Seven prayer stops during the day

God’s Word says: “Seven times a day…” (Psa 119:164). Both the Old- and the New-Testament Tradition present a daily prayer rhythm. This rhythm was kept by St. Paul and the Apostles. Similarly, St. Basil emphasized the need for prayer stops during the day in the life of every Christian. Unfortunately, nowadays Christians do not have the daily rhythm of contact with God.

After many prayers and prayerful quests for actualization of the Church tradition at the present time we propose the following proven way of prayer. It is a prayer 7 times a day: when getting up, at 9:00 a.m., 12:00, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and when lying down. How are we to pray and why?

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

“Ephphatha!” (Be opened!) “I am self-willed. I am a hedonist. I am a critic.”

“Maran atha!” (Come, O Lord!) “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, have mercy on me!” (5×)

“Shema” (Hear), (name), love God! Jesus, my God, I love You with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. Now I lose my soul for Your sake and the Gospel’s.”

The Word of life: (a verse from the Holy Scripture for 14 days; repeated 3×)

“From this moment I do everything + in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (3×)

Why to stop seven times? The number 7 is symbolic but it is good to take it practically. God’s Word says that a righteous man sins seven times a day. He sins above all by self-will, i.e. he does not stop, is not in God’s presence and acts only according to his feelings and reason which is not always in accord with God’s will.

Besides self-will every man sins by hedonism, i.e. laziness, indulgence in pleasures, overindulgence in eating, drinking or leisure, dependences – alcohol, drugs, impurity. Another manifestation of sin is automatic criticism against people and God. Every man in his corrupted nature is self-willed, a hedonist and a critic. It is painful for him to admit and be conscious of this reality. Especially in the particular cases. The basic relationship with God is founded on repentance. It means to admit one’s guilt before God and to ask for and receive His forgiveness. This all is expressed in the short prayer beginning with the sign of the cross, the word ‘ephphatha’ – be opened, and the confession: “I am self-willed, I am a hedonist, I am a critic.” And then one turns to the Saviour with the words: “Maran atha – Come, O Lord!” (1Cor 16:22) and calls upon the holy name of Jesus in whom is our salvation. It is good to stand in spirit under Christ’s cross and perceive His five wounds from which Jesus’ blood flows for the forgiveness of my sins.

Three times repeating the name of Jesus, one intensifies the prayer for forgiveness. This short prayer is a prayer of perfect contrition which one will need most in the hour of death. In essence, it is only a repeated emphasis on the name of Jesus accompanied with a spiritual look upon His five wounds. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) This name is Jesus, or Aramaic Jehoshua. This short part of prayer is the first step – a confession that Jesus is my Saviour.

The second step expresses that Jesus is my Lord. The Israelites remembered several times a day (see Deut 6:9f) the first and greatest commandment beginning with a call: “Shema, Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” What helped them to remember it was an inscription on the doorposts of the house, a bracelet and a headband. (If one prays alone, in place of Israel one puts one’s own name. If the prayer is said in a community, all say together “Shema, Israel” – which means

“Hear, o soldier of God!”) What does true love for God rest in? Jesus expresses it by a condition: “…whoever loses his soul for My sake and the Gospel’s…” (Mk 8:35; cf. Lk 14:33). This practically means that one stops before God in faith, gives Him all troubles and fears and wholly trusts in God’s almightiness and God’s love. It is a practical preparation for a happy moment of death expressed in Jesus’ words: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” (Lk 23:46) Simply, this prayer is radical, complete commitment to God. If the greatest commandment is to love God, it is necessary that every Christian should know what it is, have concrete experience of it and try at least seven times a day to actualize not only perfect contrition but also perfect love.

The third step is the repeating of one verse from the Holy Scripture. The Christian repeats this verse 7×3=21 times a day for a period of two weeks. The seventh day, as the Bible says, is holy. In Christianity it is tied up with the Resurrection of Christ and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture also speaks about a rhythm of seven years ending with the Sabbatical year. This rhythm of seven years is also applied in the repeating of God’s Word. Over this period of time the believer learns and embodies 182 verses. After seven years he returns to the initial verses and continues in the same way. It is a rhythm resembling the liturgical cycle with the difference that God’s Word will not be repeated every three but every seven years. The leader of the community of believers must first analyze the particular verse, give an authentic interpretation of it and reveal its true essence and personal impact, i.e. how it may be embodied in one’s life. It is necessary that the Church has a prophetic centre – the faithful servant who gives food at the proper time (cf. Mt 24:45). This centre of true Christ’s witnesses would prepare a booklet with a concrete word of life and its interpretation. However, this would be no so-called academic interpretation in the spirit of atheistic historical-critical theology (HCT) but practical application of the word in one’s life which must lead to personal experience of each and every believer.

After two weeks’ time each of the believers should share his experience with others within a small community, how the Holy Spirit spoke to them and clarified the word. These most fundamental verses from the Scripture lead the soul above all to purification and deliverance from the slavery of self-deceit, lies and various dependences. This is, in essence, the embodiment (incarnation) of God’s Word through the obedience of faith and the greatest example after Jesus is His Holy Mother. In Her the Word became flesh through the obedience of faith (Lk 1:45).

The concluding sentence of the whole prayer “From this moment I do everything…” is an intention to do everything in the following three hours of the day in the name of the Triune God.

 

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Word of Life

“For he who has died has been justified from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”

Rom 6:7-8 (21/10/2018 – 4/11/2018)