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Author Topic: What is meant by corporate prayer?  (Read 412 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 13, 2013, 03:08:03 PM »

OK, it may seem like this has an obvious answer but I'm not so sure.  My priest and I were having a conversation not too long ago where he directed me to read/chant things, text wise, exactly as in the service book provided.  Problem is that most of our service books are inconsistent and, e.g., Psalm 142 in one book is not the same as another.  This came about when my priest came here and created a service book for almost every service (a laudable goal), but was using different sources for almost each and every prayer book. 

When I pray, many things are memorized and it's hard to extricate myself from what I have learned and used repeatedly over and over. My priest has said that when we pray, we pray corporately, which, to him, means we use the exact same language.  Now, most of my prayers are in Greek (it's what I'm used to) and he knows that I pray many things (except for things that are sung) like the Creed, the Communion Prayer of St. John Chrysostom and the Lord's prayer in Greek. He's told me to stop essentially saying that I risk my salvation when I am not praying corporately.  My response is that I am praying and the language issue is irrelevant.  He's a priest who believes that everything should be in English.  We have many Arabs, Russians and a few Greeks and I know for a fact that many of them pray in their native tongue.  Are they thus not praying corporately?

So, what does corporate prayer mean and how is it executed?  Is it simply everyone praying the exact same words at the exact same time (I know one woman who is almost always four syllables behind everybody) in the exact same language?  Or is it more fluid than that?  Opinions please.

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 04:05:13 PM »

My priest has said that when we pray, we pray corporately, which, to him, means we use the exact same language.  Now, most of my prayers are in Greek (it's what I'm used to) and he knows that I pray many things (except for things that are sung) like the Creed, the Communion Prayer of St. John Chrysostom and the Lord's prayer in Greek. He's told me to stop essentially saying that I risk my salvation when I am not praying corporately.  My response is that I am praying and the language issue is irrelevant.  He's a priest who believes that everything should be in English. 


If this is really the meaning of corporate prayer, then I think I haven't properly prayed ever in my life.

"Corporate prayer", to me, is simply the prayer of the Church (i.e., liturgical prayer).  Each of us has our own personal prayer life, but when we gather together as the Church, we pray with one voice as one body, and so we use the Church's prayer.  I would hesitate to absolutize a definition beyond that. 

If, for example, an English speaker attends a service where 70% is in an unfamiliar language, and they join in as many of those prayers as they can by saying them to themselves quietly in English, I think that person is participating in corporate prayer.  If he knows the language well enough to join in the singing/chanting, then you can argue that it's better to pray aloud in the foreign language than to pray to yourself in English, but still I think it's corporate prayer.  That works, of course, in the case of those for whom English isn't a familiar language in churches that use English.  Now, if you're an English speaker in an English church who uses Slavonic at home "just because", and insists on doing so at church, I think it's still corporate prayer because it's still the same service; however, I would want to know how much of this is habit versus, for example, a Slavonic fetish.  Tongue 

I think if "corporate prayer" is limited to using the same language and same texts at the same time by all participants in a particular service, then translation issues and language abilities are only part of the problem.  What do you do with traditions that use choral music?  Four-part harmony sounds nice, but it's still four parts, it's not one voice the way chant is.  Are the Russians doing it wrong?  Is their salvation also in jeopardy?  What about speed?  I've been to churches where things are dragged out beyond recognition, and others where the Our Father is prayed so fast, with all the attendant sloppiness, that only a God could understand it.  If they're at "Deliver us from the evil one" when I'm at "Give us this day our daily bread", who's not praying corporately--me for being too slow or the reader for not properly leading? 

And, to me, such observations only touch on the letter of the issue.  What about the spirit?  If I go to a church where the Liturgy is in Georgian, and I can't make heads or tails of anything, so all I do is follow what I can of the service and say the Jesus Prayer or something, is my salvation in jeopardy?  Or is that more "corporate prayer" than simply gawking for two hours?  Maybe just showing up with a good intention is already "corporate prayer" that gives your own weak efforts that much more strength. 

If your priest really has the attitude you say he does, then I respectfully disagree with him.  But I wonder if there's more going on in the background.  Maybe he's had some bad experiences with a more "lenient" approach, or maybe people have given him trouble in the past over certain things.  Or maybe he just has his own ideas, who knows.     
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2013, 04:19:49 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.



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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 04:33:46 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.

Amen to that!  God knows all languages.  The fact that scamandrius' priest doesn't is his problem.  Now, I can see that when in church, if most people are praying (corporately, i.e. as a body) out loud in English and someone else is praying out loud in Greek or Arabic or Russian, it could very well be a huge distraction and disrupt everybody's prayer.  But, to say his salvation is at risk....Sheesh!  But hey...I'm just a lay person, and a Catholic to boot  Grin.
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 04:45:28 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.


I would add the caveat that you should at least know the meaning behind the words you pray. I'm not saying you have to be fluent in the language, just that you should at least know the gist of the prayers.
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 05:19:58 PM »

Quote
What is meant by corporate prayer?


Multiple people ie a group praying about the same thing.
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 07:06:09 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2013, 10:15:41 PM »

Corporate prayer is what corporations pray before they are damned eternally.
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 10:37:37 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.

Great comments.

However, let me clarify the meaning of what I had said.

By "language doesn't matter", I meant the spoken word.

I do not know the Creed in English. I do know it in Ukrainian. Same with many other prayers.
When I find myself in an English environment, I will softly join the English speakers in Ukrainian.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Another thought, what about our Prayer Forum?  Is that to be considered "corporate prayer", as many join together to pray for the same thing?

 
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 10:46:17 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.


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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 10:59:32 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.

Great comments.

However, let me clarify the meaning of what I had said.

By "language doesn't matter", I meant the spoken word.

I do not know the Creed in English. I do know it in Ukrainian. Same with many other prayers.
When I find myself in an English environment, I will softly join the English speakers in Ukrainian.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Another thought, what about our Prayer Forum?  Is that to be considered "corporate prayer", as many join together to pray for the same thing?

 
Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2013, 11:14:16 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.

Great comments.

However, let me clarify the meaning of what I had said.

By "language doesn't matter", I meant the spoken word.

I do not know the Creed in English. I do know it in Ukrainian. Same with many other prayers.
When I find myself in an English environment, I will softly join the English speakers in Ukrainian.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Another thought, what about our Prayer Forum?  Is that to be considered "corporate prayer", as many join together to pray for the same thing?

 
Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.

-1 point for the Latin extra-Trads, then.  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2013, 11:40:25 PM »


Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.

-1 point for the Latin extra-Trads, then.  Grin

As well as Greeks who pray in ancient Greek; Russians, Serbs and Bulgarians who use Old Church Slavonic; OOs who use Ge'ez, classical Armenian or Syriac and so on.
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2013, 12:11:12 AM »


Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.

-1 point for the Latin extra-Trads, then.  Grin

As well as Greeks who pray in ancient Greek; Russians, Serbs and Bulgarians who use Old Church Slavonic; OOs who use Ge'ez, classical Armenian or Syriac and so on.

Might as well subtract 1 for us English speakers who use the King's English in our prayers.

Ancient Koine Byzantine Greek, Church Slavonic, Armenian these are not as far removed linguistically to the native speakers of their descendent languages as Latin is to a native English speaker. A closer parallel would be Spanish or Italian speakers praying in Latin.
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 09:47:26 AM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.

Great comments.

However, let me clarify the meaning of what I had said.

By "language doesn't matter", I meant the spoken word.

I do not know the Creed in English. I do know it in Ukrainian. Same with many other prayers.
When I find myself in an English environment, I will softly join the English speakers in Ukrainian.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Another thought, what about our Prayer Forum?  Is that to be considered "corporate prayer", as many join together to pray for the same thing?

 
Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.

This pompous comment shows how little you know about me.  I may have learned Greek at a fancy school (not really, but I worked more out of school to learn it) and then I lived in Greece for 6 months.  If it were not for the Greek language, I would not have become Orthodox (my first experience with the Holy Fathers was in the Greek language--St. John Chrysostom).  I speak Greek pretty well (I'm rusty, but can do it) and when I pray in Greek, it is still prayer.

I await your apology for your assumption and ignorance.
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2013, 11:35:10 AM »

"Corporate prayer", to me, is simply the prayer of the Church (i.e., liturgical prayer).  Each of us has our own personal prayer life, but when we gather together as the Church, we pray with one voice as one body, and so we use the Church's prayer.  I would hesitate to absolutize a definition beyond that. 

That's what I've always thought.

And regarding the language of the prayer, it doesn't matter for God. It's just for us (and that's why I'm for liturgical languages like Church Slavonic, because it can easily introduce us in a prayerful atmosphere, and there is no problem with inappropriate translations etc. - so that's for the people, not for God).

I'm a bit shocked by the opinion of this priest. But, I suppose, there is a problem in Orthodox churches in USA, as it's made up of various nationalities, and some comprises regarding the language are needed, and it can cause a lack of unity if everybody prays in different language (maybe that's something the priest was referring to Huh)
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2013, 12:00:55 PM »

I tend to use a different definition for corporate prayer - something close to the Roman idea of pietas or public piety.  I consider that if someone one somewhere under the sun is praying to Christ than the entire "body of Christ" is constantly singing His praises.  Likewise, if one member of a family or group of friends is praying on behalf of the entire unit then the entire unit is praying.

...or perhaps I am one good shove from paganism...

As for linguistics, I guess it comes down to why, and this is something that must be answered honestly.  Maybe not publicly but at least in your own mind you must answer honestly or I think it is possible to risk your salvation.  Using myself as an example, I like to pray in Latin sometimes.  This is primarily because I love the language and think it seems beautiful.  This begs the question then, am I praying or linguistically masturbating?  I feel that I might be leaning towards the later at times.  One of the compromises I have made is that I go through my prayers in English first as that is truly the only language I am mostly fluent in, and then afterwards I will sing a few of the prayers in Latin or Slavonic.  This way, if I am only doing this for my own enjoyment - there are a lot of worse things I could be doing for fun.  At least when you pray in another language it is still to the glory of God.  At Church, if the hymn is in Slavonic I will sing along in Slavonic with no qualms.  I understand the prayers in Slavonic, it is what everyone else is singing, so I consider it a proper prayer to God, not something for my own amusement. 
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One day we will talk about why people fetishize children, but for now I'll keep on the side of humanity that doesn't think the height of life is a drinking a juice box and eating a tater tot while defecating in their pants.
augustin717
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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2013, 02:49:59 PM »


I wouldn't think language really matters.   It's the intent and the spirit behind the praying, not the language used while praying.





And the pendulum goes too far the other way.

Corporate.

Scam I ain't gotta etymologize that word for you and I think the root of it is important and reflects the incarnational nature of Christianity.

I am not sure what you meant Liza, but I think people need to be careful with words when folks starting entering the world of precision and given the comments of Scam's Priest we are certainly there.

Intent, spirit, etc. are always, always, always embodied. Christianity is always incarnational. Period. Therefore language does matter (language another felicitous etymology). And thus which language matters.

So Christian prayer is always corporate in the sense bodies pray. And it is corporate in the sense a singular body prays. Personal prayer for us is always corporate prayer. No person can ever pray alone. That would reject a Trinitarian ontology.

Anyhow, what language you pray in does matter in that you pray in a language. There is no tongue thus no language which is outside the glory of the Incarnation.

One could imagine a genuine gnosticism cutting both ways here. It doesn't matter if you pray in words, use your body, it all about the spirit, the intent, etc. (Liza I am not saying you are saying this, but nevertheless this is a possible manner of understanding what you wrote). Furthermore, this intent and spirit must be passed on to you through this ritual, these teachings, etc.

Same could be said for a "secret" language. God hears prayers better in a special language which one learns with much travail under a master.

In the fumbling middle ground, you have the convert who tries to pray in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Church Slavonic etc. when they needn't, so that they pray for "real". This is nonsense.

Back to St. Ambrose, when in Rome . . . Otherwise pray in the language or tongue of your own, however many you have.

Great comments.

However, let me clarify the meaning of what I had said.

By "language doesn't matter", I meant the spoken word.

I do not know the Creed in English. I do know it in Ukrainian. Same with many other prayers.
When I find myself in an English environment, I will softly join the English speakers in Ukrainian.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Another thought, what about our Prayer Forum?  Is that to be considered "corporate prayer", as many join together to pray for the same thing?

 
Ukranian is your native language. The point was that is kinda pompous to recite prayers in a  language that isn't native to you, but you learned in a fancy school. If i heard someone pray like this I'd burst into laughter.

This pompous comment shows how little you know about me.  I may have learned Greek at a fancy school (not really, but I worked more out of school to learn it) and then I lived in Greece for 6 months.  If it were not for the Greek language, I would not have become Orthodox (my first experience with the Holy Fathers was in the Greek language--St. John Chrysostom).  I speak Greek pretty well (I'm rusty, but can do it) and when I pray in Greek, it is still prayer.

I await your apology for your assumption and ignorance.
You just prove my point dude.
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