In the temple everything is relatively clear, and if not, there are always those who will prompt. And how is it right, when and what saints to pray at home? Read in our material…
“Prayer is a great weapon, a great treasure, a wealth never inexhaustible, a pier serene, a foundation of peace; prayer is the root, the source and mother of countless blessings and mightier than royal power” – this is how the great theologian John Chrysostom wrote about prayer. Certainly, it is necessary to draw from this source constantly, wherever the person is. But how correctly to pray at home, where there are no priests and iconostasis, as in the temple?
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Why should one pray at home?
We come to the temple to pray to the Lord, the Mother of God and the saints. There are their faces, there priests serve liturgies, everything is clear there. But often, coming out of the church, we immediately plunge into the worldly bustle and the solemn atmosphere of the temple will seem something distant, just a beautiful dream. And the presence of God is not so felt anymore, because it is much easier to pray in front of images, as if you talk, so to speak, face to face.
But the Lord sees and hears us wherever we are and whatever we do, and it does not matter to Him whether we stand before an icon or prepare dinner at home. So do not hesitate to always talk to Him: if you want to complain about your fate, tell God about your problems, a joyful event has happened in your life – thank Him, you have some need – tell Him your request. It is said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you; for every beggar receives, and seeker finds, and it will be opened to him who knocks” (Matthew 7:7).
For a believer, prayer is a natural state and need to communicate with God. While we are on the street or at work, we are constantly distracted by some affairs and concerns, but at home – in the morning and evening – you can relax from the day’s hustle and bustle and quietly communicate with God and the saints. Remember what good has happened during the day and thank for it or think about what you have sinned and ask for forgiveness, sincerely repenting. And do not hesitate, you will be heard.
How to pray to God correctly.
“But thou, when thou prayest, go down into thy cell, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, and in secret: and thy Father, when thou hast seen in secret, shall reward thee with revelation” (Matthew 6:6).
Think of yourself as a child. You came to your parents and asked them for something, firmly believing and knowing that they will help, protect and never turn away from you. Or apologize for some of your transgressions, too, with no doubt that parental love will forgive everything. And if fathers and mothers love us so much, how much more is the love of heaven!
But still, as in ordinary communication, in prayer we must adhere to certain norms.
First, it is necessary to follow the morning and evening prayer rule as much as possible (we will talk more about this below). Second, prayer should not be “for the tick”. It is possible to know by heart dozens of texts, but each time to drum them without thinking about the meaning. Prayer is not a spell, but a meaningful conversation with God. But who will like the interlocutor, who is somewhere far away in his thoughts, and who answers the questions distractedly?
Prayers themselves should be taken from proven sources, preferably from special prayer books, bought in church shops. The Internet for this purpose is extremely unreliable, there is a lot of unknown written texts with a lot of gross dogmatic violations, while any prayer from the Orthodox prayers always has an author.
It is worth avoiding all sorts of excessive emotional states during prayer: euphoria, tenderness. All this belongs to the category of charm – it does not benefit the soul, but vanity can wake up: they say that I have already reached a high level of enlightenment, you might say, almost holy.
It is not only morning and evening that one has to pray, but also, if possible, before eating and before doing anything. In the first case, it is thanks to God that we do not starve, and in the second case, it is a request for help in your endeavor.
But if we talk about the obligatory execution of all prayer rules, then the opinions of the holy fathers are different. Some insist that prayer is obligatory, because it also disciplines the person, and others believe that if there is no possibility to read a three-dimensional rule at all, nothing will happen. The main thing is not to abuse it and every time not to look for reasons not to pray.
It is possible to read prayers both aloud and for yourself – who is more comfortable. It is best to do this before the icons that any believer has. It is good if there is a red corner in the house – the place where the images hang and the lamp lights up.
How to pray to the saints
In any church shop or Orthodox bookstore you can buy collections of prayers with the Akathists of various saints. Which one of them to pray to?
First of all, to that saint, whose memory falls on this day, as well as to his heavenly patron, whose name you bear or whom you honor especially. But the question about the “specialty” of saints is quite controversial.
Knowledge of the lives of saints helps to find out which of them did what in life. For example, it is customary for healers to pray for their health. However, this is rather an exception than a rule, because our celestial advocates have no “professional” specialization. And the popular belief that this one helps to marry, and that one over there – it is profitable to sell the car – is nothing more than the heritage of pagan consciousness, when it was believed that different idols are responsible for different needs and phenomena.
What prayers should be read in the morning…
There is such a notion as “morning prayer rule”. It can be found in any Orthodox prayer book. However, worldly vanity does not always leave us enough time for it, so we can limit ourselves to 3-4 prayers, but they should be read consciously and not distracted by outside thoughts. Of course, this list should include the main prayer of any Christian, “Our Father”, as well as “Virgin Mary, Rejoice” and “Symbol of Faith”. It is also very good to learn by heart the prayer of the Optina elders, especially since it is written not in Church Slavonic, but in modern Russian, and every line of it is an instruction for us, modern people, on how to live the coming day with maximum benefit to the soul and body.
And, of course, the best defense for a Christian is psalms. Choose for yourself a few of those to which the soul lies most, learn them by heart and read them every morning.
And if you don’t have time to pray at home, the Fathers allow you to listen to them on the record, for example, on your way to work.
What prayers should you read in the evening…
By analogy with the morning rule, there is an evening rule, which can also be found in any Orthodox prayer. As in the morning, if there is no strength to read it in full, you can choose a few prayers closest to the heart, the main thing is that they are read thoughtfully. And already asleep, it is good to create a short mental prayer: “In Thy hand, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, I commit my spirit; but bless me, have mercy on me, and give me eternal belly. Amen.”
How is it right to pray for healing
We’ve already touched on this topic a little bit above. There is no direct “professional specialization” for saints, but it is customary to ask for healing of bodily ailments to those who have also been involved in healing during their lives. These are Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon the Healer, the saints Cosmas and Damian, Saint Evangelist Luke, Saint Luke of Crimea and others. There are collections of prayers with the Akathists this saint, their image hangs in every temple, in many cities there are particles of their relics.
However, this does not mean that with prayers for healing can not address other saints. Any one of them is prepared to listen to our requests and convey them to the Lord. Thus, we know hundreds of cases of healing through the prayers of St. Matron of Moscow, St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and most importantly – to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Mother of God. One only has to ask with faith and hope that God will help. And also it is always necessary to understand that even diseases happen to us by His will and only for our benefit. Therefore we should never murmur on God, no matter what happens, but always thank Him. Even for sicknesses and sorrows.
How is it right to pray for the deceased
Unlike us, the living, who still have a chance to repent and make up for what we have done for life, those who have left this world have to hope for the grace of God and our intercession for them. That is why it is so important to pray for the deceased, for we are their only helpers.
In addition to commissioned prayers, proskomidias, and candles for rest in the temple, which should not be neglected in any way, we must of course pray for the dead every day and at home. You can include a restful prayer for loved ones and benefactors in the morning and evening rule.
Popular questions and answers
Why pray to the saints when you can go directly to God?
– Of course they can and must. But saints are our walkers before Him, those who, unlike us, are always near God and can always ask for us. After all, they are not prevented by sins, which we are overly burdened with.
Which prayers are the most effective?
– All prayers, if they are approved by the Church, are equally acceptable to God, and everyone chooses those that are closer and more understandable. Of course, it is necessary to know “Our Father” and Jesus’ prayer, besides, psalms have powerful power. For example, to protect us from all evil, we read Psalm 90 “Living in Help”, but that doesn’t mean that other prayers are weaker.
Is it possible to ask God to punish the offender?
– No, prayer should never be directed at causing evil to someone else, even if you think they have done it themselves. You can only pray for the salvation of this person’s soul.
If you want something very much, should you repeat your request in prayer every day?
– It is enough just to formulate your wish once, but not to demand its fulfillment from God and not to set any conditions. He has heard and remembered our request, but he will fulfill it only if it will benefit us.
Why ask God for anything, if He already sees everything and knows everything about us? And in general, why does God need our prayer?
– We need prayer first of all as a “phone”, on which we talk to God. Of course, He knows all our needs, but the request in prayer is an act of good will, a declaration that we expect only from God and rely on him.
Know more: What is the use of praying?
How often should we pray at home
Ideally, the more the better. Holy ascetics generally took as a rule to pray all the time, but we, the lay people, with our heads immersed in life and care, such grace rarely achieve. Therefore, it is good if everyone prays in the morning and evening, as well as before eating and before starting any business. And when doing household chores, it is useful to repeat Jesus’ prayer, which will sanctify everything that we do: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me sinful (sinful).
How do you pray at home before an icon
Icons are in the house of any Orthodox person. As a rule, they hang on the wall or stand on shelves. And when we want to pray to a saint, it is most convenient to do it before his image, so to speak, looking into his eyes. Icons are designed so that we do not imagine something in our minds (by the way, many priests do not recommend praying with their eyes closed, so as not to fall into the charm), but to see the one we pray to.
Often you can hear from atheists and followers of other Christian denominations that we, the Orthodox, worship the boards with portraits. But, of course, it is not so at all, and here we can make such a comparison. Let’s say a girl carries a picture of her lover. Often she looks at this photo and even kisses him. But does she kiss a piece of paper in the process? Of course she doesn’t. In this way, the girl expresses her love for whoever’s depicted on that piece of paper. It’s the same with icons. We do not pray to the boards, but to those who are depicted on them and, agree, by looking at the faces, it is easier to do.
In front of the icon it is best to pray standing or kneeling down, putting your hands on your chest crosswise, at the end of each prayer to bow and overwhelm yourself with a sign of the cross. Prayers should be chosen according to the person to whom they are addressed.
Is it possible to pray at home in your own words…
Undoubtedly, it is possible, because prayer is not a magic set of words, but our spiritual impulse, live communion with God. However, prayer with its words should not replace reading of already existing prayers, which are necessary to guide us in how and what to say to God correctly.
As for the prayer with his words, St. Nicodemus advises to divide it into 4 parts: the glorification of God, gratitude to Him for all that He gives us, repentance of our sins and only after that to formulate his request.
The word of Father.
Father Igor (Silchenkov), rector of the Church of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the village Rybachy of Alushta deity Simferopol and the Crimean diocese of the ROC MP says about how to pray properly at home, so: “To do the prayers should be morning and evening. The sign of the Cross can be imposed on itself arbitrarily, whenever you want, for example, after each prayer. It is better to pray standing in front of holy images if possible, because it says in Holy Scripture, “Present yourself to God”, not sit down or lie down. That is why people stand in church during the prayer, and sit down only when they are very tired, due to senile weakness or illness.
It is not necessary to make ablutions before prayer, because for God the purity of our body is important, not our heart. It is necessary to concentrate on prayer spiritually, putting aside worldly thoughts and vain thoughts, and to appear before God like a burning candle, listening to every word of prayer. Pass it through your heart and mind, and try to experience all those words that you say.
It is necessary to remember that the main meaning of home prayer is repentance of your sins and receiving forgiveness from God. He who repents a lot, God forgives a lot. But who will be forgiven much, he will love much, it is said in the Holy Scriptures. And love is the main goal of our Christian life. Love is salvation and eternal life. That is why the carefulness of prayer and its frequency is so important.