According to the holy fathers, prayer is the mother of all virtues. This is the only way we communicate with the Almighty. A distinctive feature of Christianity is that the Lord Jesus Christ is perceived as a Living God, as a Person who can always be addressed and who will certainly hear.
God appeared to people through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and it is through Christ that we discover Him for ourselves. Such a discovery is possible only through prayer.
Important! Prayer is an available instrument of unity with God.
In the ordinary sense, prayer is often considered either a kind of mystical conspiracy, or a way to beg God for something necessary in earthly life. Both that, and other understanding are fundamentally wrong. Holy Fathers often write that during an appeal to the Lord it is best not to ask for anything at all, but simply to stand before Him and repent of one's sins.
Read about penitential prayers:
The purpose of the Orthodox prayer is to establish a spiritual connection with the Almighty, to feel Him in your heart. The Lord knows all our needs and requirements; he can satisfy them even without our request. Of course, it is not forbidden to ask God for any necessary worldly goods, but you can not focus on such an attitude and make it a goal.
Many primitive Christians often wonder why pray, if the Lord himself knows everything we need. This is true, and many saints in their appeals to God did not ask for anything earthly at all. Appeal to the Almighty is not necessary in order to get something desired. The main goal is to unite with God, to be with Him every moment of your life.
Forgiveness in Prayer
To pray for your sins in front of other people, you must attend church services. This is done in order to receive the main thing from the Almighty - the forgiveness of sins and the indulgence of grace through confession.
The Lord forgives sins to those who show unshakable faith in the absence of evil thoughts.
Every day, a person living in this busy world commits a large number of sins for various reasons and circumstances. This is mainly due to weak willpower. The struggle between good and evil never stops in the hearts of people.
In order for He to hear the prayer, one must rely on the postulate, which states that it is from the heart that evil thoughts emanating from a person come from. Sinful thoughts are generated deep in the subconscious, and then they flow into bad actions.
Before praying to God, it is important to understand that the main thing in prayer is the result, which is the long-awaited deliverance from sin. A person must realize that he has committed a bad deed. Then he must admit his guilt and no longer repeat the deed.
Faith in the mercy of God will entail forgiveness if a person laments and repents of all that he has done.
To show the sincerity of your requests for forgiveness for bad deeds, you need to give alms to those in need. Thus, compassion and mercy for the sick and impoverished sufferers are manifested.
Another way is prayer, which helps free the soul from sin. It must come from the heart. Pray with sincere repentance, and God will forgive.
The saving power of prayer
Before repenting, the sinner needs reconciliation with his enemies. In this difficult matter, the icon of the Virgin, called the "Seven-shot", helps a lot.
Three common prayers will help the penitent:
- Repentance and forgiveness.
- Forgiveness of insults.
- Prayer to God for forgiveness.
You can look at heaven and pray to God, if that is what pleases the prayer for the purity and sincerity of his words. The Lord was crucified on the Cross, thus performing the act of forgiveness of all people.
How to start praying
Those who are just embarking on the path of churching are interested in the question of how to pray to God. Many people ask whether it is better to do this by book or in your own words.
Modern theologians have the opinion that a person who is just starting to pray should do it in his own words. Indeed, for him, the canonical sentences and phrases found in prayer books will be largely incomprehensible.
Prayer must be non-standard and sincere. As soon as they begin to soullessly read what is written, a feeling of form, rather than content, may immediately arise, but nobody needs it.
It is important to know that prayer can even discredit a person. This is one of the greatest dangers that are present not only for beginners. It turns out that sometimes those people who spend most of their lives in the temple of God begin to reproduce prayer as a kind of standard form, which is given in church books. As a result, they get a set of words, because there is no sincere appeal to God - rational, conscious and attentive.
We often hear that we need to pray more often. But do not forget about the very simple thing that prayer books (people who ask God for others) ascended to Heaven. They died, sinking to the very bottom of hell.
What is the correct prayer according to the teachings of the holy fathers? This was splendidly set forth in his works by St. Ignatius Brianchaninov. A person who considers himself an Orthodox believer must have books related to God. This is necessary in order to more often cast a glance at them and receive reproaches of conscience, which will make us at least sometimes open and read these pages.
The teachings of Brianchaninov should be studied and tried to read at one time not one hundred pages, but two or three pages. Such exercises do edification to the mind, heart, and soul.
Reading with attention
Ignatius Brianchaninov teaches us that prayer is considered correct only when it is performed with reverent attention. If you turn to God, thinking about another person, this is an insult to our Lord. Prayer does not need to chatter. Reading requires attention and repentance. Where there are no these three components, there can be no benefit, there is only harm. They don’t even talk to a person like that.
God does not only listen to words. He understands the thoughts of those who turn to him. No need to try to hide something from Him. You can not arrange a certain theatrical performance (screaming, sobbing). God will hear silent and sincere prayer.
People who tried to portray repentance and humility, which they did not feel, then fell into pride and vanity.
An amazing incident is known that happened to the seraphim of the Glinsky desert. Once a familiar monk came to him and said: "Father, I have unceasing prayer." To this, Father Seraphim replied: “You should remember that you have no prayer. You're just used to certain words, like others get used to swearing. ”
Full attention before God
Many people have a logical question about how to pray to God. Before whom to read prayers, if no one is visible? Here it is necessary to decide who we are addressing to, God or some kind of soulless force, before which we must read out words that are incomprehensible to us. In the second case, there is no prayer. A person simply does this out of habit.
Therefore, some confessors say that it is better to read fewer prayers, but with attention. If it is difficult to focus on a long time, you need to determine for yourself any interval, for example, 15 minutes. In order not to be distracted by the clock, you can set an alarm clock and with attention and reverence to do your pious work. If a person during this time was able to read only one prayer, this is not scary. The main thing is that he turned to God.
Experienced people say that you can pray in any position and in any place. This must always be done as soon as I think of God. After all, no one is stopping us from saying a short Jesus prayer: "Lord, have mercy." Some of us say these words many times a day, without giving them much meaning.
We pray a lot and ask God for help in our needs and illnesses, so that he will quickly save us from all misfortunes. However, when turning to God, it is very important to show your faith and say: “Lord, You are Wisdom and Love. You love me like no one else. You know, what i want. Thy will be done, not mine. ”
The danger of prayer
The Lord, seeing the attention and reverence with which a person relates to Him, will surely give him help and spiritual support.
Some people live for decades, but receive nothing from God. You can continuously go to the temple and read prayers, but forget about the above conditions, depriving yourself of the mercy and gifts of God. It is very important. It is necessary to accept the conditions described above, since they are extremely necessary.
It should also be noted the fact that many from wrong prayers go crazy, fall into pride.
How to pray to God at home
On how to turn to the Lord, Isaac the Syrian writes the following: “Do not be reckless in your petitions, so as not to anger God, asking the King of the Kings for anything worthless. This humiliates Him. Thirsty for perishable earthly goods arouses indignation against the King of heaven. ”
Many are also interested in how to pray at home so that God hears and forgives. People ask if it is necessary to do this through prayer. Some ministers of the church believe that this is not so important.
Prayer in your home can be perceived as homework at school, which you must complete yourself. Only then will he be a good judge.
You can pray in your own words. Some recommend that you follow the rule with Seraphim of Sarov, which consists in reading the prayers “Our Father” (three times), “Hail Mary” (three times), and “Symbol of Faith” (once) in the morning and evening.
This is part of the answer to the question about how to properly pray to God at home.
Canons and creativity
That morning and evening prayer rule that we have came to us from the Middle Ages. In those days, it was composed by ascetic monks. It included texts of appeals to God from various collections. Monks used to wake up to prayer at midnight. She was called a midnight office. Now it is morning.
The proposed Orthodox collection of morning and evening prayers is very successful, but you need to understand that it is only recommended, and not mandatory. Repeating the same sentences can get bored if you do this day after day, year after year. Then a person will stop making appeals to God sincerely. To prevent this from happening, the rule can be slightly diluted.
In answer to the question of how to pray to God at home, I would like to add that many reverend fathers offered to be creative about this action. Prayer is not just a proofreading of some church rules. This is a conversation with God. We should be in that attitude. Then no one will say: "I pray to God that he will help me, but He does not hear me."
Warmth of heart
Before reading the prayer, you need to get up and be silent for a while. When all extraneous thoughts and feelings subside, you need to introduce yourself in the face of God, cross yourself and begin with the words: “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen".
After that, we say the initial prayers: “Glory to you, Lord” and “King of Heaven.” Not everyone knows them by heart, so you can use the book.
How to pray that God will hear the prayer? You can read small fragments from evening or morning rules. At the same time, you should try to reflect on every word.
When our heart warms even a little, we will want to stop and pray in our own words, rejoice, cry, thank the Lord. The rules of prayer are not to be read out, but to warm the heart with the warmth of prayer.
It is for this purpose that collections were created, which included the works of the church liturgical heritage. They include the prayers of John Chrysostom, Basil the Great and Macarius the Great.
Just talk with the Lord, speak in your own words, read the canons or akathists of the saints glorified in the face - Xenia the Blessed, Tryphon of Spiridon, John of Kronstadt, John of Russia and others.
During the existence of man on earth, prayer became necessary to receive grace from God through which the character of man can change. He becomes mentally rich and strong, persistent and courageous. He begins to be kinder to people around him, may not allow another to commit a sinful act, tell about the nature of the origin of good and evil, show how to do reasonable things.
When exactly can I pray?
The Bible contains the words of the Apostle Paul, who calls us to constant prayer. John the Theologian argues that you need to turn to Christ even more often than take a breath. Thus, the ideal is when all human life turns into a constant appearance before the Lord.
It is safe to say that many troubles stemmed precisely from the fact that a person forgot about the All-Seeing Lord. It is difficult to imagine a criminal committing a crime with the thought of Jesus crucified for his sins.
Important! Man falls under the influence of sin precisely when he loses the memory of God.
Since modern people do not have the opportunity to be in prayer all day, you need to find a certain time for it. So, waking up in the morning, even the busiest person can find a couple of minutes to stand in front of the icons and ask the Lord for blessings for the new day. During the day, you can repeat silent prayers to the Mother of God, the Lord, your Guardian Angel. You can do this to yourself, completely invisible to others.
A special time is before bedtime. It is then that we need to look at the day we have lived, to draw conclusions about how spiritually it was carried out, in which we sinned. Prayer before bedtime calms, eliminates the hustle and bustle of the past day, sets up a quiet peaceful sleep. We must not forget to thank the Lord for all the good deeds during the day and for the fact that he was lived by us.
It may seem to a beginner that such a job requires a lot of time, and now everyone is in short supply. In fact, no matter how fast the pace of our lives is, there are always pauses in it to recall God. Waiting for vehicles, lines, traffic jams and much more can be turned from annoying factors when we raise our mind to Heaven.
What should be the words of prayer for God to hear?
A common reason people don’t want to turn to God is not knowing the prayers or not understanding complex church texts. In fact, for the Lord to hear us, He does not need any words at all. In the practice of church services, the Church Slavonic language is used, and the rite of service is strictly defined. However, at home, in your personal prayer, you can use completely different texts.
Words themselves do not have a definitive meaning; these are not magical conspiracies or spells. The basis of the prayer that God hears is the pure and open heart of man, directed towards Him. Therefore, personal prayer can be characterized by such signs:
It is very important during prayer not to scatter attention to the sides, but to focus it on the spoken. This is not so easy to do, so at the beginning of the Christian life you can choose a few short prayers that you can read with maximum attention, without being distracted by anything outside. Over time, acquiring a skill, you can constantly expand and increase the rule.
Interesting! In the Gospel we see the image of a tax collector who has saved his soul, the prayer of which was extremely short: "God, be merciful to me a sinner."
Of course, there is a basic list of prayers that everyone who considers himself an Orthodox Christian should know by heart. This is at least “Our Father”, “I Believe”, “Theotokos, Virgin, Rejoice ...”, Jesus Prayer. Knowing these texts as a keepsake, one can call the Heavenly Forces in any situation.
11. PRAYER FOR THE NEARBY
We must pray not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors. Every morning and every evening, as well as being in church, we must remember our relatives, relatives, friends, enemies, and for all we offer prayer to God. This is very important, because people are connected by an inextricable bond, and often the prayer of one person for another saves another from great danger.
In the life of St. Gregory the Theologian there was such a case. When he was still a young man, unbaptized, he crossed the Mediterranean Sea on a ship. Suddenly a severe storm began, which lasted many days, and no one had any hope of salvation, the ship was almost flooded. Gregory prayed to God and during the prayer he saw his mother, who at that time was on the shore, but as it turned out later, she felt danger and prayed intensely for her son. The ship, contrary to all expectations, safely reached the shore. Gregory always remembered that his deliverance was due to the prayers of his mother.
Someone may say: “Well, another story from the life of ancient saints. Why doesn’t this happen today? ”I can assure you what is happening today. I know many people who, through the prayers of their loved ones, were saved from death or great danger. And in my life there were many cases when I avoided danger through the prayers of my mother or other people, for example, my parishioners.
Однажды я попал в автомобильную катастрофу и, можно сказать, чудом остался в живых, потому что машина свалилась в обрыв, несколько раз перевернувшись. От машины ничего не осталось, но мы с водителем были целы и невредимы. Произошло это ранним утром, около пяти часов. When I returned to the church on the evening of the same day where I served, I found there several parishioners who woke up at half past four in the morning, sensing danger, and began to pray for me. Their first question was: “Father, what happened to you?” I think that through their prayers both I and the man who was driving were saved from trouble.
We must pray for our neighbors not because God does not know how to save them, but because He wants us to participate in the salvation of each other. Of course, He Himself knows what every person needs - both us and our neighbors. When we pray for our neighbors, this does not mean that we want to be more merciful than God. But this means that we want to participate in their salvation. And we must not forget in prayer about the people with whom life has brought us together and that they are praying for us. Each of us, going to bed in the evening, can say to God: “Lord
Why do you need a prayer rule
If the Most High does not need words, then the question arises, why did the prayer rules and prepared texts generally come up, moreover, are often long and complex? The Holy Fathers say that this is a payment for our repentance and hardness of heart.
If a person could utter the shortest prayer “Lord have mercy” from the bottom of his heart, he would already be saved. But the fact is, we cannot pray so sincerely. And a person really needs constancy and a special schedule of prayer.
A rule of prayer is a list of texts that a person reads regularly. Most often, the rules are taken from prayer books, but you can also choose an individual list for each person. It is advisable to coordinate the list with a spiritual father or at least a priest who can give useful advice.
About some prayer rules:
Observance of the prayer rule helps a person organize himself, build a life more clearly, planned. The rule will not always be easy, the bustle of everyday life often leads to laziness, fatigue, and unwillingness to pray. In this case, you need to try to overpower yourself, force.
Important! There are words in the Gospel that the Kingdom of God is taken by force - we are not talking about physical strength, but about efforts to change our own lives and old habits.
You need to choose a rule wisely, taking into account your spiritual abilities. If the new Christian is given obedience to reading too long a rule, this will quickly lead to fatigue, boredom, and inattention. A person will start either mechanically reading the texts, or completely abandon such an occupation.
On the other hand, it is not useless for a long-baptized person to impose too small and short a rule on himself, as this will lead to relaxation in spiritual life. Whatever your rule, you should never forget that the main condition for prayer that God hears is the sincere arrangement of the heart of the person who prays.
What is the difference between home and church prayer
Since the Orthodox Christian is called to pray constantly and can do this almost anywhere, many people have a question why they should pray in the church. There is a certain difference between church prayer and personal prayer.
The Church was founded by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, therefore, since ancient times, Orthodox Christians gathered in communities to glorify the Lord. Church cathedral prayer is very powerful, and there are many testimonies of believers about gracious help after serving in the Church.
Church communication presupposes obligatory participation in divine services. How to pray for God to hear? To do this, you need to come to the temple and try to understand the essence of worship. At first it may seem complicated, but over time, everything will become clear. In addition, special books are published to help the novice Christian, explaining everything that happens in the church. You can buy them in the icon shop.
Prayer by agreement - what is it?
In addition to the usual personal and church prayers in the practice of the Orthodox Church, there is the concept of prayer by agreement. Its essence lies in the fact that at the same time, different people read the same appeal to God or a saint. At the same time, people can be located in completely different parts of the world - it is not at all necessary to get together.
Most often, this is done to help someone in extremely difficult or difficult life situations. For example, in severe illnesses of a person, his relatives can unite and together ask the Lord to grant healing to the suffering person. The power of such an appeal is great, because, according to the Lord himself, "Where two or three have gathered in My name, there I am among them."
On the other hand, it is impossible to consider such an appeal to the Almighty as a kind of ritual or a way of fulfilling desires. As already mentioned, the Lord knows all our needs perfectly, and if we ask for something, we must do it with the hope of His holy will. Sometimes it happens that prayer does not bear the expected fruit for one simple reason - a person asks for something that is extremely unprofitable for his soul. In this case, it may seem that God is not responding to the request. In fact, this is not so - God will certainly send us something that will benefit.