Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Forgiving yourself prayers?


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 10 October 2016 - 03:26 PM

Hi, everybody. I was an Orthodox for a couple of years (2009-2011), but now I alternate between atheism and belief in a benevolent higher power. My story is more complicated than that, but it probably doesn't matter for this question.

 

I realized last night that a huge problem for me is self-hatred. I am an odd person, so I have never fit-in with normal people. I suspect the disapproval of my peers gradually became internalized when I was a teenager. I am now 50 years old, so I have been hating myself for 40 years. This hatred has hurt me and everybody around me, so I desperately want to fix it somehow.

 

My idea is to pray. I usually say the Jesus Prayer out of habit - even though I don't know where the historical Jesus fits-in-to my spiritual theories now. I was wondering if there is a short prayer similar to the Jesus Prayer that is more about me forgiving myself (perhaps with God's help) instead of about God forgiving me. Any ideas?



#2 Lakis Papas

Lakis Papas

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 616 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 October 2016 - 06:17 PM

The short prayer: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner' is appropriate for any case, for your case also.

 

For people under anger, hate, stress, it is recommended for them to read the Book of Psalms of King David, from the Old Testament - Psalms also can be found in separate stand alone book.

 

Though, there is no magical way in prayer to change ones condition.

 

You might also try medical help from a certified psychologist, since you believe your condition started in the age of ten years - you might find yourself in error by a certified diagnosis. Self diagnosis is not always right.



#3 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 October 2016 - 06:43 PM

I think this is one for Father David.



#4 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 10 October 2016 - 07:33 PM

The short prayer: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner' is appropriate for any case, for your case also.

 

For people under anger, hate, stress, it is recommended for them to read the Book of Psalms of King David, from the Old Testament - Psalms also can be found in separate stand alone book.

 

Though, there is no magical way in prayer to change ones condition.

 

You might also try medical help from a certified psychologist, since you believe your condition started in the age of ten years - you might find yourself in error by a certified diagnosis. Self diagnosis is not always right.

 

Thanks, Lakis Papas, as I was thinking about this, the Jesus Prayer seems to be a criticism of myself. I have been trying to say "I forgive myself" instead, but that doesn't seem like a prayer. I like to believe that God exists in some form, and I would like His help. I can see the problem, but it is hard to change a 40-year habit of self-loathing.

 

I have been doing psychotherapy with a licensed professional counselor for the past year and a half. She has suggested "kundalini yoga", but it seems a little silly to me. She described sitting and listening to music while chanting mantras in a foreign language and making weird hand gestures. I thought praying would be more natural for me. Another thing that I have tried is to stare at a candle until I feel a fascination and joy over every flicker of the shadow or subtle noise. I haven't done that for a year or two, because it requires a lot of effort and discipline.

 

Several years ago, I had a dream where it seemed that I could see Jesus or God as a light of love and approval in spite of my shortcomings. That made me feel better for a week, and I no longer fear death as much. Experiencing more of that would probably make me feel less hatred for myself.



#5 Lakis Papas

Lakis Papas

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 616 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 October 2016 - 11:46 PM

Well, Bob, life is complex and some times it comes with an unpleasant flavor.

But - and this is my best advice - life always evolves from one stage to another one. This is why we must always hope that we can seek a brighter tomorrow. This is why we must not despair, we are not static.

We all fear the same things that you are afraid off, I wish there was a way to make you release that.

#6 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 12:25 PM

Well, Bob, life is complex and some times it comes with an unpleasant flavor.

But - and this is my best advice - life always evolves from one stage to another one. This is why we must always hope that we can seek a brighter tomorrow. This is why we must not despair, we are not static.

We all fear the same things that you are afraid off, I wish there was a way to make you release that.

 

Thanks, Lakis Papas. My problem is actually anger and judgment directed at myself for being a "failure" as opposed to fear. Of course I have more than my share of fear and anxiety too. But the self-hatred is the biggest problem. Earlier this year, the self-hatred left me for a couple of weeks. It was such a relief to be free of that burden - even for only a few days. I seemed to cry a lot, and I almost never cry. When I tried to explain the change to my therapist, I cried the whole session. I thought I was "cured" of all my psychological problems, but then the self-hatred came back again. This morning I simply tried to think of everything that I hate about myself and say "I forgive myself for X, I forgive myself for Y, ..."

 

I'm surprised that Christianity doesn't seem to recognize this problem (as far as I can tell). I suppose most people love themselves and do not see their faults, so the emphasis is on remembering our failings. I am so aware of my failings that it poisons my life with a desire to punish myself. My therapist doesn't seem to understand this attitude, so I suppose it must be rare. (Of course the failings from a Christian-perspective are different from the failings that torture me. I am mostly tortured by my failures to meet the expectations of society as opposed to the expectations of God.)


Edited by Bob L., 11 October 2016 - 12:39 PM.


#7 Phoebe K.

Phoebe K.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 11 October 2016 - 01:01 PM

Bob L

 

Issues about forgiving ourselves is not recorded but all the good spiritual fathers understand it, and it is withing that relationship that it is dealt with.   It is a complex aspect of our spiritual development which is why it is often not spoken about, it is a much about excepting we are forgiven as forgiving ourselves.  It is something we can only learn within the relationship we have with our spiritual father as it is bound up with the experiencing of the sacrament of confession.

 

learning to accept where we are and move forward in our spiritual journey is not something we can do alone, we have to do it within the family of the Church, specifically in the relationship we have with out spiritual father.  We have a Spiritual father to help us control and direct our passion based urges into things which are more constructive and eventually to transfigure them into the virtues.



#8 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 11 October 2016 - 01:42 PM

I think this is one for Father David.

Not sure why this one is for me, however, having read the posts from the last couple of days here, I think that the base issue is that the person in question (Bob?) does not believe in God - at least not in the way that we in the Church do.  It seems that he has the need to take on all God's tasks, such as meting out forgiveness, assigning value to life etc.  The spiritual life in the Church is not about loving and accepting oneself, it is about loving God and accepting with peace all that God gives.  This requires not that we love ourselves, but rather that we believe that God loves us. We have to put ourselves completely into God's hands and trust Him to deal with all the ugly and horrible things about ourselves and consider all the things that come to us in this life both "good" and "bad" are actually the hand of God treating our own deficits and diseases.  With this attitude, we don't need to "enjoy life" nor do we even need to be "happy", but we can be content that our Maker and Creator loves us and is correcting all the things in us that we may have messed up (no matter how bad we mess up, He is still able to correct it.)

 

Any advice I might have comes down to this: Stop depending on yourself, repent and return to the Church and whether you understand it or not, whether you "feel" it or not, whether you enjoy it or not - live the life that the Church prescribes.  Our hope is not fulfilled in this life, but in the life to  come.

 

Fr David



#9 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:14 PM

Bob L

 

Issues about forgiving ourselves is not recorded but all the good spiritual fathers understand it, and it is withing that relationship that it is dealt with.   It is a complex aspect of our spiritual development which is why it is often not spoken about, it is a much about excepting we are forgiven as forgiving ourselves.  It is something we can only learn within the relationship we have with our spiritual father as it is bound up with the experiencing of the sacrament of confession.

 

learning to accept where we are and move forward in our spiritual journey is not something we can do alone, we have to do it within the family of the Church, specifically in the relationship we have with out spiritual father.  We have a Spiritual father to help us control and direct our passion based urges into things which are more constructive and eventually to transfigure them into the virtues.

 

Thanks, Phoebe K. When I was Orthodox, my priest did not emphasize confession. If a person needed to confess something, he/she would sit in the front row on Sunday just before the liturgy started, and the priest would throw his cape over their heads for a minute or two to hear the confession. He said he really didn't think confession mattered that much. This priest did visit me a couple of times, and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, but it always ended with a request to "borrow" money (actually "take"). Usually he wanted about $1000 each visit, so I came to dread his visits LOL. I'm just an ordinary person, so $1000 is a lot of money to me. But mostly it hurt my feelings to think that he really didn't care about me as a person.



#10 Rdr Daniel (R.)

Rdr Daniel (R.)

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 704 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:40 PM

Thanks, Phoebe K. When I was Orthodox, my priest did not emphasize confession. If a person needed to confess something, he/she would sit in the front row on Sunday just before the liturgy started, and the priest would throw his cape over their heads for a minute or two to hear the confession. He said he really didn't think confession mattered that much. This priest did visit me a couple of times, and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, but it always ended with a request to "borrow" money (actually "take"). Usually he wanted about $1000 each visit, so I came to dread his visits LOL. I'm just an ordinary person, so $1000 is a lot of money to me. But mostly it hurt my feelings to think that he really didn't care about me as a person.

The priest sounds like he needs reporting to his bishop by the sound of it.

 

 

In regards to your issue of self-hatred, I also suffer from this and also consider myself a failure. I can't tell you how to deal with it only that it is better with God then without. Have faith as hard as this can be.

 

In Christ.

Daniel, 



#11 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:43 PM

Not sure why this one is for me, however, having read the posts from the last couple of days here, I think that the base issue is that the person in question (Bob?) does not believe in God - at least not in the way that we in the Church do.  It seems that he has the need to take on all God's tasks, such as meting out forgiveness, assigning value to life etc.  The spiritual life in the Church is not about loving and accepting oneself, it is about loving God and accepting with peace all that God gives.  This requires not that we love ourselves, but rather that we believe that God loves us. We have to put ourselves completely into God's hands and trust Him to deal with all the ugly and horrible things about ourselves and consider all the things that come to us in this life both "good" and "bad" are actually the hand of God treating our own deficits and diseases.  With this attitude, we don't need to "enjoy life" nor do we even need to be "happy", but we can be content that our Maker and Creator loves us and is correcting all the things in us that we may have messed up (no matter how bad we mess up, He is still able to correct it.)

 

Any advice I might have comes down to this: Stop depending on yourself, repent and return to the Church and whether you understand it or not, whether you "feel" it or not, whether you enjoy it or not - live the life that the Church prescribes.  Our hope is not fulfilled in this life, but in the life to  come.

 

Fr David

 

Thanks, Fr David. I think forgiving ourselves is important - even for devout Christians. If we hate ourselves, then the commandment "love your neighbor as yourself" becomes "hate your neighbor as yourself". It's ironic that people who are treated poorly by life often become the "bad guys", while people who are treated kindly by life often become the "good guys". It is easier for a happy person to love other people, and it is easier to be happy if your life seems "good" to you.

 

I don't think I can believe in Christianity in the traditional way now. I think the historical Jesus was a prophet of doom who was wrong. I think there might be a God and something kind of like the Logos, but I don't know how to connect that with the historical Jesus.



#12 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:50 PM

The priest sounds like he needs reporting to his bishop by the sound of it.

 

 

In regards to your issue of self-hatred, I also suffer from this and also consider myself a failure. I can't tell you how to deal with it only that it is better with God then without. Have faith as hard as this can be.

 

In Christ.

Daniel, 

 

Thanks, Daniel. :) I'm glad there is somebody else who understands the self-hatred. I am 50 years old, and it is such a habitual way of thinking that I only recently realized that it was abnormal and causing other psychological problems for me. I think it started when I was a teenager and has grown worse with time. When I thought I saw God and/or Jesus as a light in my dream, the approval and love was helpful. I just don't know what I believe anymore.



#13 Rdr Daniel (R.)

Rdr Daniel (R.)

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 704 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 11 October 2016 - 05:00 PM

Thanks, Daniel. :) I'm glad there is somebody else who understands the self-hatred. I am 50 years old, and it is such a habitual way of thinking that I only recently realized that it was abnormal and causing other psychological problems for me. I think it started when I was a teenager and has grown worse with time. When I thought I saw God and/or Jesus as a light in my dream, the approval and love was helpful. I just don't know what I believe anymore.

Don't worry about what to believe, even as Orthodox Christians our beliefs change as we come to know further the teaching of the Church let alone for those on the outside looking in. Also we can all believe and know exactly but still lack faith, so the important thing is to  have faith (trust) in God He'll reveal the rest. :-) 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#14 Phoebe K.

Phoebe K.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 11 October 2016 - 05:22 PM

Bob,

 

It sounds form my limited experience that you were unfortunate in coming across a priest who did not necessarily fully understand confession, though few of us rely do.  This however dose not mean you would not benift from talking with an experenced confessor, if you are in the UK I would suggest going to the monastery in Tolleshunt Knights as the fathers there hear a lot of confessions and understand the damage badly managed confessions can be.  I am shore many of the monasteries in the USA have fathers with simmaler experience.

 

My Spiritual father is in the process of writing a book on confession, based on the talks he has done which are on the website of the monestery he is founding here.  

 

Though understanding the theory behind why we do confession helps, as all catichisam dose, in the end it is our relationship with our spiritual father which effects our whole spiritual life.  It is with the help of our spiritual father we come to see ourselves as we are and relise the unconditional Love of God through the love shown to us by our spiritual father.  

 

Whatever the failings of her members in their humanity the Church herself will welcome you back as she loves just as Christ dose unconditionally.  when we struggle within the church we have the help of our fellow believers in person and in their prayers, which can make even the most difficult of struggles bearable because we are not alone in it.



#15 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 11 October 2016 - 05:54 PM

This may help -  http://www.antiochia...ely-home-heaven



#16 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 10:26 PM

This may help -  http://www.antiochia...ely-home-heaven

 

Thanks, Rdr Andreas, that was an interesting link. In my case, the self-hatred results from a feeling of failure in things like career, romance, social skills, etc. as opposed to failure at living a righteous lifestyle. Honestly, my dream is to die and have God pat me on the back before He annihilates me forever. I don't want to have an afterlife, because I don't like myself.

 

I need to change those negative thoughts, because they make me less able to do good to others, etc.


Edited by Bob L., 11 October 2016 - 10:34 PM.


#17 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 11:04 PM

Don't worry about what to believe, even as Orthodox Christians our beliefs change as we come to know further the teaching of the Church let alone for those on the outside looking in. Also we can all believe and know exactly but still lack faith, so the important thing is to  have faith (trust) in God He'll reveal the rest. :-) 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,

 

Thanks, Rdr Daniel, :) I'm in a weird state, because if I have read some books about the historical Jesus and the origins of Judaism that make me believe that Christianity is just a false religion. On the other hand, I remember things happening in my life that make me believe in a benevolent God and maybe even a Jesus. There are times when I really need to believe in God, because everything seems so bleak and hopeless. So that sounds like good advice.



#18 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 11 October 2016 - 11:11 PM

Bob,

 

It sounds form my limited experience that you were unfortunate in coming across a priest who did not necessarily fully understand confession, though few of us rely do.  This however dose not mean you would not benift from talking with an experenced confessor, if you are in the UK I would suggest going to the monastery in Tolleshunt Knights as the fathers there hear a lot of confessions and understand the damage badly managed confessions can be.  I am shore many of the monasteries in the USA have fathers with simmaler experience.

 

My Spiritual father is in the process of writing a book on confession, based on the talks he has done which are on the website of the monestery he is founding here.  

 

Though understanding the theory behind why we do confession helps, as all catichisam dose, in the end it is our relationship with our spiritual father which effects our whole spiritual life.  It is with the help of our spiritual father we come to see ourselves as we are and relise the unconditional Love of God through the love shown to us by our spiritual father.  

 

Whatever the failings of her members in their humanity the Church herself will welcome you back as she loves just as Christ dose unconditionally.  when we struggle within the church we have the help of our fellow believers in person and in their prayers, which can make even the most difficult of struggles bearable because we are not alone in it.

 

Thanks, Phoebe K. I bookmarked that website. When I was a Christian, I wished I had somebody besides our priest to give spiritual guidance. Despite how it might sound about his "borrowing" habits, our priest was usually nice enough but he had a lot of parishioners besides me. I was very confused when I was a Christian, because I was having hallucinations and delusions on top of the natural confusion from being a new convert. A close friend who was more spiritually mature might have been ideal.


Edited by Bob L., 11 October 2016 - 11:12 PM.


#19 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 12 October 2016 - 08:47 AM

I think that what Father David said is partly reflected in what Elder Sophrony writes about prayer. Soon after I met Elder Sophrony, I bought his book, His Life is Mine and I found (and still find) a passage and a prayer in this book which have been really helpful. Fr Sophrony seems to understand how broken a person may be but he assures us that we can be healed and made whole. This may take a long time and the course of the healing and mending may not be even. Here is an extract from the book and the prayer he mentions. Don’t worry about what you do or do not believe or understand but just read it every day. We don’t know what’s in our medicines or how they work but if we take them, they have an effect. So it can be with prayer.
 

True prayer operates in our innermost depths which we learn to hide from outside eyes. If I now venture to touch on matters sacred for each of us, I am urged to do so by the tragic atmosphere of tension throughout the world, and, more especially, by my consciousness that we belong together in Christ. Let us, therefore, as true brethren, share what it has been given us to know by a gift from on High. (I would ask you to pray as you read, as I pray God to inspire me with words pleasing to Him.)

Christ gave us the word that He had received from the Father (cf. John 17.14). He spoke of Himself as the stone which will break all who fall on it and will grind to powder those on whom it falls (cf. Matt. 21.44). What then? Is it we who have fallen on this great and wondrous stone, or has the stone fallen on us? We do not know. But however that may be, we are precipitated into a world of realities whose existence we did not suspect before. In the old days when life for the majority flowed in the broad channels of established tradition, the word of Christ was so presented as not to disturb. But now, with the whole earth full fraught with man’s despair, with the protest of consciences outraged, with violence threatening to wipe out all life, we must make our voices heard. In our present peril decorous words which commit us to nothing are not enough. All of us today are in vital need of a firm faith in Christ’s eternal victory, that we, too, may become spiritually invincible. A very great deal depends on ourselves – to remember, for instance, that at the baptismal font we received new birth from on High, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Those who are baptised ‘with the Holy Ghost and with fire’ (Luke 3.16) perceive in their prayer that every given moment of our life is enveloped in Divine eternity. At all times and in all places we are held in the invisible Hand of our Heavenly Father.

It is usual for the Christian to be aware concurrently of the presence of the never-fading celestial glory and of the brooding cloud of death hanging over the world. Though the feeling of death torments the soul, it cannot extinguish the fire of faith. The prayer throbbing within us sets us on the frontier between two worlds, the transient and the one to come (cf. Heb. 13.14). This painful rending forces us into still more fervent entreaty. We recognise our sickness - the mortal power of sin working in us- and plead for a physician. Then He Who said that He was ‘not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’, adding that ‘they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’ (Matt. 9.12,13), does indeed answer our appeal. He heals our souls from every ill, giving new energy, enlightening with an undying light. The age-old experience of life in the Church has proved irrefutably that for prayer- that is, for God- no sickness of spirit is incurable. We may be born into the most unfavourable circumstances. We may grow up in ignorant, rough, even criminal surroundings, and be attracted by the general example. We may suffer every kind of deprivation, loss, injury. We may be deformed from birth, and know what it is to be despised, wounded, rejected. All that is unfortunate in the contemporary world may make its mark on us, possess us, even; but from the moment we turn to God, resolved to follow His commandments, a process of basic healing begins. And not only are we healed of our wounds or passions - even our outward appearance may alter. This happened often on the Holy Mountain. Men would arrive broken and reduced to a pitiful state by many years of depraved living, yet after a brief period of profound repentance their faces were good to look upon, their voices changed, they moved differently- and the spirit shone luminous within them. If any of my readers is suffering from some psychological wound occasioned by failure in life, he can attain to a regal freedom of spirit and radically change his whole life if he turns to God every day with a personal prayer such as this, for example:


Prayer at Daybreak

O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, Who of Thine inscrutable goodness didst call me to this life; Who didst bestow on me the grace of Baptism and the Seal of the Holy Spirit; Who hast imbued me with the desire to seek Thee, the one true God: hear my prayer.
I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom; no strength except in Thee, O God. Because of my unrighteousness I dare not raise my eyes to Thee. But Thou didst say to Thy disciples, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive’ and ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do’.
Wherefore I dare to invoke Thee. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Teach me to pray aright. Bless this day which Thou dost give unto me, Thine unworthy servant.
By the power of Thy blessing enable me at all times to speak and act to Thy glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom: aware always of Thy presence. Of Thine immense goodness, O Lord God, show me the path of Thy will, and grant me to walk in Thy sight without sin.
O Lord, unto Whom all hearts be open, Thou knowest what things I have need of. Thou art acquainted with my blindness and my ignorance, Thou knowest my infirmity and my soul’s corruption; but neither are my pain and anguish hid from Thee. Wherefore I beseech Thee, hear my prayer and by Thy Holy Spirit teach me the way wherein I should walk; and when my perverted will would lead me down other paths spare me not, O Lord, but force me back to Thee.
By the power of Thy love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in Thy sight and hurtful to my brother-man. Teach me what I should say and how I should speak. If it be Thy will that I make no answer, inspire me to keep silent in a spirit of peace that causeth neither sorrow nor hurt to my fellow.
Establish me in the path of Thy commandments and to my last breath let me not stray from the light of Thine ordinances, that Thy commandments may become the sole law of my being on this earth and in all eternity.

Yea, Lord, I pray Thee, have pity on me. Spare me in mine affliction and my misery and hide not the way of salvation from me.

In my foolishness, O God, I plead with Thee for many and great things. Yet am I ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness. Have mercy upon me. Cast me not away from Thy presence because of my presumption. Do Thou rather increase in me this presumption, and grant unto me, the worst of men, to love Thee as Thou hast commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength: with my whole being.

Yea, O Lord, by thy Holy Spirit, teach me good judgment and knowledge. Grant me to know Thy truth before I go down into the grave. Maintain my life in this world until I may offer unto Thee worthy repentance. Take me not away in the midst of my days, nor while my mind is still blind. When Thou shalt be pleased to bring my life to an end, forewarn me that I may prepare my soul to come before Thee. Be with me, O Lord, at that dread hour and grant me the joy of salvation. Cleanse Thou me from secret faults, from all iniquity that is hid in me; and give me a right answer before Thy judgment-seat.

Yea, Lord, of Thy great mercy and immeasurable love for mankind,
Hear my prayer.
 

To pray like that every morning is not easy. But if we pray from our heart, with all our attention, the day will be stamped by our prayer and everything that happens will take on a different character. The blessing that we have sought from the High God will beget a gentle peace in our soul which will have a miraculous effect on the way we see and interpret the world. The man of prayer beholds the surrounding scene in another light. Concern is quickened and the intrinsic quality of life enhanced. In time prayer will penetrate our nature until gradually a new man is born of God. Love for God, Who verily sends His blessings upon us, liberates the soul from extraneous pressure. The one imperative is to preserve this loving tie with God. We shall not care what people think of us, or how they treat us. We shall cease to be afraid of falling out of favour. We shall love our fellow men without thought of whether they love us. Christ gave us the commandment to love others but did not make it a condition of salvation that they should love us. Indeed, we may positively be disliked for independence of spirit. It is essential in these days to be able to protect ourselves from the influence of those with whom we come in contact. Otherwise we risk losing both faith and prayer. Let the whole world dismiss us as unworthy of attention, trust or respect- it will not matter provided that the Lord accepts us. And vice versa: it will profit us nothing if the whole world thinks well of us and signs our praises, if the Lord declines to abide with us. This is only a fragment of the freedom Christ meant when He said, ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8.32). Our sole care will be to continue in the word of Christ, to become His disciples and cease to be servants of sin. For ‘whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed’ (John 8.34-36). The end result of prayer is to make us sons of God, and as sons we shall abide for ever in the house of our Father. ‘Our Father which art in heaven…’.

 
I printed off the prayer so I have it with me at all times.
 
If you prefer a modern English version, there is one here: http://www.johnsanid...ophrony-of.html


Edited by Rdr Andreas, 12 October 2016 - 08:48 AM.


#20 Bob L.

Bob L.

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts

Posted 12 October 2016 - 02:22 PM

Thanks, Rdr Andreas, that looks like a good prayer. I can see some advantages to a long prayer that forces a person to spend enough time that the brain can quiet-down and think about the words eventually.

 

I used to say the Jesus Prayer for 30 minutes or so three times per day (or more). I hoped that God would help me with a visceral disgust that I feel towards my brother. (We became business partners in the family business when my father got cancer.) After several months with no improvement, I finally lost my temper and started ripping all my Orthodox books to shreds and throwing them in the trash. When I calmed down, I discovered that a cross necklace that my aunt had given to me had apparently vanished from the doorknob where it had been hanging before I lost my temper. This seemed to be a message that God was withdrawing from my life in response to my tantrum. I immediately apologized to God in a prayer and then my cat who was sitting by my feet hissed as though he was startled. I looked down and the cross necklace was laying on the floor by my feet. The leather cord was broken, but I just shortened the cord and hung it back on my doorknob.

 

So I still haven't solved that disgust that I feel towards my brother, and it is a huge problem for both of us. Now I don't believe in Christianity either. My therapists tell me I was having psychosis when I seemed to experience paranormal things like what I described with the cross necklace. It is hard to accept the diagnosis of psychosis, because people with psychosis normally have very obvious symptoms that require medication. I don't know what I believe about God, but I think the self-hatred is the source of many of my problems. I need to change that self-hatred. :)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users