We must state clearly that nothing can substitute for the Divine Liturgy. It is the gateway to the Kingdom of Heaven. All of the other services begin with either the priestly blessing of “Blessed is our God, always now and ever and unto ages of ages,” or for private prayers and when a priest is not present we say “Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.” The Divine Liturgy and the other sacraments, such as Baptism, Unction, Matrimony, etc, begin with “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Sunday Divine Liturgy is not the only time that we pray, but rather it is the culmination of our week of prayer and focus on God. With this in mind, we find that the Church has given us a wealth of prayers for private/family use.

Every Orthodox Christian should have a Prayer Book. In it we find the very basic prayers that are expected to be done daily, such as Morning Prayers, Prayers before and after meals, and Evening Prayers. In addition to these we find the Paraclesis to the Theotokos, prayers throughout the day, prayers before study or undertaking a task, prayers for siblings, for parents, for children, and many more.

All of these prayers should be practiced daily, whether churches are open, closed or in some state in between. As Orthodox Christians our life is one of prayer. Our most intense and heartfelt outpouring of the soul is done during our private prayer. Our Lord Himself told us, thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matt. 6:6).  That is what the faithful have done since the earliest days of the Church.

– ‘The Veil’ of the Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery in Colorado

**We are pleased to include writings from modern American Monasteries from time to time as well as our traditional Elders**