Author Topic: hard time praying  (Read 2608 times)

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Offline samkim

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hard time praying
« on: October 26, 2007, 04:16:37 PM »
I've been having a hard time praying lately. Not so much because I don't want to pray (though that happens a lot), but even when I do want to pray I spend like an hour debating what to pray. "Should I pray out of the prayer book? Little Compline? Akathist? This or that Canon?" Orthodox prayer just seems a lot more disorderly. I notice this especially when I try to integrate prayers from different prayer books into a rule. It would be nice if the Church had an orderly Office for personal devotion, like the Latins. I know it is important to develop consistency, and I'll talk to my priest, but you guys have any advice?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 04:17:18 PM by samkim »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 05:21:57 PM »
Samkim, I have this problem every once in a while, too.

What I do in this case is just stand in front of icons, cross myself, and and say some simple prayers, like the Trisagion ("Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us"), the Lord's Prayer, and the "Ave Maria" (which I never knew in English but always remember in my native Ukrainian, "Bohorodytse Divo, radujsya, blahodatna Marije, Hospod' z Toboju...").

Like you, I, too, would be greteful to others for their experience.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 05:22:56 PM by Heorhij »
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Offline zebu

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 05:32:31 PM »
Ask your priest for a daily prayer rule! That's the best way to start!
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2007, 05:49:36 PM »
I would start out small at first.  Heorhij has a great suggestion with the Trisagion and Lord's Prayer and then a small prayer to the Theotokos and your Saint.  It ain't easy, that's for sure, but there will be days where we simply have to force ourself to pray.  I would strongly recomend that you speak with your priest about this.
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2007, 06:03:02 PM »
Here's my basic prayer rule. I always pray at least this, but I add other prayers where appropriate (generally after the Our Father). Hope this helps.

1. Invocation

+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Prayer to the Holy Spirit

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life, come abide in us. Cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One.

3. Trisagion

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3x)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name's sake.

4. Our Father

Lord have mercy. (3x)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

5. Theotokion

Lord have mercy. (12x)
It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure and the Mother of our God. More honourable than the cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you.

6. Closing

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Lord have mercy. (3x)
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through the intercessions of Thy most pure Mother and of all Thy saints, especially St.(Ss.) ____, the patrons and protectors of this house, and of St. ____, whom we commemorate today, have mercy on us and save us, for Thou art good and lovest mankind.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 11:13:48 PM »
Adopting a rule of prayer is best left up to individuals.  However, it seems that no rule of prayer is complete without the Trisagion prayers (Glory to thee...O Heavenly King...Holy God...Holy Trinity...Our Father...Through the prayers...).  YOu can start out there and work your way up.  Sometimes at the end of the day, I know it is very difficult, especially when you are tired, to go through the entire office of Small Compline.  But I have found that the second I start engaging in prayer, genuine heart-felt prayer, that I have the strength to finish.  I hope that the same may occur for you.
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Offline FrChris

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2007, 10:56:13 AM »
The GOARCH website has this helpful section in their Chapel section:

Daily Prayers

At Midday
Daily Prayers for Orthodox Christians (Complete)
In The Morning
Supplementary Prayers
The Nicene Creed
The Lord's Prayer

You can print out the Pslams that they are referring to, as well as any needed troparia, etc, and then incorporate them inot your prayer rule.

And, of course, perhaps you are having difficulty in your prayer life because the Lord knows that in surmounting this difficulty you will grow.
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Offline Simayan

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2007, 07:49:19 PM »
I would just be careful not to make it legalistic. I find praying while lying down before bed to be the most relaxing and meaningful, some prefer kneeling, others like to stand. It's all a matter of personal choice between yourself and God, and as long as the prayers are heartfelt, a simple "Our Father" can be the same as a Compline.

As for myself, I find it better to pray silently throughout the day and so a small 5 minute one at night rather than have a 20-30 minutes session while I'm completely drained from my day. If I do the latter, I feel my concentration begin to drift towards sleep and mindless repetition rather than God.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 07:50:55 PM by Simayan »
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Offline prayingserb

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2007, 06:56:20 AM »
It's simple, pray the way works for you best!

I find myself throughout the day praying the jesus prayer (I pray in my native language btw; serbian) the lord's prayer, and other simple prayers that I remember (example, prayer I have on my key chain with the mother of God image on it - for drivers, but it's very general too). I also find it nice to meditate on scripture, especially psalms, which can many times be the prayer we need when our minds does not know how to pray.

 for me, our father is before I start the day and when I am to sleep, the jesus prayer is through out the day, and other short prayers and psalms too.

Don't beat yourself up over it, and make it simple. I'm sure it will work out.

Offline Sophie

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2007, 09:36:20 AM »
Perhaps, it could work for you if you prayed about people and issues you have in mind because this way it would be personal and more to the point of praying, because this way you know what you give thanks/ask forgiveness/pray for. The Jesus prayer and "Our Father" are quite personal in my opinion. You could pray for the intercession of your patron saint, for that of the patron saints of other people, for the intercession of the Virgin Mary and try to do so in your own words so that you feel personally what you pray about. As Prayingserb said above, I also find it nice to meditate on or read from the Psalms when praying. I dare say that for me, when not in church, improvisation works best because this way I always feel what I pray as I pray with my own mind and heart addressing the particular issues of every moment.
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Offline Schultz

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2007, 10:25:51 AM »
Indeed, find something that works for you and the only way you're going to find it is to try.  I've found that I need a very structured rule.  It's been a long time coming but I've managed to wrap my daily prayer life around the Small Hours and Little Compline as structured on Fr. John Whiteford's excellent Reader's horologion site and the Daily Vespers book (with the appropriate reader's service changes) from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute.  But there are days, of course, when either I don't have the time or the resources at hand.  At such times, I pray St. Pachomius' Rule.  As my wife is a late sleeper on Saturdays, I tend to spend alot of time Saturday morning "catching up" on things like Akathists for the Dead.  There certainly are alot of options available for the Orthodox Christian, but it's best to start small and stick to it and then add as you (or your spiritual father) see fit.  For example, I recently added the Psalter to my rule.  I try to pray one kathisma during the day, usually in the evening on my train ride home.  I find it a wonderful way to decompress, so to speak, from the hectic work day.  It's very important to me not to bring work or work-related stress home and I've found that the Psalms are a wonderful way of leaving it behind.

It's funny...lately, if I manage to miss an hour for some reason, I really miss it.  It's a palpable feeling of emptiness and longing, so much so that I have to stop what I'm doing and offer up something to God.  I've never been one to feel the presence of God, but perhaps learning to feel His absence, or at least the absence of prayerful communion with Him, is a step on that ladder?

At any rate, talk with a priest and try different things keeping in mind the goal of finding something that works for you to help bring you into prayerful communion with the Most High God.  It will most certainly take time, but it's very rewarding.  Don't give up!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2007, 10:28:50 AM by Schultz »
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Offline Didymus

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2007, 11:28:30 AM »
Can relate at times.

Thankfully the Coptic Church has the Agpia so you always know what to pray when. If you can manage to pray the whole book then perhaps you can ask your priest what more to pray.

I actually keep a little blue book of EO prayers as well as it contains short ones in case I need some at times.
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Offline samkim

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Re: hard time praying
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2007, 08:00:50 PM »
Didymus, I have a copy of the Agpeya and I pray from it regularly. It was very cheap... like three bucks. The tropars or "litanies" after the Gospel readings are quite moving. Does anyone know what the Syrians and Armenians use for personal recitation of the Canonical Hours? As far as I know, for EO, there is nothing definitive for lay recitation, like the Agpeya.

Another question: how important do you think it is to pray the Hours? And at the right times of day? I feel weird about praying the some of the other Hours since certain prayers get displaced (like the "tropar upon rising" which is from midnight hour, but if you normally pray in the morning, and for some reason you feel like praying the midnight hour you would say the prayer twice, and there are other prayers appropriate for the morning hours). Iono. It feels awkward. Anyway, it's not like I can wake up to pray the hours in the first place... :)
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