I grew up Catholic and we had prayers and creeds that we memorized but I didn’t really understand prayer. As a young adult in my early 20s I attended a Bible Study group for the first time. I was struggling with Catholicism. I had never prayed with a group like that before. We each took turns praying out loud. It was very uncomfortable for me but l learned how to pray for others and I learned how valuable prayer was for *me*: how profitable it is for my soul and my salvation.
I would like to say that after 20 some years I have a rich and solid prayer life but I still have long seasons of inconsistency. I pray every day or most days but not necessarily in a quiet meditative way. Many times it is short little arrows of prayer sent up while I am harried, rushed or stressed.
As I’ve grown over the years and as my paradigm shifted my prayers have changed. I’ve been Orthodox just over 5 years now and I am learning about a richness and depth of prayer that I have never experienced before. Yes, I’ve prayed Psalms and Bible passages and yes I went through a “rote prayer is bad” phase for most of my protestant adult life, but I have found value in praying ancient prayers.
Using prayers from a prayer book helps me to focus my mind. The prayers are real and from my heart even if the words were written hundreds of years ago by someone else.
I recently found this prayer in the sample I downloaded of The Ancient Faith Prayer Book:
A Prayer for Every Hour
At every time and at every hour in heaven and on earth You are worshipped and glorified, O Christ our God, You who are longsuffering, most merciful, most compassionate, who love the just and are merciful to sinners, who call all to salvation through the promise of the good things to come. Accept, O Lord, our entreaties at this hour and guide our lives that we may keep Your commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, correct our thoughts, purify our ideas, and deliver us from all distress, evil, and pain. Surround us with Your holy angels that, protected and guided by their host, we may attain unity of faith an the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory. For blessed are You forever and ever.