Prayer Advice for Orthodox Christians
Prayer is an important part of the life of an Orthodox Christian. It is regularly incorporated into the Divine Liturgy and other church services. However, we are also called to pray on our own outside of church. This can feel overwhelming at times. Here is some advice that will help you develop a good prayer ritual:
What is Prayer?
At its most basic, prayer is how we communicate with God. However, it is so much more than that. This is where we can put our requests to Him, Praise Him, and offer thanksgiving for all that he has done for us. As part of the Orthodox Faith, Christians pray both as a community and individually.
Make the Sign of the Cross
Making the Sign of the Cross is an integral part of Orthodox prayer life. Placing the thumb, index finger, and middle finger together represents the Trinity. Then the individual touches their forehead, heart, right shoulder, and left shoulder. The Sign ends by placing his hand on his heart. Making the Sign of the Cross helps us acknowledge God’s presence and also honors Christ’s sacrifice that he made for us by dying on the cross. In a regular Orthodox prayer session, the Sign of the Cross is performed several times.
Recite the Lord’s Prayer
Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6 by telling us to recite the Lord’s Prayer. It also appears in Luke 11. According to Him, even though this prayer is simple, it is a shining example of how a good prayer is composed. As a result, most prayer sessions at least include the Lord’s Prayer. In addition, it is also an important part of the Divine Liturgy service. It is a simple prayer, but it is also a bold one because we are directly addressing God the Father in the opening phrase “Our Father”. Since this is how Jesus instructed us to pray, however, we should make it a point to say the prayer during all of our sessions.
Say the Jesus Prayer
This is the simplest Orthodox prayer but it is, perhaps, the most powerful. The prayer states, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Asking God for mercy is a powerful action and makes up the core of our relationship to God. As Christians, we should always strive to be more like Christ. Sin prevents us from achieving perfection. Therefore, we must always repent of our sins and ask for mercy. The Jesus prayer is simple, but it has a powerful message.
Develop Your Personal Prayer Life
In addition to praying as a community during church services, we should have an active, daily prayer life. Through prayer, we are able to stand before God and communicate with Him about everything that is happening in our lives. This is a time to ask for forgiveness, tell Him about our day, ask for His advice, and praise Him for all He has done for us. If you need guidance, you may want to ask your priest. He can recommend to you a good prayer book, which can point you in the right direction on how to structure your daily prayers. Prayer is an important part of being an Orthodox Christian.
Besides the advice given in this article, you can also use an Orthodox Christian prayer book to help you find specific prayers that you can say. It is a good idea to ask your priest or spiritual father advice on how you should pray and he also may recommend to you a good prayer book to use.
The Religion section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand some of the traditions of the Orthodox Christian religion, which is a religion practiced by people in countries such as Greece, Russia, United States, and other nations throughout the world. This article is not a substitute for information found in the Holy Bible or by our church fathers, priests, and other clergy members.
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