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Home>>Articles>>Praying with Orthodox Icons by Fr. Paul Halovatch

Praying with Orthodox Icons by Fr. Paul Halovatch

Religious icons are commonly referred to as "windows into heaven." Icons give a view into the eternal realm and can easily be an aid in prayer. Praying with icons is an ancient practice that involves using natural and "spiritual" eyes, seeing what the image communicates in both your mind and soul.

praying with icons

Be unassuming: Approach an icon with reverence; it unlocks the sacred and the eternal. Simply seek to observe and understand the scene and setting. Icons represent a heavenly presence and, as you pray, you interact with that presence.

Enter the scene: Become aware of the truths the icon opens to the mortal mind Adopt a sense of humility and respect for the holiness revealed.

Meditate: Where is your eye drawn? Consider how this component touches your life.

Spend time, allowing your heart to interact with the icon's subject.

Listen: Remain quiet in prayer, disposed to following prompts on your mind or heart. Don't strive to lead the prayer but allow yourself to be moved according to what is felt and observed.

Be grateful: Offer your needs and aspirations, trusting that they are received and understood. Don't end your prayer abruptly but spend some time in the presence of God giving thanks for the experience.

Prayer to an icon of Theotokos :

Dear Mary | Mother of God and our Mother | your gentle embrace of your Son, Jesus, I shows your great affection toward him and all of us, your children. | Instill in our hearts the same love and tenderness you have for Jesus. I Intercede for us with him in all our needs and teach us compassion toward the needs of all we meet. | In Jesus' name we pray. I Amen.

Prayer to an icon of St. Nicholas:

Good St. Nicholas I your endearing spirit and love for children, I especially the poor and the orphaned, I are known throughout the ages. I We are inspired by your love and generosity I especially toward those in need. I Intercede for us, bless us and protect us. I May we be enriched by your benevolence and loving example | that we may have a generous heart towards all God's children. | In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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