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Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance

A Sample Prayer Rule

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Introduction

A prayer rule is the outline of our daily prayer routine. It is important to have a thought out rule.
We can take advantage of the centuries of wisdom by using proven prayers that will lift us up in our way of communicating with God.

  • Invite God into the process: Say a prayer for God’s guidance as you sit to prepare a prayer rule.
  • Be gentle: Remember that this is a chance for you to celebrate and sanctify what matters most to you, not to berate yourself for what you aren’t doing.
  • Be realistic: Being honest about what you are capable of accomplishing and what your schedule allows is essential in creating a rule. An overly strenuous rule will not be sustainable or enjoyable.

A prayer rule should first specify the place and time of prayer.

Then it should outline the sequence of your prayers and the specific prayers you will say.

Below is an example of a beginner’s prayer rule. Always consult with your spiritual father (director) or a parish priest about your prayer rule. He will help you develop one that fits your level of prayer.


Sample Morning and Evening Prayer

Place: In the icon stand in the spare bedroom

Time: 6:30am and 10:00pm for 20 minutes each time

Begin by lighting a candle, making three prostrations and stand quietly to collect yourself in your heart.

Introductory Prayers – Prayer to Holy Spirit, Trisagion Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

Morning or evening prayers – Intercessions for the living and the dead

Morning: Prayers for each day of the week and Small Doxology

Evening: Psalm 50 and confession of your sinfulness

Personal dialogue with God

Jesus Prayer – repeat 100 times.

Reflect quietly on the tasks of the day and prepare yourself for the difficulties you might face asking God to help you or in the evening reflect on the day and the difficulties you encountered and how you dealt with them.

Remember to stop mid-morning, noon and mid-afternoon to say a simple prayer.

Repeat the Jesus Prayer in your mind whenever you can throughout the day.

Offer a prayer before and after each meal thanking God and asking for His blessing.


Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[Glory to you, our God, glory to you.]

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O gracious One.]wells

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us; Lord, cleanse us of our sins; Master, forgive our transgressions; Holy One, come to us and heal our infirmities for your name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. 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 evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Morning Troparia

Rising from sleep I fall down before You, O good One, * and I cry aloud the angelic hymn to you, O powerful One: * Holy, holy, holy are You, O God, * through the intercession of your angelic powers, have mercy on me.

Glory… ** O Lord, You have raised me from my bed and sleep; * enlighten my mind, open my heart and lips to hymn You, O holy Trinity: * Holy, holy, holy are You, O God, * through the prayers of all your saints, have mercy on me.

Now… ** Suddenly the Judge arrives, * and He lays bare the works of each, * but in the middle of the night we cry out with fear: * Holy, holy, holy are You, O God, * through the Theotokos, have mercy on me.

Morning Prayer to the Holy Trinity
Lord, have mercy. (12x)
As I rise from sleep, I give thanks to You, O holy Trinity; because of your great goodness and endless patience, You did not become angry with me, a slothful and sinful being, nor did You destroy me because of my transgressions; but, as always, You have shown your love for mankind and have raised me up as I lay in despair, so that I might recite the morning prayers and sing the praises of your power. Enlighten the eyes of my understanding so that I may meditate on your words, understand your commandments, and accomplish your will. Open my mouth so that I may sing to You in sincere praise, and that I may proclaim your most holy Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Intercessions

Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ, your mercy and loving-kindness which have been for all eternity, and for the sake of which You did become man and deign to endure crucifixion and death for the salvation of all who rightly believe in You. You rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God the Father, and regard the humble prayers of all who call upon You with their whole heart. Incline your ear and hear the humble entreaty of me, your unprofitable servant, who offers it for an odor of spiritual fragrance for all your people.

Especially, O Lord, remember your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church for which You paid the price of your own blood. Confirm and strengthen her, enlarge her, and increase her throughout the world. Fill her with your peace, and never let her fail before the powers of darkness! Heal the schisms of the churches, quench the ragings of nations, speedily undo and root out the growths of heresies, and bring them to nothing by the power of your Holy Spirit.

Remember, O Lord, our holy father (name), Pope of Rome and all holy patriarchs, all metropolitans and bishops, all priests (names), deacons (names), monks (names), nuns (names), seminarians (names), and all whom You have established to feed the flock of your Word – have mercy on them and save them, and through their prayers have mercy on me and save me, a sinner!

Remember, O Lord, my God-loving bishop (name) – have mercy on him and save him!

Remember, O Lord, all spiritual fathers, especially Father (name of personal spiritual father and/or pastor)
– have mercy on them and save them!

Remember, O Lord, all world rulers, government officials, and all in the service of this country, state, and local community (names). Speak peace and blessings in their hearts for your holy Church and her liberty, and for all your people from womb to tomb, in order that we may live a calm, peaceful, and loving life in all piety and holiness.

Remember, O Lord, my Spouse (name), my parents (names), my brothers and sisters (names), my children (names) and all those for whom they pray (names), all my relatives (names), my spiritual family and all those with whom I have shared the holy mysteries (names), and my acquaintances and my friends (names) – have mercy on them and save them! Grant them your blessings both here and hereafter and forgive their sins.

Finally, O Lord, remember all of humanity – the young and elderly, the weak and oppressed, the needy and orphaned, the widowed and sick, and those weighed down by much grief, those in affliction and wrath, those in oppression and captivity, and those in prison and confinement. Especially remember your servants who are under persecution for your sake and for the sake of the true faith at the hands of apostates and of others intolerant of religious freedom – have mercy on them and save them! Visit, strengthen, keep, and comfort them, and make haste to grant them, by your power, relief, freedom, and deliverance.

Remember, O Lord, those who envy and affront me and do me wrong – have mercy on them and save them and do not let them perish through me, a sinner.

Remember also, O Lord, my unworthiness, and according to your great mercy, pardon my every transgression voluntary and involuntary. In your power give me the strength I need so that I may ever praise your great Name.

Prayer for Each Day of the Week

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it will bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray, and, Yourself, pray in me. Amen.

Prayers for Monday

O God, cleanse me, a sinner, for I have done but little good before You. Deliver me from evil and may your will be done in me that I may open my lips without blame and praise the holy Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (may continue on p. 9 of “Voices in the Wilderness”). Amen.
(Macarius)

Awakening from sleep, O Savior, I offer to You a hymn at the break of day. Bowing before You I exclaim: Do not allow me to die in sin; but, O Lord, Who were willingly crucified, have mercy on me. Raise me up, strengthen me in prayer and perseverance; and, after the night’s sleep, grant me a day without sin, O Christ our God, and save me. Amen.
(Macarius)

Prayers for Tuesday

Awakening from sleep I hasten to You, O Loving Master. As I, through your mercy, begin to fulfill my duties to You, I beseech You: aid me every minute and in every deed; save me and lead me to your eternal kingdom. You are my Creator and the Giver of every blessing, and in You I trust, and to You I give praise, now and ever and forever. Amen. (Macarius)

O Lord, Who in your manifold goodness and great compassion have granted me, your servant to pass the preceding hours of this night free from any attack of the evil one, do You, O Master and Creator of all things, grant to me that by your true light, I with an enlightened heart, may do your will, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Prayers for Wednesday

Lord God Almighty, Who receive from your heavenly powers a thrice-holy hymn, receive from me, your undeserving servant, this nocturnal hymn. Grant to me that all the years of my life, and at every hour, I may give glory to You, now and ever and forever. Amen.

[22 September – last day of the Great Fast:] Lord Almighty, God of powers and of all flesh, Who live on high, and watch over the humble, Who examine the hearts and the innermost being of all, and clearly perceive that which is hidden; O eternal and ever-existent Light, in Whom there is neither change nor shadow of change; O Immortal King, accept my prayers, which at this present time depend upon the multitude of your mercies and which I offer to You from defiled lips. Forgive me my transgressions which by deed, word, and thought, with knowledge or in ignorance, were committed by me. Cleanse me from every type of defilement of body and soul. Grant that I may pass all the nights of this present life with a watchful heart and sober thought, awaiting the glorious coming and revealing day of your only-begotten Son, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, Who will come with glory as Judge of all, granting to everyone according to his works. Let me not fall and become lazy, but rather watchful and roused to action. Let me turnabout and be prepared to accompany Him into the divine inner chamber with joy, where the sound of festive voices never ceases and where there is an indescribable sweetness of those who look upon the inexpressible goodness of your face. For You are the true Light, that enlightens and sanctifies all things, and all creation praises You forever and ever. Amen. (St. Basil the Great)

Prayers for Thursday

[22 September – last day of the Great Fast:] I bless You, O Most High God and Lord of mercy, Who always do for me great and inscrutable things which are both glorious and excessive; Who provide me with sleep as a rest for my infirmities and as a relief for the burdens of my body tired by labor. I thank You that You did not destroy me in my transgressions, but, as always, You loved as the Lover of mankind, and raised me up who was lying in despair so that I might praise your majesty. Therefore, I entreat your immeasurable goodness. Enlighten my thoughts and eyes, raise up my mind from the deep sleep of indolence, open my mouth and fill it with praise, so that everywhere, without distraction, I may be able to glorify and profess You, O God, Who are praised by all people and things, the Eternal Father, together with your only-begotten Son, and your all holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and forever.
Amen.

O Lord, do not deprive me of your heavenly riches. O Lord, deliver me from eternal torments. O Lord, if I have sinned by mind, thought, word, or deed, forgive me. O Lord, deliver me from every type of ignorance, forgetfulness, apathy, and faint-heartedness. O Lord, deliver me from every type of temptation. O Lord, enlighten my heart which sinful desires cloud. O Lord, I as a man have sinned. You, as a gracious God, seeing the weakness of my soul, have mercy on me. O Lord, send your grace to me as a help, so that I may glorify your holy Name. O Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me in the book of life, and grant to me a good end. O Lord my God, even though I have done nothing good before You, grant that I may lay down a worthy beginning according to your goodness. O Lord, sprinkle in my heart the dew of your grace. O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me your sinful servant in your kingdom. Amen. * O Lord, receive me in repentance. O Lord, do not forsake me. O Lord, lead me not into temptation. O Lord, give me good thoughts. O Lord, give me tears and a remembrance of death. O Lord, give me the thought of confessing my sins. O Lord, give me humility, purity, and obedience. O Lord, give me endurance, patience, and meekness. O Lord, implant in my heart the root of all good and the fear of You. O Lord, enable me to love You with my whole heart and mind, and to do your will in all things. O Lord, protect me from unjust people, demons, sufferings, and from every other evil. O Lord, You are known in your work and in your will; let your will be in me, a sinner, since You are blessed forever and ever. Amen. (St. John Chrysostom)

Prayers for Friday

O my most compassionate and merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ, Who because of your great love, descended and became incarnate so that You might save all. O Savior, I beseech You, save me by your grace, for if You save me by deeds, behold this is nothing but a grace and a gift – it is nothing but a greater debt. You are mighty in generosity and indescribable in mercy. You, O Christ, have said, “The one who believes in me will have life and will never see death.” Therefore, if faith in You saves those who are in despair, then save me because of my faith in You, for You are my God and my Creator. Let my faith suffice in place of me deeds, O my God, for You will find that my deeds will not justify me at all, and let it enable me to be a participant in your eternal glory. Do not permit Satan to overpower me and boast that he has snatched me from your hand and your protection, O Divine Word. Save me, O Savior, whether I wish it or not. Hasten to me for I perish quickly. You are my God from the time that I was conceived. Enable me, O Lord, to love You now, just as I once loved sin itself. May I again serve You diligently and without laziness, just as I once served Satan. Most of all, I will serve You my Lord and God Jesus Christ, throughout all the days of my life, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Holy Angel of Christ, in homage I come to you my holy guardian, who, since my baptism, has been assigned to me to protect my body and soul. I beseech your powerful intercession. I have often
offended you by my indolence and bad habits. You are without stain in your glory and I have often driven you away by my sins. I pray and beseech you, most holy guardian, be merciful to me, your sinful and unworthy servant. Be my defender and aid against my enemies. Through your intercession make me worthy to be a partaker of the kingdom of God will all the saints, forever and ever. Amen. (Peter the Studite)

Prayers for Each Day of the Week

O my most holy Queen and Theotokos, by your holy and all-powerful prayers, drive away from me, your humble servant, discouragement, forgetfulness, misunderstanding, and carelessness. Drive away every sinful thought from my heart and mind. Help me quench the fire of evil passions. Preserve me from evil thoughts and deeds, for you are blessed by all nations, and your name is praised forever and ever. Amen. (Peter the Studite)

Small Doxology: Glory to God in the highest, and to people on earth peace and good will. We praise you, we bless You, we worship You, we glorify You, we thank You for your great glory. Lord God, heavenly King, Father Almighty; Lord, only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. You take away the sins of the world, hear our prayer. You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For You alone are holy, You alone are Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. I will bless You day after day, and praise your name forever. O Lord, You have been our refuge from one generation to the next. I said: Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul for I have sinned against You. O Lord, I have fled to You for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for You, O Lord, are my God. In You is the source of life and in your light we see light. Extend your mercy to those who know You. Make us worthy, O Lord, to be kept sinless this morning. Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our Fathers, and praiseworthy and glorious is your name forever. Amen. May your mercy, O Lord, be upon us who have placed our hope in You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me your commandments. Blessed are You, O Master; make me understand your commandments. Blessed are You, O Holy One; enlighten me with your commandments. O Lord, your mercy endures forever; do not despise the work of your hands. It is proper to praise You, and hymns belong to You. Glory belongs to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.


Evening

+ Make the sign of the holy cross over the bed and pray:

complineEncircle me, Lord, with the power of your precious and life-creating Cross, and protect me from all evil.

Into your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ my God, I surrender my spirit and body – bless me, save me, have mercy on me, and grant me eternal life. Amen.

Intercessions

O Lord, remember your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church for which You paid the price of your own blood. Confirm and strengthen her, enlarge her, and increase her throughout the world. Fill her with your peace, and never let her fail before the powers of darkness! Heal the schisms of the churches, quench the ragings of nations, speedily undo and root out the growths of heresies, and bring them to nothing by the power of your Holy Spirit.

Remember, O Lord, our holy father (name), Pope of Rome and all holy patriarchs, all metropolitans and bishops, all priests, and all whom You have established to feed the flock of your Word – have mercy on them and save them, and through their prayers have mercy on me and save me, a sinner!

Remember, O Lord, my God-loving bishop (name) – have mercy on him and save him!

Remember, O Lord, all spiritual fathers, especially Father (name of personal spiritual father and/or pastor) – have mercy on them and save them!

Remember, O Lord, all my relatives and all those with whom I have shared the holy mysteries (names), and my acquaintances and my friends (names) – have mercy on them and save them! Grant them your blessings both here and hereafter and forgive their sins.

Remember, O Lord, (here mention the name of any others) and all Christians of the true faith.

Finally, O Lord, remember all of humanity – the young and elderly, the weak and oppressed, the needy and orphaned, the widowed and sick, and those weighed down by much grief, those in affliction and wrath, those in oppression and captivity, and those in prison and confinement. Especially remember your servants who are under persecution for your sake and for the sake of the true faith at the hands of apostates and of others intolerant of religious freedom – have mercy on them and save them! Visit, strengthen, keep, and comfort them, and make haste to grant them, by your power, relief, freedom, and deliverance.

Those who depart from the true faith, dazzled by destroying heresies and an inclination to division, do enlighten by the light of your holy wisdom, and unite them to your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

Remember also, O Lord, my unworthiness, and according to your great mercy, pardon my every transgression voluntary and involuntary. In your power give me the strength I need so that I may ever
praise your great Name.

Psalm 50

Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. That you may be justified when you give sentence and be without reproach when you judge, O see, in guilt I was born, a sinner was I conceived. Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom. Sprinkle me with hyssop, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may thrill. From my sins turn away your face and blot out all my guilt. A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit. Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you. Deliver me from blood-guilt, O God, my saving God, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit, a contrite, humbled heart you will not spurn. In your goodness, O Lord, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, burnt offerings wholly consumed; then you will be offered young
bulls on your altar.

Examination of Conscience

Now pause and call to mind as many sins and transgressions of the past day as possible. Be sure to recall both failings of commission and omission. Make a commitment to do your best to avoid evil and do good in the new day ahead, then pray:

Remit, pardon, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in deed and in word, with knowledge and in ignorance, in thought and in desire, by night and by day; forgive them all, O good and loving God. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (12 times)

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 evil. [For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.]

Eternal God and Ruler of all creation, You have allowed me to reach this hour. Forgive the sins I have this day committed by word, deed, or thought. Purify me, O Lord, from every spiritual and physical stain. Grant me to rise from this sleep to glorify You by my deeds throughout my entire life and that I be victorious over every spiritual and physical enemy that fights against me. Deliver me, O Lord, from all vain thoughts and evil desires. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Macarius)

Guardian Angel Prayers

Guardian Angel, protector of my soul and body, to your care I have been entrusted by Christ. Obtain for me the forgiveness of the sins committed by me this day. Protect me from the snares of my enemy that I may never more offend God by sin. Pray for me, your sinful and unworthy servant, that through your help I may become worthy of the grace and mercy of the Most Holy Trinity and of the immaculate Mother of God. Amen. (Peter the Studite)

Holy Angel, attendant of my afflicted life, forsake me not, a sinner. Give no place to the evil demon to subdue me with the oppression of this mortal body; but take me by my weak and outstretched hand, and lead me in the way of salvation. Yes, O holy angel of God, the guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me for all I have done to trouble you today and all the days of my life. Shelter me tonight and keep me from every affront of the enemy, lest I anger God by any sin; and intercede with the Lord in my behalf, that He might strengthen me in the fear of Him, and make me a worthy servant of his goodness. Amen.

For complete daily prayers for Vespers, Matins, Compline and the Hours you can get a prayer book that has the complete reader services in them.