Eastern Orthodox/prayer advice from theophan
I read an article from St Theophan the Recluse about prayer. Some things I didn't understand. What are "established prayers"? What is a "prayer rule"? Thank you.
The established prayers of the Church are the traditional prayers that the Orthodox have prayed for centuries. You can find these prayers in prayer books published by the Church such as:
. There are many prayers to help us deal with many things.
The Apostle Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing", that is to live our whole life as a prayer. The established prayers show us how to properly approach God. There are many prayers of the Church. Psalm 55:17 says "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice". There are very specific prayers assigned for the morning and evening and many also pray specific prayers at other times of the day on a regular basis. If you follow a practice of regular personal prayer, that is known as a prayer rule. Most Orthodox Christians follow a minimal prayer rule of morning and evening prayer and praying before meals. Some others pray more numerous or elaborate prayers. Monasteries pray the "Hours" which are specific prayers at certain times throughout the day.
As you can see, it is not possible for most people to take advantage of all the prayers the Church presents to us. Therefore many go to their priests or spiritual advisor to give them a prayer rule that they can realistically follow, just like a coach might recommend a physical exercise regime.