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Should Orthodox pray prewritten prayers? Or make up their own prayers?

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by Northbrook, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Northbrook

    Northbrook No sé vivir sin Dios

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    Hi, my name is Lambrini, and I would like to know your thoughts on the WORDS Orthodox Christians should use when they pray. Do you believe they should pray prewritten prayers? Like from an Orthodox prayer book? Or do you believe they should make up their own prayers? Like, say whatever they feel, in conversation with God?
     
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    do both, the prayers of the Church will help keep personal prayers from getting weird.
     
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  3. Doug Melven

    Doug Melven Well-Known Member

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with prewritten prayers.
    Many times I pray verses in the Bible.
    But, if you are just reciting words, don't bother as that is not prayer.
    God knows what is in your heart.
     
  4. Lost4words

    Lost4words In reality, an old dog! Supporter

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    Written prayers can keep you focused. Plus, many worthy written prayers have been penned over the centuries.

    Are there not written prayers in the Bible?
     
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  5. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    As Fr. Matt said - do both.

    The prayers of the Church are for our benefit. They teach us and shape us and give eloquence beyond our own to express our heart to God. Of course we should pay attention and pray them, not merely read or recite.

    But there is also certainly a place for expressing ourselves to God in our own words, and this is necessary as well.

    Both can become a part of your regular prayer life.
     
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  6. Philip_B

    Philip_B all shall be well and all shall be well and ... Supporter

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    The Prayer of St Aidan
    Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
    As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,
    Make me an island, set apart,
    alone with you, God, holy to you.

    Then with the turning of the tide
    prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond,
    the world that rushes in on me
    till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

    Aidan of Lindisfarne
     
  7. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Not orthodox, but with the brothers' permission:

    In Luke 4.16 it says our Lord entered a synagogue "as was His custom." Synagogue prayers were all pre written, and He used the framework of the Kaddish and Alenu prayers penned in the previous century to form the "Lord's Prayer" aka the "Our Father."

    He recited standard prayers. He is our example.
     
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  8. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I was just thinking not only this, but He prayed extemporaneous prayers too, such as when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

    Our example truly. And He prayed both ways.
     
  9. nutroll

    nutroll Veteran

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    I agree with what many others have said, we learn by doing, and so we may start with prayers that are written for us, but that should not be the end to our prayer life. We return to those prayers time and again, and they become imprinted on our hearts over time, they teach us to pray. That is why I have to disagree with the above statement. We should never be satisfied with just reciting words, but when we don't feel like praying for whatever reason, we should still return to the prayers dutifully, not so that we can live a life of heartless prayer, but so that we can soften our hearts and allow the prayer to sink down from our mouths and into our hearts. We learn to pray by praying, and sometimes it is more words than heart and sometimes it is more heart than words, but we should never stop praying.
     
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  10. peregrinus2017

    peregrinus2017 Member

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    Like has been said already, both are good and important. In my own experience, when I didn't have a foundation of prayer that has been written and prayed by great saints gone on before me, looking back, my own prayers did tend to be rather shallow and poorly focused on God.(More effort going into figuring out what I'm trying to say rather than saying it.), Also, really praying prayers that have been used by Christians for over a thousand years as well as still being used by Christians all around the world every day is a profoundly uplifting experience. Praying written prayers teaches us how to pray.
     
  11. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    Fr Peter Gillquist once said the liturgical prayers given by the Church are the tracks that prevent our personal prayers from derailing.
     
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  12. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    I think the Lord teaches us to pray both for ourselves and our neighbor. It is in His prayer ( Matthew 6:9-13). He always wants us to pray ( Luke 18:1). St. Paul preaches this to us ( 1 Timothy 2:1-3).

    The Lord does not want vain repetitions ( of course, the Jesus Prayer: https://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Jesus Prayer.html ) is a Divine repitition. The Lord prayed briefly and extended ( John 17 ).

    When King Solomon reflected the energy of grace, his prayer was a great entry to the ancient Liturgy ( 1 Kings 8:23-54). All of 1 Kings 8 is instructive on prayer & Liturgy which seems the basis for the prayer of the great entrance in the Divine Liturgy ( http://www.stgeorgenj.com/the-divine-liturgy-of-st-john-chrysostom.html ).
     
  13. abacabb3

    abacabb3 Newbie

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    Why not both? Though when I read the prayers of the saints, it puts it into perspective how un-saintly we are.
     
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