“He who is able to pray correctly, even if he is the poorest of all people, is essentially the richest. And he who does not have proper prayer, is the poorest of all, even if he sits on a royal throne”
– Saint John Chrysostom
” The one who knows how to pray, knows how to live well ”
Yes, I know…we are all very busy people. Juggling family and work, having millions of chores, errands, and reasons to stress. At the end of a long day, we all like to wash our body, let the hot water run on it to relax our muscles, put on body lotion and perfume and wear a freshly washed pajama. But how often do we remember to wash, moisturize and put perfume on our souls?
In nowadays society, moral values and religious believes are starting to become scarce. This is why we need a way to keep ourselves connected to God. Sharing with him our worries and troubles and thanking him for our happiness.
But most of all, dedicating some time to Him. Just reflect on this for a second: How many hours in your day do you go to work, watch movies, go shopping or just waste with no good use? And how many minutes do you devote to God? How many times do you think about Him throughout your day?
Making time to read even a small prayer or read a page from the Bible can be challenging if you are a busy grownup.
Because I’ve encountered so many obstacles of this kind myself, I’m giving you a list of fool-proof tips that can help get you started on your journey.
1.Get yourself a spiritual father (a priest confessor).Priests are full of wisdom and good advice. (at least most of them!) They will guide you through your spiritual journey and help you out. Going to confession as often as you can, will make your soul feel lighter, your problems smaller and your prayers will benefit from it
Orthodox Christians are encouraged to go to confession and communion (Receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ) at least 4 times a year, in the main fasting periods.
2.Pray with regularity. If you want to make it a habit to pray, you should figure out the best times for you to do it. If mornings are your busiest, then just say a Lord’s prayer as soon as you wake up, so you won’t get carried away and forget. If you have more time in the evening, after your kids are sleeping, read a longer evening prayer or dedicate yourself to reading The life of the Saints or the Bible.
3. Fake it till you make it?!? . Yes, this does work. If you’re not very accustomed to praying, it will not just come naturally to you. Like everything else, you will have to learn it. Your confessor can help you find the best prayer books and even tell you which prayer to read according to your needs. Our Holy Fathers teach us that when your soul is wrapped in sin it’s very difficult for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.
This is why you will maybe feel bored or like you can’t pay enough attention to your prayer. The longer you practice, the better it will get. The more efforts you do for your soul to be less sinful, the more God will help you pray with deepness and intensity. Anybody can get the gift of praying like this. The only problem is how much you want it and how you are asking God for it.
5. Don’t come up with mambo-jumbo excuses. Even if it’s hard to make time for it, prayer doesn’t have to always be reading half a bible at once or praying for hours. To start, it is enough to read a small prayer or a psalm or a few pages of the Bible and build it up. In this case, quality beats quantity. And if you’re thinking “Oh, I don’t have time to pray”, just imagine how it would be if God would one day turn His back on you and say “Oh, I’m not in the mood to give you help with your problems today”.
6. Prayer on the go a.k.a. Prayer of the Heart. For those of you who are still in doubt, there is a very powerful and short prayer. It is called The Prayer of the Heart or the Jesus prayer : “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. The spiritual fathers of orthodoxy say about these words that they raise the heart. It is the Unceasing Prayer that Saint Paul talks about in the New Testament.
Learning this and saying it with your mind throughout the day is the best way to praise and worship God, even when you say there is no time for it. You can read a history of this prayer here and see the prayer explained better here.
I really hope this post will help some of you.
Here are some more websites that can be useful if you want to know more about orthodox prayer:
Let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I am under no circumstances perfect, nor are my prayers or my relationship with God. These tips are purely out of my experience and my struggles with making time for prayer, especially after having a baby. If you wish to know more, you should read the Bible, the Life of the saints and find a spiritual father to guide you through your journey.