A Reflection on Personal Prayer

A Reflection on Personal Prayer


Once again I have the extreme joy of being with you.  I treasure these moments.  The issue of personal prayer is dear to my heart for a multitude of reasons.  I am convinced that the most  intimate thing that two humans can do is pray together at divine services or privately.  You may ask, “More intimate than the exchange of deep personal vulnerability?”  Yes, and more yes.  Personal prayer is about being directly aware of Almighty God, beyond our every thought or imagination.

My Own Personal Prayer Journey

At age 85 I have a rather regular and developed personal prayer life.  I am closer to end game and I continue to be “crazy as a lunatic.”  The center of my prayer life is the prayer of Metropolitan Philaret and daily meditation.  As a college student my prayer life was, well, to use a sanitized word, “inconsistent at best.”  I was a radically confused camper; I can’t remember having a prayer rule, but I would regularly go to the Roman Catholic Mass after work at the local cathedral.  The Mass at 5:40 PM was an oasis of calm and serenity in my otherwise turbulent life as student council president, fiancee to a lovely coed who loved me dearly, battalion executive officer in ROTC, vice president of the fraternity, and (by the way) a college student who changed his major three times.  Prayer didn’t seem to fit into my whirlwind turbulence.   Life is a process of growing up.  Little did I know that after college I would break up with my precious fiancee, resign as an officer in the army and become a Roman Catholic monk for 11 years; of course I had no idea at all that I would eventually convert to Orthodoxy… the church that brought me to the fullness of truth for which I am eternally grateful. 

Prayer Life of College Students

What I can say to you college students is be gentle with yourself.  Try to love yourselves as God loves you.  Or, said another way and borrowing from St. Irenaeus, “Relax in God’s hands.”  He loves you dearly and accepts your inconstancies.

Where to start?  Please try to have a simple prayer rule that you may not have the discipline to do regularly.  The prayer rule can be an analytic that you use to measure your relationship with Christ.  Some students start by making the sign of the cross upon awakening and making the sign of the cross upon getting into bed.  Not much, but it’s something.  The Trisagion is sometimes used after standing up.  Some students say the prayer by Metropolitan Philaret; but whatever you do please don’t ever despair, say “It really doesn’t matter,” and give up praying.  Despair, also sometimes called nihilism, is the greatest of all temptations.


Personal prayer is about becoming who we really are, becoming our best self who is Christ living within us.  Union without confusion.  “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  Personal prayer is the opening of our hearts to the living, loving God Almighty within us.  What could be better?

Prayer at the Beginning of the Day By Metropolitan Philaret

O Lord, grant me to meet 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 shall bring.   Direct

my will, teach me to pray, pray You Yourself in me.  Amen.

Dr. Albert Rossi

Dr. Albert Rossi

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Albert Rossi is a licensed clinical psychologist and Christian educator who has written numerous articles on psychology and religion. He has published two books through Ancient Faith Publications entitled, Becoming a Healing Presence and All is Well. Dr. Rossi was a member of the SCOBA Commission on Contemporary Social and Moral Issues for six years. He hosts the podcast Becoming a Healing Presence on Ancient Faith Radio.

Friday Prayers | Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret

Friday Prayers | Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret

Hey team! Every Friday in the month of November, my Blog Contributors and I will be sharing our favorite prayers and why we love them so much, why we find them so impactful. If you haven’t checked out some of our Blog Contributors’ awesome work, you should here and here and also here.

I’ll be kicking things off this first Friday with a morning prayer–appropriate, I think, for our first prayer. This, I don’t believe, is in your average li’l red prayer book–at least, it’s not in mine. I’ve added it to my morning prayers though. It was introduced to me in a little prayer book someone made for me at camp arts & crafts this past year, and I’ve used it ever since. It is the Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, and it goes as such:

O Lord, grant that I may meet the coming day in peace.
Help me in all things to rely upon Thy Holy Will.
In every hour of the day, reveal Thy 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 the firm conviction that Thy 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 Thee.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.
Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will.
Teach me to pray.
Pray Thou Thyself in me.

Wow. I’m still such a big fan. New little nuggets stand out to me every time I read it through.

I like beginning my day with this prayer for two big reasons. Firstly, because of my personal struggles, if there’s anything with which I need to ‘meet the coming day’, it’s peace. I think that holds true for a lot of us, but I can only speak for myself, and I know I need that peace.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Naturally. I’m controlling. I’m focused on outcomes. I’m willful. And just that opening line, sometimes it gives me pause, and I find myself really thinking about what it means and repeating it. “Lord, grant me to meet the coming day in peace.” I’m going to meet it, Lord–the coming day is, indeed, coming, and there is no way to stop life’s arrival. But if I am to meet it peacefully, I need Your help.

Secondly, and in a similar vein, at the end of the prayer, the supplicant asks for ‘the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring’. I just realized that both of my favorite lines are in reference to the ‘coming day’. That’s really cool, and it speaks to why we should think about what we think, think about why we feel what we feel–that introspection, that checking of yo’ self, reveals new truths. This prayer is so forward-oriented, so future-focused, and that’s in harmony with my attitude towards life. I didn’t realize that until right now. How rad is that?

As well as being future-focused, this prayer is honest–I think that’s my favorite part. Not to say other prayers are deceitful, but to say this prayer is plain, it is unabashed–really, it’s human. There’s an inherent admission in the prayer–the coming day will bring fatigue. No way around it. In the midst of praying in the morning, in the midst of starting my day in the BEST possible way…I’m still aware that the day will be trying, will be toilsome.

That’s amazing. How desperately we wish prayer would just take our struggles away, but that’s not the deal. Even in prayer, in the morning, when nothing could have possibly gone wrong yet!–the coming day will bring fatigue, and I need Your strength, Lord, if I am to bear it.

So, that is the Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow. I hope you can find some use in it–or, seeing it’s example, you can turn to your own favorite prayers and start wondering why they mean as much to you as they do. Until then, look out next Friday, for the next prayer.