Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prayer Rule

I've been reading various books on Orthodox spirituality recently, trying to establish some kind of regular devotional life. One of the books prescribed this:
1. Read a minimum of one psalm vocally.
2. Read a minimum of one chapter from the Gospels
3. Read a minimum of one chapter from the Acts, Epistles or Revelations
4. Read the daily prayers from an Orthodox prayer book, vocally or silently.
5. Read at least a page from a book of Orthodox spiritual instruction silently.
6. Read at least a page from the life of a saint silently.
7. In your own words, ask for help from God, His Holy Mother, your guardian angel and your saint.

The idea is that by "washing" your soul in prayer, Scripture, and godly instruction you can develop a relationship to God and gradually remove the destructive tendencies and sin that clutter and impede your life.

I'm afraid however that even such a simple prayer rule would be too much for me at this point. So using the above prescription as a starting point, this is my plan.
1. Daily morning, noon and evening prayer using the Divine Hours book of prayers.
2. Read the daily lectionary readings of a gospel passage and an epistle passage. The Orthodox calendar that I received from the church has a listing for each day. On weekdays, I can listen to The Path podcast on the way to work which is a reading of the day's Scriptures.
3. Read a page of a book about Orthodox spirituality.
4. Daily ask for help to be faithful from God and His mother .

I'm also going to run this plan by my priest to see what he thinks.


Meg said...

I'll be interested to know what your priest says -- that does look like a lot to me.

Nancy said...

That's what I thought too. My usual M.O. is to bite off more than I can chew and then burn out! Want to stop doing that.

Margi (juliansdaughter) said...

I only pray the Jesus Prayer and read the Gospels (as a prayer rule) but I've found the most important thing is to be standing at my ikons with the candles lit. I know one can pray anywhere and everywhere but the ritual of standing in a special place, in candlelight, looking at the saints is, for me, like grounding in heaven.

Nancy said...

I have yet to set up a prayer corner mainly because said corner is piled with mail. And I don't have any icons...yet. But I like your prayer rule. Nice & simple.

Karen said...

Hi Nancy! Glory to Jesus Christ!What a lovely blog.

Do you have a prayer corner set up in your home? If so, try just saying basic prayers in the morning and in the evening, as well as whenever you feel the need during the day.

The Jesus Prayer is a very helpful tool also.

I think the important thing is not to try to overdo it at first, or to expect spiritual "highs." They are fe and far between..

Elizabeth said...

I agree that the initial prayer rule is way too much *unless* you have been specifically advised to do so by your own priest. He will be able to judge where on your spiritual journey you are, and what would be beneficial for you.

My priest told me the absolute daily minimum was the block of Trisagion prayers that start most Orthodox prayer books :-)

Nancy said...

This weekend I set up a prayer corner and that has helped. I'm doing ok in the evening but its hit and miss in the mornings...too much distraction I think.