Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

The prayer rule of a Christian consists of morning prayers (morning rule) and prayers for bedtime (evening rule), which can be found in the prayer book. In addition, there is also the Rule to Holy Communion - this is a special collection of prayers that are read by those preparing for the communion of the holy mysteries of Christ.

The texts of these prayers are compiled by the holy fathers who lived in the Holy Spirit; these are inspired, living words coming from the depths of the believing heart, and reading them helps us learn how to pray correctly.

 

St. Theophan the Recluseexplains:

 

“And prayer must be learned, it is necessary to acquire the skill to prayer of thoughts and sense movements through other people's prayers, like learning foreign languages ​​from printed conversations.

 

My idea is that the beginners first need to be taught to pray properly with ready prayers, so that they can assimilate to themselves both thoughts, feelings, and prayer words. For the word God must be turned to God.

 

The rule of prayer is the safe fence of prayer. ”

 

“In our prayer books are placed the prayers of the holy fathers - Ephraim the Syrian, Macarius of Egypt, St. Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and other great prayer books. Being prayerful in spirit, they set forth the inspired spirit of this spirit in a word and conveyed it to us. The great prayer power moves in their prayers, and who gets all the attention and diligence into them, he, by virtue of the law of interaction, will certainly taste the power of the prayer, as his mood converges with the content of the prayer. ”

 

St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)writes:

 

“The soul that begins the path of God is immersed in the deep ignorance of all that is divine and spiritual, even if it is rich in the wisdom of this world. Because of this ignorance, she does not know how or how much she should pray. To help the infantile soul, the holy Church established prayer rules. The prayer rule is a collection of several prayers composed by divinely inspired holy fathers, adapted to a certain circumstance and time. The purpose of the rule is to deliver to the soul the missing amount of prayer thoughts and feelings, and moreover the thoughts and feelings of the right, holy, like god-pleasing.The grace-filled prayers of the holy fathers are filled with such thoughts and feelings. ”

 

In the morning prayerswe thank God for the past night and ask His gracious help for the coming day.

 

St. Theophan the Reclusewrites about the purpose of morning prayers:

“The Lord arranges everything; it is necessary from Him to accept the blessing on the deeds, the necessary insight and the necessary reinforcement. And hurry early, while nothing prevents, alone to ascend to the Lord with the mind and heart, and to confess to Him your needs, your intentions and to ask for His help. Having tuned in with prayer and divine thinking from the first minutes of the day, then you spend the whole day in awe and fear of God, with collected thoughts. Hence, prudence, degree and harmony in business and mutual relations. This is a reward for the work on which you will compel yourself in the morning solitude. It is also a measure of prudence for everyday people, and not something alien to their goals. ”
“Regarding inner prayer, there is one rule: pray without ceasing.
What does it mean to pray without ceasing? To be continually in a prayer mood. Prayer mood is the thought of God and feeling for God together.... Feeling for God is the fear of God, love for God, a zealous desire to please Him alone, with the same desire to avoid everything that is disagreeable to Him, and most importantly - to commit yourself to His holy will and to accept everything that happens, as from His hand . ... It is about these two - about the thoughts and feelings for God - all the care and need to have. ... The morning prayer is appointed to set these two things in the mind and heart ... And then go with them to your work and doing. If you revive this in the soul in the morning, then you prayed properly ... ”
Prep. John Climacus:
“There is a demon among the evil spirits, called the precursor, who immediately upon awakening is to tempt us and defiles our first thoughts. Devote the beginning of your day to the Lord, for to whom you first give them, that they will be. One skillful worker said to me this word worthy of attention: “At the beginning of the morning,” he said, “I will foreknow all my day.”
«Prayers for bedtimeWritesSt. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov), - remind us of our settling into eternity, review all our activities during the day, teach us to confess to God the confession of accomplished sins and repentance of them ”.

How to make a prayer rule

Before reading the rules, Christians usually heat up icon lamps in front of icons, women cover their heads in a sign of humility and reverence.
The Holy Fathers say that it is better to know the prayers by heart, then it is easier to unite the mind and heart in prayer, and those who read prayers through the prayer book constantly, quickly and easily memorize them. St. Theophan the Recluse also advises to read the translation of the prayers into Russian, in order to correctly understand their meaning, what we ask God for in prayer.
Well, when there is an opportunity to read the rule, alone. And the Lord Jesus Christ commanded:
“Enter into your cage, and shut your doors, pray to your Father, whoever is in secret: and your Father, see in secret, will reward you” (Matt. 6, 6).
Before embarking on prayers, you need to adjust yourself to the most important thing that happens in our life: to talk with God.
St. Theophan the Recluse:
“... starting the prayer book, in the morning or in the evening, wait a bit or sit or walk and work hard to sober up the thought at this time, distracting her from all earthly affairs and objects. Then think about who He is to whom you will turn in prayer, and who you are, having now begin to turn this prayer to Him, and in accordance with this, arouse in your heart the mood of self-deprecating and awe-filled fear in God.This is all preparation - to stand reverently before God,- small, but not insignificant. Here is the beginning of the prayer; the good, the beginning - half the battle.
Having established yourself internally, then stand before the icon and, with a few bows, begin the usual prayer book ... Read slowly,understand every word, and bring the thought of every word to the heart;accompanying the bows. This is the whole matter of reading a prayer, God is pleasant and fruitful. Take into every word and thought the words to the heart bring, otherwise: understand that you read, and understand understood. No other rules are required. These two — understand and feel — performed properly, adorn every prayer book with complete dignity and inform him of all the fruitful action. ”
Prot. Alexey Uminskywrites about it:
“When a person gets up to prayer, he must prepare for this internally. A prayer should be preceded by a state of inner silence, the idea that the main thing in your life is now beginning is a conversation with God. ”
"When we open the prayer book, there are amazing, correct and simple words:" Before you start to pray, wait a bit, shut up, do soso that all your spiritual feelings should calm down, be reconciled, and then only from silence say: "God, be merciful to me a sinner," - presenting yourself now before God standing.

 

It is not necessary to imagine God, because no one has ever seen God, and it is impossible to imagine Him, it is an erroneous and dangerous phenomenon when a person, in order to set himself up for prayer, begins to represent the image of God. Only you can imagine yourself before God, and this must be done - to appear before the Invisible and Living God, in whose presence you are, and from this depth begin to say something. ”
St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)advises:

“Before the beginning of the evening rule, it is especially useful to put a feasible number of bows: from them the body will tire a little and get warm, and the heart will be informed by a feeling of pious sadness; both will be prepared to read the rule diligently and attentively. ”
The rule should be read slowly and with concentration.
St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)talks about slowness in prayer:
“When making a rule and bowing it should not be in a hurry; must make both rules and bows with possible slowness and attention.It is better to read less prayers and less to bow, but with attention than much without attention. ”
St. Theophan the Reclusealso instructs:
"... it is necessary that both the church and home prayers be performed with attention and from the heart."
“Never prayer hastily do not speak, and leisurely, with thoughts and feelings, which are expressed in prayers. Before the beginning of the prayer, always prepare yourself a little, gathering thoughts and trying to become your attention before the Lord, whom you begin to pray. The main prayer arrangement will be penitential, for we will sin many things ... The Spirit is crushed, the heart of a broken and humble God will not be disgraced ... At every rule about your sins, pray in which you sin ...
What must prayer achieve? That the heart warmed with the love of God and the feeling towards God did not depart ... It is necessary to plant the faith that God sees and hears everything, and knows all our secrets. "
St. Theophan the Recluseadvises to “cultivate a prayer spirit”:
“Prayer from the heart every one must proceed, and what other prayer is not prayer.”
“... most importantly, with all spiritual need, turn to the Savior.Revive the faith that He is near and hears ... ".
“... try to always pray from the heart; for the heart, there is such a law: "God will not humiliate the heart of humble and subdued." The serviceability of your prayers disturb thoughts. Noticed? Now try to fix it. The first step to this is to start stirring up prayer in yourself: the fear of God and reverence; then become attention in the heart, and from there cry to the Lord.
And third-party thoughts will climb; as you notice, drive away. They will climb again, drive again ... And that's it. Do not allow the language of the prayer to read, and thoughts not to know where to stagger ... always chase them away and pray.
It is necessary to work and pray to the Lord to help cope with thoughts. Do you have a collection of fatherly lessons about prayer? Read and understand, attach to yourself. Work constantly on this ... and God, seeing your work, will give you what you need ... Work hard, but don’t think yourself to be in time without the special help of God.
About her and call more often. "


“In fulfilling your rule, do not have the thought, only to subtract everything that is necessary, but to stir up and strengthen the prayer movement in your soul; for this to work, the first is to never hastily read, but read as if in a singing ... close to that. In ancient times, all prayers read were taken from psalms.But I never see the word “read” anywhere, but everywhere “sing” ...

 

The second. Understand in every word and not only the readable thoughts reproduce in consciousness, but also excite the corresponding feeling.

 

Third. In order to hook up the urge to read quickly, put not that and that, but stand on the reading prayer for a quarter of an hour, half an hour, an hour ... How much do you usually stand up ... And then do not care how many prayers you read, but how much time comes if not hunt stand on, stop reading ...

 

Fourth. Putting it on the clock, however, do not glance, and become so to stand without end: the thought will not get ahead of itself ...

 

The fifth. To help the movement of prayer feelings, in your free time, re-read and think over all the prayers that are part of your rule — and feel them out so that when you begin to read them on the rule and know in advance what kind of feeling should be excited in your heart.

 

The sixth. Never read prayers without interruption ... but always interrupt them with your own prayer with obeisances, in the middle of the prayers you will have to do this, or at the end. As soon as it falls on your heart, immediately stop reading and bowing ...This last righteous is the most necessary and most necessary for the upbringing of the prayer spirit ... If sometimes it takes a lot of feeling, you should be with him and bow down, and throw the reading ... until the very end of the allotted time. ”
“It is necessary to entertain yourself on the prayer rule. ... Only it is necessary to bother yourself, at least in moderation. And then a small break will lead to a big one, and everything can be ruined. When you become on the rule, and the head dispels, so that you can’t cope with it, you need to force it to order ... while the mind gathers itself. When he will be in line, then begin to bow. He who bows with a distracted head is a cane, shaken by the wind. "
St. John Chrysostomteaches the art of prayer:
"It is always necessary to remember that we need not only to pray, but to pray in order to be heard."
Prot. Alexy Uminsky:
“Prayer, as a gift from God, is given only to those who use effort. In the Holy Scripture there are such words: giving a prayer to a prayer (see: 1 Kings 2, 9). Only when you make an effort in prayer, only then is prayer given to you. But if you do not do this, do not force yourself to prayer, do not exert effort, and expect that it will be born by itself without real shedding of sweat and blood, you will never receive prayers.This is not a gift that is given randomly and suddenly, under some circumstance. ”

The reasoning in drafting the rules

The spiritual rule of a man is established by his spiritual father, and in his jurisdiction to change it is to reduce or increase it. Once a rule has been established, it must become a law of life, and every violation should be considered as an exceptional case.
There is a complete prayer rule for monks and spiritually experienced laity, which is printed in the Orthodox prayer book. However, for those who are just beginning to make prayer, it is difficult to start reading it all at once. Usually, confessors are advised to start with several prayers, and then, every 7-10 days, add one prayer to the rule, so that the skill to read the entire rule is fully developed gradually and naturally.
St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)writes about how important it is to correctly establish the scope of the prayer rule:
“The Holy Fathers, praising the rule of prayer and confessing the need for it, instruct him to have a moderate, proportionate with the forces, with the state of mental success and with the circumstances in which the man was appointed by God's Providence.The essence of the fulfillment of the prayer rule is that it should be executed with attention. From attention our spirit comes to humility: repentance is born from humility. To be able to make a rule slowly, you must have a rule to be moderate. The Holy Fathers, praising the moderate rule very much, are advised not to adhere to it.
Choose a rule that corresponds to the forces. What the Lord said about the Sabbath, that it is for a man, and not a man for her (Mk. 2, 27), can and should be attributed to all pious deeds, and between them and to the prayer rule. Prayer rule is for a person, not a person for a rule: it should help a person to achieve spiritual success, and not serve as an uncomfortable burden, crushing bodily forces and embarrassing the soul. Moreover, it should not serve as a pretext for prideful and destructive self-conceit, to destructive condemnation and humiliation of one’s neighbors.
Having chosen for yourself a prayer rule commensurate with the forces and spiritual needs, try to fulfill it carefully and implacably: it is necessary to maintain the moral strength of your soul, as it is necessary to maintain healthy forces every day at known hours to maintain your physical strength.
Prudently chosen prayer rule, according to the forces and the line of life, is a great tool for those who strive for their salvation. ”
Prep. Mata:
"I prefer, said some great father, not a long rule, but constantly executed, long, but soon abandoned."
Prot. Alexy Uminsky:
“In order for a rule to become not an obstacle, but a real mover of man to God, it is necessary that it be proportionate to his spiritual forces, consistent with his spiritual age and state of mind. Many people, not wanting to burden themselves, deliberately choose too easy prayer rules, which because of this become formal and do not bear fruit. But sometimes a big rule, chosen from unreasonable jealousy, also becomes shackled, plunging into despondency and making it difficult to grow spiritually.
The rule is not a frozen form, during life it must necessarily change both qualitatively and externally. ”
Abbot Pachomius (Bruskov):

“A rather diverse prayer and rite may be included in the layman’s rule. It can be various canons, akathists, reading of the Holy Scripture or hymnal, obeisances, Jesus prayer.In addition, the rule should include a brief or more detailed commemoration of the health and repose of loved ones.

 

In monastic practice, there is a custom to include in the rule reading of patristic literature. But before you add something to your prayer rule, you need to think carefully, consult with the priest, evaluate your strength. After all, the rule is read regardless of mood, fatigue, other heart movements. And if a person has promised something to God, it must be done. The Holy Fathers say: let the rule be small, but permanent. At the same time you need to pray from the heart.
If a person is sick or very tired, then the evening rule can be made not immediately before bedtime, but shortly before. And before going to bed, you should read the last part of the rule, starting with the prayer of St. John of Damascus, "Vladyko of Humanity, will I really be able to get this coffin ..." and following it, to the end. "

Rule reduction

In addition to the complete prayer rule, mandatory for Christians, there is a short rule. Sometimes laymen sometimes have situations when there is not enough time and energy for prayer.and in this case it is better to read the short rule with attention and reverence, rather than hastily and superficially, without a prayerful attitude — the whole rule should be in its entirety. The Holy Fathers teach reasoning about their prayer rule, on the one hand, not giving concessions to their passions, laziness, self-pity and other things that can destroy the proper spiritual dispensation, and on the other hand, to learn or even slightly change the rule when there is a real need for it.
Rev. Nikon of Optina:
“No matter how busy a person is, even for the most soul-saving things, even for obedience, he must still have a constant private (or domestic) prayer rule, which is possible for him in his usual position. Breaking the rule is already seen as weakness. A blessed violation of a rule happens when a person, for reasons beyond his control, leaves the usual order for some urgent need or unexpected obedience. Needs for the sake of the law change happens (Cf. Heb. 7, 12).
It is better to read not the whole prayer rule, for lack of time, but with attention.Scary words are spoken in the Holy Scripture: “Cursed (man), do the work of the Lord with carelessness. (Jer. 48: 10). ”
St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov):
“Regarding the rule, know that it is for you, and you are not for him, but for the Lord. Therefore, have freedom of reasoning. "
St. Theophan the Recluse:
“When things do not allow us to completely make a prayer rule, then make it abbreviated. But never in a hurry. God is everywhere. Say thanks to him in the morning and ask for your blessing in your own words, a few bows and enough! Never turn to God somehow. And always with great reverence. Neither our obeisances, nor our wordy prayers are needed ... A cry from the heart is short and strong, that's what is profitable! .. And this can be done in passing ... And consequently, to pray constantly. Take care of this and direct everything here. ... The rule should be in your free will. Do not be his slave. ”
“Pull, as brought and accustomed. If sometimes you don’t get away with something (from the rule) due to senile infirmity, scold yourself a little, complain to the Lord and calm down. If again, do the same, and always. ... As for the rule, with regard to this, I think this way: no matter who the rule is, it’s good for everyone, since it keeps the soul in awe of God. ”
“When I wrote to you not to shorten the prayer time, I wrote it because, as I thought, you began to pray over the spill. This is the main thing to avoid. Splitting means weakening or stopping spiritual movements, which is very regrettable. But as I see that your zeal for the cause of the prayer is alive, I suppose that you leave the time and the rule of prayer to your own discretion, arrange both, as you will find the best and most convenient for you. Only have one urgent thing, so that when you stand on a prayer, the prayer comes from the heart and with feelings for God, with praise, thanksgiving and pleading with hope, and that no other matter is mixed in with this. ”

 

“We must take months ... and show constancy and patience in this work. But here I will add - do not knit yourself. But if you bind with what, hold on to it: for by this it is agreed to bear such a seedling. "
“God bless and continue the prayer according to your rule. But never knit yourself with the rule and do not think that there is anything of value in having such a rule or always making it. The whole price is in a heartfelt fall before God. ... and perform it with consciousness and feeling, and not by any means. In case of need to be able to reduce the rule. Is it a coincidence in family life? ..It is possible, for example, in the morning and in the evening, when there is no time, to recite only morning prayers and at bedtime to come. You can even read them all, but several. You can read nothing at all, but put a few bows, but with true heartfelt prayer. The rule must be treated with full freedom. Be the mistress of the rule, not the slave. The servant of God alone, who is obliged to devote all her life minutes to please Him. ”
“You have a homely prayer rule for the whole family. This holy cause does not need to be changed or canceled. But then you can keep a special - for yourself only the rule ... if you decide. "
Prot. Alexy Uminskyadvises:
“A person can increase or decrease the rule depending on the circumstances of life, for example, when traveling or illness. Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt in his diary writes that sometimes, when a person is sick, he cannot pray and is not necessary. On this occasion, do not be discouraged, but pray as you can, or occupy yourself with other activities, such as reading, there is no sin in this. ”

Why do we need prayer rule?


Prep. Isaac Sirin:
“God will not condemn us for leaving psalms on the day of His judgment, not for leaving prayer, but for leaving their entrance in us to demons.Demons, when they find a place, will enter and close the doors of our eyes: then they will be executed by us, with their tools, forcibly and uncleanly, with terrible vengeance, everything that is forbidden by God. And because of the abandonment of the small (rules), for which Christ’s intercession is honored, we are made subservient (to demons), as some wise ones say: “He who does not obey his will to God will submit to his opponent.” These (rules), which seem to you small, make you walls against those who try to captivate us. The fulfillment of these (rules) inside the cell is wisely established by the founders of the church charter, by revelation from above, for keeping our stomachs ".
The purpose of the prayer rule is that the desire to pray in a person does not fade, that prayer is always present in him, in any form, even when it is not expressed in words, but according to the words of St. Theophanes the Recluse, is “in an unceasing prayer mood. Prayer mood is the thought of God and feeling for God together, ”which is the essence of unceasing prayer, commanded to us by the word of God.
St. Theophan the Recluseinstructs:
“It is necessary to have a prayer rule of infirmity for our sake, so that, on the one hand, laziness does not give a move, and on the other hand, it must keep jealousy in its measure.”
Rev. Abba Isaiah:
“Do not forsake the rule of prayer, lest you fall into the hands of your enemies.
Carefully fulfill your prayer rule. Watch out! Do not allow yourself to neglect them. The soul is enlightened and strengthened from careful execution of the rule. ”
Prep. John Climacus:
“There is a demon among the evil spirits, called the precursor, who immediately upon awakening is to tempt us and defiles our first thoughts. Devote the beginning of your day to the Lord, for to whom you first give them, that they will be. One skillful worker said to me this word worthy of attention: “At the beginning of the morning,” he said, “I will foreknow all my day.”
St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)says that as long as a person does not have a prayer rule, it is impossible for him to build his spiritual life. It is a special way of building one’s inner person. It can be said that the dispensation of the temple of God begins within the prayer rule. He's writing:
“The rule! What is the exact name, borrowed from the action itself, performed on a person by prayers, called the rule! The rule of prayer guides the soul correctly and holy, teaches it to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23), while the soul, if left to itself, could not walk the right way of prayer.Because of her damage and the darkening of sin, she would continually be seduced to the sides, often to the abyss: now to absent-mindedness, now to dreaminess, to various empty and deceptive ghosts of high prayer states, composed by her vanity and self-esteem.
The prayer rules keep the prayer in the salutary disposition of humility and repentance, teaching him to perpetually self-reproach, nourishing him with tenderness, strengthening him with hope for the all-good and merciful God, making fun of the world of Christ, love for God and neighbors ... They clean and adorn the house of the soul with marvelous thoughts and feelings, so much pleasing to the Lord. "
“The prayer rules keep the worshiper in the salutary disposition of humility and repentance, teaching him incessant self-condemnation, nourishing him with tenderness, strengthening him with the hope of the All-good and Compassionate God.
It is necessary to learn correct prayer in order to succeed in it and through it to work out your salvation.
The fruits of true prayer: the bright world of the soul, combined with a quiet, silent joy, alien to reverie, self-conceit and heated impulses and movements; love for one's neighbor, not separating for the love of the good from the evil ... but interceding for all before God, as for herself. "
Rev. Nikon of Optinatalks about the usefulness of the rule:
"Not only a monk, but also a layman who belongs to monasticism and therefore who has become close, as if familiar to the spirit of monasticism, will see from experience how dear the fulfillment of the house prayer rule."
Prep. Neil Sinai:
“The mother of all virtues is prayer: she can not only purify and nourish, but also enlighten and be able to make sincerely worshipers like the sun.”

St. John Chrysostom:
“Prayer is the foundation of all good and contributes to the achievement of salvation and eternal life.
Into the soul, not familiar with prayer and petition, nothing can enter which contributes to piety.
Prayer - the sacred messenger; it cheers the heart, calms the soul, excites the fear of punishment and the desire of the kingdom of heaven; teaches humility, brings knowledge of sin. "
St. Gregory of Nyssa:
“The fruits of sincere prayer: simplicity, love, humility, patience, kindness and the like. All this, and before the eternal fruit, produces here fruit in a diligent life. These are the fruits that adorn prayer; if they are not, then her labor is in vain. ”
Prot. Alexy Uminskywrites about the grace of the Orthodox prayer rule:
“The rule of prayer is science, a constant exercise, a school of spiritual life, something that teaches us about prayer, and what eventually becomes a prayer.
We have the gracious opportunity to speak with the words with which Basil the Great spoke with God.
Prayer is recognized by the fruits. If for some time we pray, and the prayer of the fruit does not bear, we must think about how we treat prayer.
Prayer builds up all human life. Because in the Kingdom of Heaven there is nothing but a prayer that fills life and unites everything. ”
For those who reject to follow in prayer to the holy fathers, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov wrote quite firmly that a person should not pray from himself. He warns about the dangers of such a prayer: “Do not dare to say to God the multi-verbal and eloquent prayers you have composed, no matter how they seem to you to be strong and touching. They are the product of the fallen mind and, being a defiled sacrifice, cannot be accepted on the spiritual altar of God. And you, admiring the graceful expressions of the prayers you composed and recognizing the subtle effect of vanity and lust for consolation of conscience and even grace,you will get carried away far from prayer at the very time when it will appear to you that you are praying and have already attained some degree of pleasing God. ”

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  • Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules

    Saints and Church Fathers on Prayer Rules