prayers of the Church. I've even wondered if God bothers to listen when we simply say what somebody else said. I'm not necessarily speaking about the Divine Liturgy per se (or the Jesus Prayer), although I suppose my  concerns could very well apply there too. I really want a personal relationship with Jesus (and Orthodox are encouraged to persue this), and I don't seem to be getting closer with 'pre-recorded' prayers. Why can't we, for instance during the morning and evening prayers, simply talk to God as if He's right there with us (afterall He is always with us, right?) using our own words?

 In Christ,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 10:04:21 PM »

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Why can't we, for instance during the morning and evening prayers, simply talk to God as if He's right there with us (afterall He is always with us, right?) using our own words?

We can.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 10:08:15 PM »

Dear Jibrail,

As fallen creatures, ignorant of our own selves, let lone our own God; ignorant in our dealings and relationships with fellow human beings, let alone in our our dealings and relationships with our Creator, we need the "prepared" prayers of the Church which have been born from the enlightened experience of those who have been moved by the Spirit to know how to pray, so as to be able to form a genuine relationship with God. According to the Epistles of St Paul, it is the Holy Spirit who cries within us "Abba, Father!"; it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us to pray, and yet, in our fallen condition, we cannot individually discern with any great accuracy how the Spirit is leading us in this regard. We need a guide; a teacher. The "prepared" prayers of the Church represent the movement of the Holy Spirit; they are part of the Tradition of the Church.

You should not, in light of this, conceive of a dichotomy between personal and "prepared" prayers. The latter are there to lead the former in the right direction. Nor should you necessarily conceive of some sort of rigid distinction between the two. Prepared prayers can easily be personalised, and should in fact be so.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 10:08:47 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 11:53:19 PM »

Dear Jibrail,

As fallen creatures, ignorant of our own selves, let lone our own God; ignorant in our dealings and relationships with fellow human beings, let alone in our our dealings and relationships with our Creator, we need the "prepared" prayers of the Church which have been born from the enlightened experience of those who have been moved by the Spirit to know how to pray, so as to be able to form a genuine relationship with God. According to the Epistles of St Paul, it is the Holy Spirit who cries within us "Abba, Father!"; it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us to pray, and yet, in our fallen condition, we cannot individually discern with any great accuracy how the Spirit is leading us in this regard. We need a guide; a teacher. The "prepared" prayers of the Church represent the movement of the Holy Spirit; they are part of the Tradition of the Church.

You should not, in light of this, conceive of a dichotomy between personal and "prepared" prayers. The latter are there to lead the former in the right direction. Nor should you necessarily conceive of some sort of rigid distinction between the two. Prepared prayers can easily be personalised, and should in fact be so.
Thank you for your insight and help, brother.
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 08:21:41 AM »

Gabriel, I can relate... In my case, this feeling of insufficiency or something is perhaps even worse, because in my parish the corporate prayer is in English, while I cannot pray in any other language but Ukrainian. But I am trying to ignore this feeling of mine. I just trust the Church.

And yes, of course you and I can talk to God in our own words, I don't think anybody in the Orthodox world would prohibit that or object to that.
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 08:43:54 AM »

As Christians we pray individually as noted in the Didache:

“Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord hath commanded in his gospel so pray ye: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for Thine is the power, and the glory, forever.

“Thrice a day pray ye in this fashion.”
Didache 8:2-3  [70 AD]

The Apostolic Didache and the tradition of the Orthodox Church outline the general obligation for all of us to pray at least three times a day.  In referring to the “Lord’s Prayer”, the Didache says: “Pray thus three times in the day” This rule comes to us directly from the Apostles and from Christ.  This is necessary for our spiritual good.

As Christians we must pray. We cannot substitute works, gifts of money, or anything else in the place of prayer. We cannot think that prayer is “anything good that we do” in the sense of replacing the actual act of prayer about which Our Lord Christ Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room and close the door, and pray in secret…” St Thophan the Bishop wrote,” If you are not successful in your prayer do not expect success in anything. Prayer is the root of all.”
 

From the Prayer Rule from my parish, adapted from various sources, the following is submitted  that explains Coporate prayer and  activities in preparation for it:

LITURGY AND CORPORATE PRAYER
Attendance at the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and on feast days should be considered the rule.  There are of course exceptions to this rule given for the elderly, the frail, and those who live great distances from the church, you should contact the pastor for advice on handling these special exceptions. On these days the family should attend the entire Divine Liturgy at the parish church, since it is here that God's greatest gift is bestowed upon us—the Body and Blood of Christ.

Saturday evenings and the eves of major feast days should be times given particular attention by the family. The attendance at the Vesper Service at the parish church is the ideal manner to spend these evenings. If, however, due to small children, distance, or illness, members of the family are not able to attend vespers, they should spend a quiet evening in prayer and spiritual reading. Orthodox Christians should not be spending these evenings at movies, dances, or other amusements, nor playing cards, cutting the grass, fishing, or involved with other secular concerns, whether within the home or without. Radios, televisions, stereos, and musical instruments should be turned off on these evenings, since the day of the feast has already begun at sundown. These quiet evenings should be spent in quiet, spiritual preparation for the feast. Secular entertainments should not be recommenced until after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the feast day and then be appropriate to the celebration of the Feast.

Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2007, 11:37:40 PM »

 I think my problem stems from putting off the prayers until the last minute and then I end up having to rush through them, often wondering what it was I prayed hours later. I frequently add private prayers to my prayer rule, which helps a lot. I think we tend to underestimate how difficult it is to genuinely practice Christianity, at least I do. Saying you're this or that requires little effort; it's practicing and living what one believes that we come face to face with our stubborn sinfulness.
 As a sidenote to this thread, should we be lighting incense everytime we offer the morning and evening prayers? I typically do this only once a month.
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2007, 05:12:49 PM »

As far as I know there is no requirement to light incense on any lay person during their personal prayers, however it is a pious custom and one that is an excellent teaching tool for children as they see the incense waft up to heaven just as our prayers do.  What then hey, perhaps it is a good tool for us as adults too.

Thomas
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Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2007, 07:56:55 PM »

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As far as I know there is no requirement tolight incense on any lay p[erson durin g their personal prayers, however it is a pious custom and one that is an excellent teaching tool for children as they see thencense waft up to heaven just as our prayers do.  What they hey, perhaps it is a good tool for us as adults too.

I have noticed with my kids, and young family members that incense really impacts them. Lighting the incense and picking out the scent are a great fun for kids.
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Troparion - Tone 1:
O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
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« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2007, 08:26:54 PM »

As far as I know there is no requirement tolight incense on any lay p[erson durin g their personal prayers, however it is a pious custom and one that is an excellent teaching tool for children as they see thencense waft up to heaven just as our prayers do.  What they hey, perhaps it is a good tool for us as adults too.

Thomas
I should hope there's no requirement to light incense on a layperson, because that would hurt! Shocked
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2007, 09:01:08 PM »

I should hope there's no requirement to light incense on a layperson, because that would hurt! Shocked
Ah, misplaced modifiers: one of the few forms of recreation available to us grammar folks.
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« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2007, 09:18:41 PM »

Feel free to correct---I wasn't an English major. (As is obvious from my syntax and spelling)

Thomas
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« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2007, 09:22:23 PM »

As far as I know there is no requirement to light incense on any lay person during their personal prayers, however it is a pious custom and one that is an excellent teaching tool for children as they see the incense waft up to heaven just as our prayers do.  What then hey, perhaps it is a good tool for us as adults too.
Grammar aside, I agree completely. I do use incense every time I can, and I find it helps me relax and focus--plus, it makes the whole house smell good. The only reason I can think of for not lighting incense is that I've run out (which, with the stock I keep around, will be sometime around 2030).
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