How to pray?
The Divine Liturgy is the summit of the liturgical life of the Church and in Greek means “common cause”. In the Liturgy, the Church on earth is united with the heavenly Church in glorifying its Lord. Therefore, the faithful must, above all, “with one heart and one voice”, actively participate in all the prayers and chants that take place in church, responding, together with others, to the celebrants’ prayer invocations. These prayers and chants are a true “school of prayer” that encourages, shapes, and supports our personal prayer which accompanies them.
We set aside time for our individual, private prayers before and after the Liturgy, as well as before and after Communion.
When should we cross ourselves?
We make the sign of the Holy Cross on ourselves at designated times, for example, at the mention in prayers of the Holy Trinity (“Glory be to the Father…”), and when the celebrant blesses us with his hand (“Peace be to all”), or with the Gospel, the chalice, the cross, an icon, or any other holy object.
Stand, sit or kneel?
According to the tradition of our Eastern rite, our usual posture in church is standing. This posture expresses our spiritual attention and readiness to do God’s will. We may sit during the litanies, the reading of the Epistles and Psalms, preaching and announcements. We pay special attention to the time of the Eucharistic Prayer (especially from the words, “Let us lift up our hearts” to the singing “It is truly right to bless you…”), also to the time of Communion (from: “The holy Things to the holy” to “Stand aright! Having received…”).
In our Eastern rite, kneeling (as well as prostrations) is an expression of a penitential stance of the penitent before the Lord, so it is usually limited to the special services of Lent.
(under the auspices of the Commission for the Laity of the Chicago Eparchy of St. Nicholas)
to be continued…