Pray Without Ceasing

Still coasting along on material from the Orthodox Young Professionals Conference – woot woot! 😀 I was too into the speakers to remember to take good notes, but I did write down a few things in our handy booklet. It looks like they are mostly notes from Archdeacon Saed’s comments about how to pray without ceasing.

"Prayer is a request for what is good, offered by the devout of God." St Basil the Great | Orthodox Quotes at Orthodox and Vegan
I have Matthew 5:16 written at the top of my notes:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Of course our actions are very important. I think of it as our prayers being the seeds that grow into the fruit of our actions. We start by praying with our mouth so the words might enter our heart, and from there flow into our whole being. “We pray so that God can help us to become more like Him in our actions.” So praying with words is the starting point. Here are Archdeacon Saed’s [paraphrased] tips for

Establishing a Rule of Prayer

1. Be realistic. Start small to ensure it’s something you can really keep up with every day. You can always add more later.

2. Be regular. Praying at the same time every day, for example when you first wake up or before a meal, will help you make it a habit.

3. Establish a place. Set up a prayer corner in your home, someplace where you can have a little privacy.

4. Sit quietly before you start, “Be still and know that I am God.” Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and give your mind a chance to focus.

5. It may be easier to start with structured prayers. Use a small Orthodox prayer book that you can keep in your pocket or purse, or keep a photocopy of a certain prayer you’d like to say regularly.

I have to be honest, my prayer life isn’t so great right now, so I’m definitely planning to make use of these tips. Below is one of my favorite morning prayers, good words to start the day with.

The Morning Prayer of St. Philaret of Moscow
O Lord, grant that I may meet the coming day in peace.
Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will.
In each hour of the day reveal Your will to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surround me.
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul, and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all.
In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings.
In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.
Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will.
Teach me to pray.
Pray within me.