Prayers

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Prayers

The following text and the prayers contained in this section have been taken from "My Daily ORTHODOX Prayer Book, Classic Orthodox Prayers for Every Need" - 3rd Printing - compiled and edited by Anthony M. Coniaris, 2001.

The Orthodox Rule of Prayer

To dedicate a period of time each day to listening to Jesus, and to prayer, is to choose, as Mary did, "the better part," "the only thing needful". It means that we have realised that meeting God in prayer is the most important thing we can do each day. We read in the Bible that God would speak to Moses "face to face" (Exodus 33:11). What a wonderful thing it is for us, too, to develop this kind of intimacy with God whereby we speak to Him in prayer each day face to face. To remind yourself that it is indeed "face to face", place an icon of Christ before you as you pray.

The people of God whose prayers are recorded in the Bible and in the prayer books of the Church, seldom ever read a book on prayer, seldom ever went to a seminar on prayer, seldom ever heard a sermon on prayer. The just prayed! And the prayers of the Church are so important because the whole theology of what we believe about God is to be found in those prayers (lex credendi, lex orandi). What we believe is what we pray. And what we pray is what we believe. That is why the Church Fathers say that one who truly prays is a theologian. And a true theologian is one who prays.

Satan fears prayer because God hears prayer. Satan will stop at nothing to distract and discourage a person from prayer. If he succeeds at this, he separates us from our greatest source of power. This is why the Church Fathers keep stressing that to pray, a person must struggle to his last breath.

Power in Prayer

William Barclay has said that "in praying for those we love we must remember:

(1) the love of God that wants the best for them

(2) the wisdom of God that knows what is best for them; and

(3) the power of God that can accomplish it."

Mother Teresa was asked once why her sisters spent several hours a day praying in chapel instead of devoting that time to their work. Mother Teresa replied, "If my sisters were not in chapel praying two or three times a day, they would not go out into the streets of Calcutta at all."

Bishop Kallistos Ware wrote,

"Remember God more often than you breathe," says St. Gregory of Nazianzus (d.389). Prayer is more essential to us more an integral part of ourselves, than the rhythm of our breathing or the beating of our heart. Without prayer there is no life. Prayer is our nature. As human persons we are created for prayer just as we are created to speak and to think. The human animal is best defined, not as a logical or tool-making animal or an animal that laughs, but rather as an animal that prays, a Eucharistic animal, capable of offering the world back to God in thanksgiving and intercession."1

They Prayed...

Abraham prayed, and so long as he prayed God did not destroy the city of Sodom (Gen 18:20-23)

Elijah prayed, and God sent fire from heaven to consume the offering on the altar in order to show that He is the One True God (1 Kings 18:17-40)

Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was resurrected from the dead (2 Kings 4:17-37)


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