A morning of every Christian should always begin with prayer and thanksgiving to God for the past night. When we open an Orthodox prayer book, the first thing we read is morning prayers.
Generally speaking, prayer is one of the biggest virtues. Prayer brings us comfort when we need it the most, it helps us clear our minds of all darkness, negativity and worries. Orthodox Christians see prayer as a dialogue with the Lord, a conversation with the loving Heavenly Father.
Those who are just starting to explore the world of Orthodoxy often get intimidated and overwhelmed, not knowing where to start when it comes to prayer. It is a good practice to start by talking to God throughout the day, “Lord, bless me to start the day right”, “Heavenly Father, I feel anxious. Please help me”, “Lord, I just met such a kind-hearted person. Thank you so much for this acquaintance!"
Together with this kind of everyday prayer, the Orthodox Christians take 15 to 30 minutes out of their day every morning and evening to spend time with God. In order to make it easier for us to find the right words to say, there is a set Prayer Rule. It consists of Morning and Evening Prayers.
We always remember that prayer is much more than just an obligatory everyday ritual. However, some people question the necessity to read the morning and evening prayers every day. They claim that limiting our prayer rule by the daily reading of the morning prayers creates the effect of monotony. It can negatively affect our attention to prayer. And there is some truth in these words.
Still, many people are mistakenly convinced that prayer should be a matter of desire only, and it is one of the biggest misconceptions existing in church today. The fact of the matter is that because it is difficult for them to pray regularly, they pray occasionally from time to time. We cannot deny that this makes sense, because it generally isn’t easy to pray, and it seems to be a very good excuse.
In reality, self-compulsion is the basis of prayer. We should ask ourselves honestly, “How often do I feel the desire to pray?" The honest answer to this would be “Not very often”. If we turned to God only when we had the desire, we would probably pray, at best, once every couple of months. This is why besides turning to God and showing gratitude for the day, the importance of the morning prayer rule is the “rule” part. It is important that the prayer enters our life and becomes its integral part.
We want to present you our new video with Morning Prayers on YouTube that will come out this Thursday. All the prayers and chants here are in English. Apart from the well-known psalms, the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, it contains many beautiful prayers written by the Church Fathers. We want the words of these prayers to find their way into your hearts, become your own words and make you concentrate on the moment. So, join us during the premiere of this video on September 30 at 6 pm (Moscow time), 3 pm (GMT), 8 am (PST), 11 am (EST).