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Author Topic: my position in evening prayer  (Read 990 times) Average Rating: 0
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erracht
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« on: October 24, 2003, 08:26:14 AM »

I have for a long time been struggling in the faith without adequate spiritual guidance. My first spiritual father had little time for me (and I for him) and moved away before we could finish getting me ready to participate fully in the faith. I am now in a city overseas (Prague) where again I am struggling to arrange a meeting with the pastor. Therefore, I may not be able to do some real basic things and need the help of more educated Orthodox on various matters.

Let me ask you, therefore, is my bearing during evening prayer appropriate? Before I go to bed, I kneel facing Eastward and make the sign of the cross. Then I start praying. Is this an appropriate posture for Orthodox believers or not? Also, I pray just before entering bed in the dark. So I am in my bedclothes (sweatshirt and long underpants at present, perhaps much less in the summer). Obviously I'm not in church, so no mortal sees me in my "underss", but is it nonetheless disrespectful to be like this when praying to God? I've heard the view expressed that one should wear their day clothes, not their nightwear, when praying before bed.

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Karamazov
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2003, 08:50:06 AM »

Dear Erracht

I'm just a layperson like yourself, and a recent (5 yr) convert, so I think I can relate to where you're coming from.  For someone new to Orthodoxy, you are concerned with getting the "rituals" of the faith correct, for fear that the rituals themselves are connected with achieving God's Grace.  Certainly, some rituals can be dark and lead us to sin, while others may lead us closer to God.  However, I believe that consciousness of the ritual you are performing is an important factor in how it is percieved by God.  If you are "trying you best," and practicing your faith with relative naivete, God overlooks the minor "goof-ups" of your Christian practice.  However, we must always be vigilant in our Faith, and always seek to move closer and closer to God in our Faith.  The knowledge that we gain on this spiritual journey will increasingly make demands of how we practice our Faith, and we are then bound by our knowledge to act increasingly Christian.

Let me put it this way:  God knows our hearts, and knows our efforts and failures.  THIS truth lies outside of the truth found in any individual religious ritual ("small t tradition").  Our redemption is not gained through legalistic means.  We should try not to focus on the "small t" "traditions" of our Faith; rather, our focus needs to be maintained on the "LARGE T" Tradition of our Faith, which is none other than the Holy Spirit residing within us and within the Body of our Church.

I pray you find these words comforting, and that you succed in finding a spiritual Father in Prague.  It sounds to me like you are on the right track.

your friend in Christ,

the unworthy boilerguy
(a fellow Canadian, eh?)

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Justinianus
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2003, 09:35:37 AM »

boilerguy said it very very.  I agree with what he said totally.

Focus on the content of your prayers not on the externals as much.  As your heart grows in faith, as will the externals.  Just taking the time out of the day for prayer is a challenge for many.  If you feel your dress is not showing respect to God and it distracts prayer, then dress more formally.  If you are dressed formally and it distracts prayer, then dress less formally.  If you look at the dress of monks who spend their lives in prayer, their garb is not very formal, but functional and simple.
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