Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is as necessary to our lives as the cup of coffee people 'need' to rise in the morning or the very air we breathe.
We must, for our inner being - our very souls, turn to God for all things. We must turn to God in times of happiness and times of sadness and whenever we are in need of anything. We must also rely upon His holy will and wait patiently - though this part can be extremely difficult in trying times. It's something I've personally struggled with often. But we must recognize that God alone knows all that we need and also WHEN we need it. We humans often think we know what's best for us and when and how these things should or should not take place in our lives but, realistically, we are merely human and we fall very short in this ability. God does not fall short. God knows all. He knows best.
In those times of personal struggle we need to pray more! Unfortunately, I don't always take my own advice...but am working to resolve this... Pray for patience, for strength, and for the discernment to know that God does know best and it is wonderful that He is the one in control.
People who are 'slothful' in prayer do harm to their souls - for without prayer you are departing from your relationship to God.
There are basically three types of prayers practiced by Orthodox Christians:
- Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise
- Prayers of Petition
- Prayers of Penitence
Praise and Thanksgiving prayers are given to God for the roofs over our heads, the food on our plates, the gloves that warm my fingers in these winter months and all of our blessings in which we are grateful.
Petitions are used I times of need, challenge and stress! With these prayers we are requesting help, guidance and blessings from God. Orthodox Christians also petition the saints to pray to God for us as well as our own prayers to our Lord much as we petition our friends here on earth to pray for us as well.
Penitential prayers are those in which we are repenting for our wrongs and asking God for His forgiveness. One such prayer that comes to mind is that of the Publican - short, but to the point - "God be merciful to me, a sinner".
The Lord's Prayer - often referred to as the "Our Father" is most important to everyone and should be prayed several times a day. The Lord Jesus Christ himself gave this prayer to His disciples when teaching them how to pray. I will address this prayer in an upcoming post! Until then, may God's blessings be with you all.