The prayers in the “Agpeya” are the seven prayers recited at fixed different hours of the day. Each hour includes a general introduction, Psalms, intercessions, a few biblical passages, a closing prayer, and a general prayer to conclude all the prayers included at a specific time of the day.
Why do we use the Agpeya for prayer?
We use the Agpeya when we pray due to the spirituality and idealism of its contents, as well as for several other reasons, namely:
1- It helps us to be in the presence of God.
2- It teaches us how to pray. We need to learn how to pray. Remember how the Lord’s disciples asked Him: “Teach us, Lord how to pray” (Luke 11:1). By the assistance of the Agpeya we learn what to say in our prayers and what is the appropriate way to speak to God. Besides, our tongues and hearts become trained in conversing with Him. A person who prays without the assistance of the Agpeya, will probably utter a few intercession and then close his prayer
3- It teaches us how to praise and glorify God.
4- It contains detailed prayers and supplications that help us. Who of us remembers to pray, on his own, for the remission of sins: “those committed intentionally and unintentionally, in knowledge and in ignorance, in secret or openly?” All these, however, are included when we sue the Agpeya to assist us in our prayers.
Who of us remember to mention all the details that the Agpeya helps us to say by including in its contents in the concluding prayer for every hour: “Sanctify our souls, cleanse our bodies, straighten our thoughts, purify our intentions, heal our sicknesses, forgive our sins, deliver us from every destructive grief, distress, and heartache, surround us by Your holy angels, that, guided and guarded within their camp, we may attain the unity of faith…”
5- God desires that we pray from the Agpeya. We often pray and receive no answer as our prayers are not in accordance with God’s will. That is why we say in our Lord’s prayer: “Thy will be done…”All the prayers included in the Agpeya are in accordance with God’s will as most of them are Psalms which David wrote through the Spirit (Matthew 22:43The other prayers in the Agpeya have been set by the holy fathers, and they comply with the spirit of the Holy Bible.
6- It reminds us of important events throughout the day.
- For instance, in the prayers of the “first hour” or “Prime,” we commemorate the eternity of God and His incarnation. Moreover, we admit that he is the True Light and we pray that he shines in us and enlightens our being.
- In the prayers of the “third hour” or “Terce,” we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, and pray that It may work within us.
- In the “sixth hour” or “Sext,” we commemorate the Lord’s crucifixion and all the emotions associated with this event…
- At the “ninth hour” or “None,” we commemorate confession of the thief at the Lord’s right hand, and the Lord’s death on our behalf.
- At the “eleventh hour” or “Vespers,” we remember those who came to the Lord at the end of the day: at the eleventh hour.
- In the “twelfth hour” or “Compline,” we remember death, the transient world, and the final judgment; and how we should get ready of that day.
- At midnight, we mention the Lord’s second coming and what that involves in the way of vigilance, repentance and tears… There is no doubt that through the Agpeya, we can remember all these holy events. Moreover, they could become an integral and unforgettable part of our feelings and beliefs. They could have a strong impact upon our souls so hat a change would appear in our daily lives and dealings.
7- It helps us focus our minds on the Lord. No more than three hours pass, between one prayer and another, before we are ready to start praying again. In this way, we are enables to lift up our hearts towards God all through the day and night. Our thoughts do not stop, neither do our hearts and souls cease from turning to God. Thus we are able to carry out God’s commandments: “That men always ought to pray and not lost heart” (Luke 18:1) and to: “Pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17).
8- It is easy to observe these commandments by studying the Agpeya prayers and repeating them without referring to the book. we can do so throughout the day, by lifting our hearts in silence, and without drawing anybody’s attention, even for a few moments… we observe time in the presence of the Lord which fulfills an ultimate need within us.
9- It helps to teach us about Dogma, or the Faith of the Church.
10- It helps us meditate and concentrate on the Word of God.
11- It preserves the unity of the Church.
12- Offering the same prayers unifies the hearts and feelings as well.
13- In fact, this helps to create a spiritual unity too. This is achieved through the use of the same expressions in prayers, sermons, and spiritual doctrines which occur in the Agpeya. It is also attained through the participation in the meditations and emotions inspired by the wording of the prayers in their consequent effect of the feelings of the whole congregation.
14- It helps us attain the pure prayer handed down to us by the Holy Fathers.
15- It instills the Christian faith in our hearts. Every time we pray, we also recite the Creed of Faith which inculcates its teaching within our soul. Through it, we also gain spiritual feelings. In the prayer “Holy, Holy, Holy” we further commemorate the Holy Trinity. In the “Prime,” we commemorate the eternity of the Son, His divinity, and incarnation. We remember that he si the Only Son enfolded in God’s embrace. In the “Sext” and “None,” we commemorate His crucifixion and death. In the prayers of midnight, we pray for His second coming. In the “Terce,” we commemorate the Holy spirit. In more than one prayer, we commemorate the eternally virgin mother, Mary. The Agpeya, moreover, carries an exhaustive repertoire of the holy names and features of God. Finally, through prayer assisted by the Agpeya we gain communion with the holy angels.
16- It regulates our prayer time.
17- It contains the whole spectrum of human emotions.
Think about it:
1- Describe two of the reasons of why do we need the Agpeya to pray ?
2- What is the first and third hour prayers commemorate ?
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