How to understand church services - 7 tips
There are two types of prayer: individual and collective. The first involves our dialogue with God. This, in a sense, is a mystery: you never know what words and actions you will address God with today. Collective prayer involves a gathering of people and some logic of worship, prayers that everyone knows and together bring up to the Lord. In the church, we are one, but to become a part of it, we must consciously participate in church services.
A person who has just come to church is usually difficult to understand church services. Church Slavonic language seems to be quite “foreign”, the exclamations of the priest, reading and singing in the church - indistinct, censing, opening the royal gates, extinguishing candles - by some mysterious actions. It seems that the head is spinning from incense, thoughts do not allow to concentrate, it is necessary to repeat the movements of other people.
How to pray when you do not understand? We offer some tips for those who want to learn how to understand church services.
1. There is a desire to understand - embody it
Even if you don’t understand anything in the church but “Lord, have mercy,” but sincerely want to fully participate in collective prayer, you will succeed. We must be patient and study the church services both from the outside and from the inside.
During an individual prayer, ask God to reveal the meaning of church services to you. The Lord will not forsake sincere desire and fervent prayer.
3. Frequently attend worship
If you learn a foreign language, the intensity of classes plays a huge role. Knowledge of grammar fixed in practice. If you carefully listen to audio recordings, then after a while more and more text seems clear to you.
A similar mechanism works here: if you often go to church services, then you begin to see a certain logic of action, focusing on prayer helps to hear and understand more and more text.
4. Follow the text during the services.
First of all, get yourself a prayer book or a brochure with the text of the All-Night Vigil and Liturgy. This will help you understand the text and principle of worship.
5. Read explanatory books.
Reading the relevant literature helps to understand the types of worship, the principles of their conduct, the understanding of certain laws, the interpretation of incomprehensible moments.
In addition to the text of the All-Night Vigil and the Liturgy, such books will also be helpful:
- Charter of worship in questions and answers;
- Priest Konstantin Subbotin. Guide to the study of the Charter of the Worship of the Orthodox Church;
- Priest Konstantin Nikolsky. Guide to the study of the statute of worship of the Orthodox Church;
- Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann. Introduction to liturgical theology.
If you have questions that you do not find the answers to in the relevant literature, ask the priests. There is an opportunity to attend Sunday school for adults - use this chance.
7. Find yourself a ministry
For many, serving in the church has helped to deeply understand the meaning of church services. Find out if the congregation is studying with the regent troparians and prayers. Ask if those who wish for a general study of the Holy Scripture are going to see if they are looking for people to read in the temple.
Maybe the church helps children from shelters or elderly people who need your help? Active participation in the life of the parish helps to join the life of the church and become part of the congregation.