Author Topic: When you pray...  (Read 1805 times)

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Offline Troldhaugen

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When you pray...
« on: July 29, 2006, 07:53:31 PM »
How do you pray? My parents didn't baptise me in any faith because my father was Catholic and my mother was Protestant so they thought it best to let me decide when I was older. I did follow the RC faith for a about 3 years but in the last year or so, my mind has been totally focussed on Orthodoxy.  My prayer 'routine' is one I've used for about 7 months now and it seems to bring me so much closer to God. I pray when I wake up and then in the middle of day and then at night, I set aside an hour just before I go to bed. I have a corner in my room where there's a shelf and on the wall I have lots of various icons. On the shelf I have two large candles which are sort of in red plastic and have a gold coloured tin top with little holes punched around the side. Well, what I do, is I kneel or sometimes stand and I pray the Jesus prayer and other prayers I have. Then I'll read the Bible (I'm starting from the beginning and working my way through) and finally, I have a set number of 33 Jesus Prayers which I say. And while I do all this, I have very soft choral music playing. I have a wonderful CD called, "Russian Faith" and it has music from the Divine Liturgy and other chants on it. I find that this really creates an atmosphere and that atmosphere makes it easier for me to close everything off. I know that it's dark outside and the only light in the room is from the candles and when I look up I can see the faces of the icons looking down and in a way, it's like having a private chapel in my own home.

My question to you all is, when you pray, do you have a routine or a special way of praying? Are there any prayers you particularly like or pray very often? And do you like silence and complete stillness when you pray or do you prefer some kind of atmosphere or music? 
"One must have only a little patience-and is it really so difficult? For every day that passes quietly I thank God"

Online scamandrius

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2006, 08:59:45 PM »
Wow!  Loaded question.

IMHO, the most important thing is to have a RULE of prayer and to not deviate from that.  Determine the times that you will pray (immediately upon rising from bed, before going to sleep, e.g.) and do so with conviction (i'm sure you do).

As to whether music is playing or not, I prefer not to have it on simply because I chant the psalms and hymns of the office of Compline. Having the CD player and me going on at the same time would be very confusing.  If you can learn a little chanting, I have found that it enhances my prayer and contemplation.

Also, there are certain prayers that are so traditional and beautiful that you should memorize them for use at any time (e.g. parked in a car during rush hour traffic and  your AC quits on you).  Learn the Trisagion, the Great Doxology, Psalm 50, the Prayer of the Hours, "It is Meet" and the Troparion to the Theotokos.  Those are just suggestions, but I think they are a good starting point.

HOwever you pray, remember to make prayer your own.  The words may have been written down by a saint, but they're not copyrighted!  Say them with compunction as if your own heart were uttering them for the first time.  That way, the prayer never gets old and it is always reverently offered.

I hope I gave a few suggestions.  It is a loaded question.  I know that when I was inquring, I was desparately trying to get my hands on anything related to how to pray and what to pray.  And though it was a good thing to search for such material, a priest reminded me that you always have the Lord's prayer and the Jesus Prayer.


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Offline MicahJohn

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2006, 09:42:23 PM »
I prefer silence and dim light with my candles lit.  I have a little corner of icons and in the morning and evening I light the candles and say some prayers I have memorized from my Jordanville prayer book.  I don't always do the same thing every time, but it's evolved into a standard pattern since it is easier for me to pray by reciting things I know than reading them in dim light.  I had to read them for a while until I memorized them, but now I can just say most of them.  I usually include the trisagion at the beginning, then ps 50, the morning or evening troparia, then a couple of the longer prayers for morning or evening.  After that I often just say what's on my heart, but I also make sure to pray to my patron saint and the Blessed Virgin, and usually my angel.  Then I have a couple closing prayers, like "it is truly meet", and then I'm done.  I have tried doing Jesus prayers, but for some reason it didn't seem to fit or feel right.  I think it's too advanced for me spiritually.

I have been told, however, that one doesn't reveal one's prayer rule to anyone but the spiritual father...but now I've broken that rule as well  ;D

Offline Thomas

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2006, 01:50:36 AM »
I teach an Orthopraxis Class in my parish.  If you would like the class notes on the Orthopraxis of Prayer PM me and I will send it to you in WORD format.

Your brother in Christ ,

Offline retzev

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2006, 12:21:46 PM »
coming from a Protestant background, I'm accustomed to opening my free-form prayers with "Heavenly Father.." and closing with " Christ's name we pray, Amen."

Is there a more Orthodox way of opening and closing free-form prayers?

Offline kansas city

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2006, 04:40:35 PM »
I am accustomed to that same manner of prayer.  However over the last couple of years the established prayers of the church have proven very beneficial to my praying from the heart throughout the day.  As well as the much too infrequent morning and evening prayers.  Typically going through my day I say some Jesus prayers, then whatever is concerning me or I'm especially thankful for, then close with in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Both now and ever... 

I also just realized you asked for a 'more Orthodox way,'  perhaps I should've left that response to someone better suited.

Offline Troldhaugen

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Re: When you pray...
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2006, 05:42:13 PM »
Thankyou all for your replies. I find it really interesting to hear how people pray.
"One must have only a little patience-and is it really so difficult? For every day that passes quietly I thank God"