Prayer rule

I really want to have a set prayer rule with the prayer rope. However, I don’t want pride, so what is a good, basic rule until a spiritual father gives me a more advanced rule? Preferably, one with the prayer of St Ephraim…
In Christ

Don’t get hung-up on the prayer rope. There is nothing magical or talismanic about it. It is only a tool for counting and to aid concentration, much the same as rosary beads. It was mainly meant to count repetitions of the Jesus Prayer. Many have said it is unwise for a novice (which most of us are) in the spiritual life to undertake serious use of the Jesus Prayer without supervision of a spiritual father. Praying the Jesus Prayer may be the whole of a prayer rule. Or, it may be part of one. Or one may have a prayer rule completely without the Jesus Prayer.

There are many prayer rules. In Eastern Christianity, at least in a monastic setting, one’s spiritual father would set the prayer rule. Today, as the very vast majority of Christians are neither monastics nor under obedience to a true spiritual father (they are very few and very far between, especially in the U.S.), getting a prayer rule could be rather tricky. My first suggestion, if you are wanting to pray Eastern Christian prayers, would be to consult an Eastern Catholic (or Orthodox, if you must) priest about it. Ask for a meeting, discuss where you’re at, where you’ve been, what you’re doing, what you want, and where you’re going. Then take it from there based on what he says.

Failing that, get a good Eastern Christian prayer book, like the Jordanville Prayer Book and start with the Trisagion prayers and Morning and Evening Prayers. You won’t even “need” a prayer rope!

Also, there is nothing inherently “better” or “more spiritual” about Eastern prayers than Western prayers or prayer rules. Don’t get hung-up on that, either ;).

Hope that helps, at least a little, anyway :).

In Christ,

Thank you.:slight_smile:

A good number of saints have suggested possible prayer rules. The most common one used for the prayer rope is the Rule of St. Pachomius -

This rule can be offered a number of times per day. I’ve heard some people say that for beginners it’s best not to go above 300 repetitions of the Jesus Prayer per day. But that’s really up to you. I strongly suggest you look into buying the book “The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology.” It consists entirely of quotes from many of the great mystics of the East. A couple of the recognize the difficulty of finding a spiritual father or mother and simply suggest reading the lives and writings of the saints, and then praying with humility. St. Theophan the Recluse points out that when reading the writings of the saints it’s best to start with the Russian saints, since they’re chronologically closer to us, and then move on to the writings contained in the Philokalia.

You might also look into the lay associates program provided by Holy Resurrection Romanian Catholic Monastery. If memory serves me correctly they provide some spiritual direction over e-mail with required regular telephone conversations as well (and possibly an annual retreat to the monastery). Just something to think about.

Also, I wouldn’t worry so much about finding a spiritual director that’s Eastern/Byzantine. Met. Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America had a Benedictine spiritual director for a number of years. My own spiritual father is a Dominican priest. Just pray that the right person comes along. If not, you should at least surround yourself with good friends with whom you can discuss spiritual matters.


God bless you and guide you on your journey!

(I started out a secular Jew, became Byzantine Catholic, then Orthodox, and am now very, very happily back in the Catholic Church, worshiping at a Roman Catholic parish–so I have a sense of what you’re experiencing ;).)

In Christ,

Good advice, and well said!

Here’s a link to the Holy Resurrection Monastery Associates Program that Phillip referred to:

God bless you and guide you on your journey!

The Rule of St. Pachomius
Note: The translation used is primarily that of Fr. Lawrence of Jordanville. This order was given to St. Pachomius of Egypt by an Angel, and was the rule he used at each hour of the day and night (Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, p. 77). It is a prayer rule that especially lends itself to memorization, and as such is one that can be done in situations in which it is impractical for one to pray using a prayer book.

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

Amen. Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

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

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord have mercy. (Thrice)

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

Our Father, Who art in the Heavens, 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Lord, Have mercy. (Twelve times)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the unto the 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 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 Zion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

The 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 ages; 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 the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.

The Jesus Prayer: O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
(100 Times)

The Dismissal

It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most blameless, and Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

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

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

O Lord, Bless.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, and all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Amen.


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