A Prayer Rule

The following instructions and sample prayer rule is given according to the suggestion of Archimandrite Sergius (Bowyer) in his book, Acquiring the Mind of Christ. Pages 157–163.


A prayer rule is a set of prayers that is said every single day without fail. Most of the time, it is said in the morning and the evening, with shorter prayers, such as the Jesus Prayer, used throughout the day in addition to a prayer before meals. The goal is union with God—a real relationship.

Though we should pray unceasingly, our prayer rule must not and cannot be said, for example, in the car, but rather alone, in front of the icons and Gospel, preferably with a lit candle and, if possible, the room lights dimmed. It is important to remember that we will never have time for God but rather must make time for God, for the “Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). The best time to pray is in the morning or in the evening, when it is darker.

Also, when using a rule of prayer we must be flexible and do what works for us; our goal is to maintain the connection with God an cultivate a real relationship, not just fulfill our ‘rule’ of prayer.


The Trisagion

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to Thee, O our God, glory to Thee!

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life – come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O come let us worship God our King.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and our God.

O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, Himself, our King and God.

Psalm 50

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness, the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Sion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be please with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblations and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man;

And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;

And in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the Resurrection of the dead. And the life of the world to come.

Amen.

 

A Morning Prayer

I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast again shown me the Light of a new day. Grant me to greet this day in peace. At all times, help me to rely upon Thy holy will. In every hour of this day, help me, teach me, and reveal Thy will to me. Bless, help, and save all those who surround me. Teach me to treat everything that comes to me throughout this day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Thy will governs all things. In all my deeds and words, sanctify, bless, and correct my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that everything is sent by Thee. Teach me to act firmly and wisely without embittering or embarrassing others. O Lord, give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray, and Thyself, come, grant me Thy blessing, be with me, and pray within me. Amen.

An Evening Prayer

O Eternal God and King of all creation, Who hast kept me safe to attain to this hour, forgive me all wherein I have sinned today in deed, word, and thought. Cleanse, O Lord, my transgressions and faults and make me a Temple for the Holy Spirit. Vanquish the enemies, both bodily and bodiless that fight against me, and keep and deliver me from the vain thoughts and evil desires which tempt me. Receive my prayers in Thy great mercy. Shine into my heart the Light of the Holy Spirit. Grant me to live according to Thy commandments. Teach me to do Thy will for Thou art my God. O Lord, I thank Thee for all the things that Thou hast brought me this day and I commend it all into Thy hands, trusting that through Thy mercy all things will turn out for the good and my salvation. Grant me also, as I go to sleep, rest for my body and soul, and preserve me from the passions of the flesh and the influences of dark and evil spirits. Amen.

Dismissal

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos, who art blessed and all-blameless, and the mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, thou who without stain bearest God the Word, and art truly Theotokos: we magnify Thee.

Lord have mercy (3x)

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy upon us and save us. Amen.

Through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, my holy Guardian Angel, my patron saint N. and of all Thy saints, have mercy on us and upon Thy world.

O Lord, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. Amen.

Notes

A prayer rule must not and cannot be said in the car, but rather alone, in front of the icons and Gospel, preferably with a lit candle and, if possible, the room lights dimmed. It is important to remember that we will never have time for God but rather must make time for God, for the “Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12). The best time to pray is in the morning or in the evening, when it is darker.
Also, when using a rule of prayer we must be flexible and do what works for us; our goal is to maintain the connection with God and cultivate a real relationship, not just fulfill our ‘rule’ of prayer.

Tempo can vary: if we are we are distracted, then we pray quickly; if we are relaxed, slowly. The Jesus Prayer is not a mantra or vain repetition. The words are a profoundly meaningful confession by which we begin our dialogue with God in fulfillment of the Lord’s words: “Whatever you ask in my Name, that I will do” (John 14:13).

We need to read the words of our Lord every day, at least one chapter. A consecutive reading of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John throughout the year greatly aids us in understanding and doing God’s will.