Author Topic: What's a good prayer book?  (Read 1304 times)

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Offline ergro

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What's a good prayer book?
« on: May 29, 2015, 04:19:49 AM »
Technically my prayer rule is the Horologion (yes, I have way too much free time on my hands). However recently I've been getting more and more early-morning appointments, which barely leaves me enough time to shower, change clothes and eat breakfast. So I've become very interested in purchasing a prayer book so I can still get in a quick prayer upon awakening on those days. And much to my pleasure, although there is a need for more English-language service books, prayer books definitely aren't one of them. It seems that just about every Orthodox publisher your side of the ocean has their own prayer book. So, the question is, which one's the best? I've heard excellent things about the Jordanville Prayer Book, which also seems to be the most popular, however I've heard that the prayers in it are quite lengthy, which could defeat the whole purpose. I've also looked at the Holy Transfiguration Prayer Book, to match my Horologion,but the prayers there are simply the full midnight office and small compline (Greek Rite, without the lengthy prayers found in the Jordanville Horologion/Prayer Book, and simply praying the midnight office without anything from Matins or First Hour would simply leave me feeling empty inside. Is there a prayer book with a morning prayer that somewhat abbreviates the Morning Aggregate to the point where it can be read through quickly and on the go?

Peace
-Ergro

Offline wgw

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 04:45:47 AM »
I suggest Praying with the Orthodox Tradition with a Foreward by Merropolitan Kallistos Ware.  Though intended for beginners, it has a structure that corresponds with the Horlogion, and consists of short prayers taken from the Barberini Codex that are relevant to the meaning of each canonical hour, and you can say as many or as few as you'd like.

However it lacks an order of preparation for Holy Communion, Grace before and thanksgiving after meals, and other limitations.  For that, something like the Jordanville Prayerbook is needed.  Probably most of the people who respond to this thread will suggest you use the Jordanville book anyway.  It's a fine prayer book, of course.

Also the First Edition of the Jordanville Prayerbook is here: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

If you're not averse to using Oriental Orthodox material, the Syriac Orthodox Church has an abbreviated Canonical Prayerbook for use by the laity, which is online here: http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html

The basic unit of Syriac prayer is the Qawmo, which consists of a preface, the Trisagion, and the Lord's Prayer,mand optionally a Hail Mary.

Speaking of which, two other approaches to prayer should be considered: the use of the Jesus Prayer with a prayer rope or lestovka or the use of the Hail Mary according to the rule set down by St. Seraphim of Sarov, who also practiced the Jesus Prayer.  The nuns and monks at his monastery use a special lestovka (lestovkas are Russian Old Believer prayer ropes made from leather or vinyl) for that prayer.  I enjoy the conventional lestovka as it features different counters that can be used to say different prayers, or to count the number of Khrie Elesisons when praying the Hours, or the prostrations in the Prayer of St. Ephraim.  These can be obtained for $35 from the ROCOR Old Rote Church of the Nativity in Erie, PA.  However, the modern prayer rope is cheaper and lighter and you can get a 50 knot rope for $10. 

Online, you can find cell rules that prescribe a certain number of Jesus Prayers to substitute for specific parts of the Divine Office or the Psalter.  And one advantage of the Jesus Prayer is you can say it while driving or on public transport.  So if you know the duration of your journey to and from work, and calculate how long it takes you to say 50 prayers on your prayer rope, you can use your commute as a means of saying a certain number of prayers (bonus points if there is a delay or traffic jam! :) ).

However, one thing is absolutely critical.  Of all options I have outlined, it is imperative your spiritual father sign off on it.  For that matter you might well just ask him what to do.  In the Orthodox Church we rely on our spiritual fathers to guide our prayer rule and fasting discipline.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 11:21:41 AM »
Is there a prayer book with a morning prayer that somewhat abbreviates the Morning Aggregate to the point where it can be read through quickly and on the go?

If you want a "short" morning prayer, you're really not going to get much shorter than what's in the HTM prayer book.  Its morning prayers are an abbreviation of the midnight office (not the whole thing), and they're about ten minutes to read. 

How much time, for your most recent circumstances, is too long?  What is the time you have at your disposal for prayer in the mornings now that you've got more things to do?  Since you normally use the Horologion, I'm not sure what "a quick prayer upon awakening" is like for you, but depending on how much time you have, I could recommend a basic outline on how to abbreviate the "Morning Aggregate" yourself with what you currently have and use.   
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Iconodule

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 11:30:27 AM »
Just because you're using, say, the Jordanville Prayerbook, doesn't mean you have to pray all the prayers set out for morning. A good minimum rule might be the trisagion prayers, our father, psalm 50, the creed, and a few short prayers to the Theotokos, your patron saint, and your guardian angel. Then if you have time you can add some of the other prayers. The Orthodox Prayer Book put out by New Rome press has a pretty short morning rule, and it comes in a very handy pocket edition. The other question is which style of English you prefer- the "hieratic English" as seen in Jordanville or a more contemporary idiom.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 11:30:58 AM by Iconodule »
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Offline wgw

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 12:17:42 PM »
Is there a prayer book with a morning prayer that somewhat abbreviates the Morning Aggregate to the point where it can be read through quickly and on the go?

If you want a "short" morning prayer, you're really not going to get much shorter than what's in the HTM prayer book.  Its morning prayers are an abbreviation of the midnight office (not the whole thing), and they're about ten minutes to read. 

How much time, for your most recent circumstances, is too long?  What is the time you have at your disposal for prayer in the mornings now that you've got more things to do?  Since you normally use the Horologion, I'm not sure what "a quick prayer upon awakening" is like for you, but depending on how much time you have, I could recommend a basic outline on how to abbreviate the "Morning Aggregate" yourself with what you currently have and use.   

The individual prayers in Praying with the Orthodox Tradition, which is also cheaper than the HTM book, can be easily read in 1-2 minutes, and each chapter in under ten.  For duration, or lack thereof, I think that Praying With the Orthodox Tradition wins.

However, it is highly untraditional despite the name.  Which is probably why Metropolitan Kallistos wrote the Foreward; he likes encouraging us to appreciate zholy Tradition by looking beyond small "t" traditions.  The prayers are sacerdotal prayers taken from the Barberini Codex 636, one of the oldest extant Orthodox liturgical manuscripts, albeit topically arranged so as to reflect the content of the hours in question.

I am not a fan of the use of modern English in liturgy; I strongly prefer the hieratic English one finds in the Jordanville book, but this book is one of the few that I can stand.   The style is elegant.  But it has the major defect of lacking rectory orayers and any guidance on preparation for the Eucharist. Mehcih is an ironic oversight given how Metropolltan Kallistos is on record expressing the desire for proper preparation for the Eucharist and a dislike of casual communion.  However I think what sadly got in the way was a desire on the part of the original compiler to only use material from the Barberini Codex.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 12:18:32 PM by wgw »
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Theophania

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 12:41:14 PM »
My favorite prayer book, and the one I use almost exclusively, is the Old Believer Prayerbook - it has pretty much everything you need. Extensive morning, day, and evening prayers, two akathists, several canons, pre and post-communion prayers. I really recommend it. The formatting of it is great too.

This is good advice to keep yourself from burning out:

Quote
Just because you're using, say, the Jordanville Prayerbook, doesn't mean you have to pray all the prayers set out for morning. A good minimum rule might be the trisagion prayers, our father, psalm 50, the creed, and a few short prayers to the Theotokos, your patron saint, and your guardian angel. Then if you have time you can add some of the other prayers.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 12:41:36 PM »
The individual prayers in Praying with the Orthodox Tradition, which is also cheaper than the HTM book, can be easily read in 1-2 minutes, and each chapter in under ten.  For duration, or lack thereof, I think that Praying With the Orthodox Tradition wins.

The Jesus Prayer takes, what, two seconds?  But somehow I don't think "quick and dirty for its own sake" is what is being sought. 

Ergro may correct me, but if he is used to praying the Horologion and needs something shorter for the mornings, he is probably looking for something that is still related to the office and retains something of its spirit, not merely a replacement for it.  Since my rule is also the Horologion (though of another rite), and since I have some knowledge and experience when it comes to how to abbreviate, I figured I could make recommendations (I sympathise with where I think he's coming from).  It may not be necessary for him, but it is an option. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline wgw

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Re: What's a good prayer book?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 02:14:36 PM »
Indeed, and I respect your recommendations wholeheartedly.  The HTM book is a very well respected prayer book.  The main reason I mentionedthe other book is that it actually follows.the structure of the Horologion both in the prayers themselves, which follow the Canonical Hours, and the content thereof.  It's not the Horologion or anything like it (I myself have an Unabnreviated Horologion also from Jordanville) but it is structurally similiar, and in terms of brevity it's unbeatable.  However it does have the deficiencies I mentioned, which I believe the HTM book lacks.  I only thumbed though an HTM prayer book once and can't remember much about it; I'm only really familiar with the Jordanville.

So indeed Mor, your qualifications to reccommend things like prayer books are why I joined this forum.  And if you think the HTM makes a good diet Horologion, I think I'll buy one myself.  I've heard only good things about that Prayerbook.

By the way Mor are you familiar with the little red Antiochian prayerbooks?  I haven't seen one but I've heard they're very good, written in the hieratic language, and very underrated.

Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!