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Timon
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« on: March 06, 2012, 11:15:23 AM »

Do you guys have any advice on how to use the psalter for prayer? My copy is coming in the mail today and I want to start incorporating it into my prayers.  Will the book itself give any guidelines on how to use it?  (Its the Holy Transfiguration Pocket Psalter)

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 11:20:08 AM »

The book should outline which kathismata to read in the morning and evening for each day of the week. There will be a special schedule for Lent.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 11:25:14 AM »

The Psalter has tables showing which kathismata, the 20 sections (lit. sittings) into which the Psalms are divided, are appointed to be read at which times. Outside of Great Lent, 2 sections are read at Matins and 1 at Vespers. During Lent, 3 sections are read at Matins, 1 at each of the Hours, and 1 at Vespers.

Chances are that your personal prayer rule will not allow you to use the Psalter as it is appointed for liturgical use, but it will provide you with a starting point for working incorporating it into your rule in a way that suits you.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 11:41:20 AM »

Read the Psalter whenever you can. I try to incorproate a few Psalms from what kathismata is appointed for that day and the Scripture readings before my Evening Prayers. It's a good idea to ask your Priest about your prayer rule though.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 11:59:58 AM »

Thanks everyone.  I didnt know if it was common for people to read the whole kathismata for that day, or to just do parts of it.  My original plan was to do like Manalive said and to just do some of it.  But I guess I should contact a Priest.  (I dont really have a Priest since Im not Orthodox yet and Im not able to attend a parish regularly, but I do know one and I contact him fairly regularly with questions.)

If anyone else has any advice or suggestions they would like to add, feel free!  Im just not very familiar with the whole thing.
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 05:12:48 PM »

Elder Cleopa said the Psalter is like a good cake. You take a piece and enjoy it. Then you take another piece, etc. One Psalm here, another there. Read them by themselves or with other prayers. If you want advice, just love the Psalms. They'll teach you much by themselves.
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 12:18:11 AM »

Though there is a schedule for the Kathismata both inside and outside of Lent, it is probably impossible for a layman to read the appointed Kathismata at the appointed hours.  But don't let that deter you.  What I do is I pray one of the Kathismata during my lunch hour and couple that with the reading from Isaiah which is appointed to be read at the sixth hour (which is at noon). 
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 01:12:59 AM »

According to fr. Ilarion Argatu it is only allowed to an Orthodox layman to say three psalms in a day. Only the clergy can say more. Otherwise the devil will strike you.
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 01:19:49 AM »

According to fr. Ilarion Argatu it is only allowed to an Orthodox layman to say three psalms in a day. Only the clergy can say more. Otherwise the devil will strike you.

This was kind of funny a few hours ago, but it's beginning to lose its luster.
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 01:26:24 AM »

That's true. that's for Orthodox laymen. I have no idea what he would have said if asked by heretics. He might have beaten them, it's a good guess.
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 08:05:02 AM »

There are many possible ways of using the Psalter. When doing the Midnight Office in the morning, instead of saying the 17th Kathisma (Psalm 118) every day as appointed, insert one of the daily kathismata instead. That way you'd get through the whole things once every three weeks. The kathisma goes between Psalm 50 and the Creed, so if you're using a different set of morning prayers, this would be the natural place to read it.

Or, since each kathisma is divided into three stanzas, you could read 1/3 in the morning, 1/3 at noon, 1/3 in the evening.

Week 1:
Sun 2, Mon 4, Tues 7, Wed 10, Thurs 13, Fri 19, Sat 16.

Week 2:
Sun 3, Mon 5, Tues 8, Wed 11, Thurs 14, Fri 20, Sat 17.

Week 3:
Mon 6, Tues 9, Wed 12, Thurs 15, Fri 18, Sat 1.

Doing them in order might be more natural, but this way you'd maintain some link with the Church's liturgical cycle.
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 05:14:21 PM »

Thanks everyone for the advice!  Id hate for the devil to strike me for reading more than three psalms, so Ill definitely watch out for that....
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 11:34:30 AM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I devised my own reading schedule for the Psalms so that I could get through all 150 during two weeks.  This logically necessitates reading more than three Psalms per day.

This is based on the Masoretic Text numbering of the Psalms:

WEEK I      
   Morning   Mid-Day   Evening
Sunday   5-8   9-12   x
Monday   13-15   16-18   19-22
Tuesday   23-27   28-30   31-33
Wednes. 34-36   37-38   39-42
Thursday   43-46   47-49   50-54
Friday   63-66   67-69   70-72
Saturday   55-58   59-62   1-4
   
WEEK II      
Sunday   77-79   80-83   x
Monday   84-88   89   90-93
Tuesday   94-97   98-101   102-104
Wednes. 105-107   108-110   111-114
Thursday   115-118   120-126   127-134
Friday   146-150   135-139   140-142
Saturday   119    143-145   73-76
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2012, 01:02:47 PM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I devised my own reading schedule for the Psalms so that I could get through all 150 during two weeks.  This logically necessitates reading more than three Psalms per day.

What devil?

Also, it's common (er... so I want to think) for some Orthodox to read through the Psalms once a week (twice during Lent). Even if you aren't doing the full cycle of services and just do the appointed Psalms that'd be placed within those services, you'd still get through it in a week. And you even get a half day off one of the days.
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2012, 02:14:20 PM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I never heard that before.  Shocked  Huh
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2012, 10:19:27 AM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I never heard that before.  Shocked  Huh

I wonder what "strike us" means.  Will he come out of hell and actually hit us?  Or will he strike us with a fiery lightening bolt from hell?? Guess I should go read a few Psalms and find out.
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2012, 10:53:12 AM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I never heard that before.  Shocked  Huh

I can't imagine the devil striking us for praying the psalms more.  Matins, alone, has quite a few psalms in it.
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 11:47:44 AM »

The more psalms you can read the better. If you read through the entire Psalter in one day you will be better for it. The bit about the devil striking you is nonsense...reading scripture is ammunition and a shield against the enemy.
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2012, 12:00:27 PM »

Why is it said that the devil will strike us for reading more than three psalms a day?  Is there any true basis for this?

I never heard that before.  Shocked  Huh

I can't imagine the devil striking us for praying the psalms more.  Matins, alone, has quite a few psalms in it.

Augustin717 was referencing a particularly quirky Romanian priest's book of sayings.  While some obviously teach this kind of stuff, they are outliers.  This is not a widespread teaching that we regularly run across. 

While it can sometimes be helpful to be exposed to these rather unpleasant, lesser known "teachings," people are taking this one far too seriously. 

Read the psalms for goodness sake!
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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2012, 02:10:10 PM »

Yes, praying (and memorizing) the psalms is one of the most important things a Christian can undertake. You will find them to be of great assistance in learning to pray noetically.
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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2012, 03:06:47 PM »

I sometimes have to remind myself that following a pattern is not an end in and of itself. Sometimes I'll decide that I want to read one kathisma per day so that I read through the Psalter every three weeks. Then I want to add an akathist during compline. Then I want to read 4 or 5 chapter from the Scriptures. Next thing I know I've burnt myself out and I'm doing none of them.

So I would caution you not to fall into that like I am prone to do. It's all about our healing, and not about following a pattern that we make for ourselves. When you're making home-made taffy, it will stretch pretty far as long as you do it slowly. But if you yank it too hard too fast, it will just split. Na mean?
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