Wednesday, May 06, 2015

{Fr. Roman Braga} ~ advice on prayer for those who are married

First and foremost is the matter of prayer. You should realize that there is a great difference between Protestant and Orthodox beliefs about spiritual realization. Orthodoxy is not overly formalistic or legalistic; the accent is on living with Jesus Christ in your heart and feeling His presence at all times. Prayer doesn't mean you have to read a certain number of official prayers. The Phiokalic definition of prayer is the feeling of the presence of God in you heart, even if you don't say any words. You realize this state of prayer by a continue dialogue with our Lord.

St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing, which in practice is impossible. St. Paul was very busy traveling, writing, founding churches, and having to practice a specific profession to make his living. What he meant by that statement is that we should transform our whole life in a prayer; life becomes a liturgy, no matter what you are doing, if all is dedicated to God and to you neighbor.

No matter how busy you are, your dialogue with God should continue. Say the Jesus Prayer ("O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!"). The Holy Fathers say that this short exclamation can replace other forms of prayer when you don't have time to read them. You can say it within yourself while working in the office, driving you care, or even talking with other people. Or use you own words, conversing with God about your problems, you family and friends. In this way, you can blend prayer and daily chores without being frustrated that you didn't finish your formal rule of prayer.

Regarding the daily schedule of prayer, there is no specific rule for married people living in the world. It all depends on one's lifestyle, profession, and available time. The Holy Fathers composed large prayer books, services, and hymns to fill the whole life of Christians and the needs of all occasions. A monk can read most of them, but even in monastic life there [are] variations in schedules and obligations.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

This is so good and true!

A friend recently gave me a book called "Jesus Calling", written by a Protestant woman named Sarah Young. It's a daily devotional which tries to train you to remain in the presence of God all day. I would highly recommend it for any Protestant - it's very thoughtfully done.