Tips from the Monastery: Practical Advice for ‘Praying Without Ceasing’

Wonderful tips! I have been asking myself nuns and pilgrims at various pilgrimages in monasteries in Greece and abroad how they memorise prayers, because the practice seemed quite widespread. Not being very good at memorisation, nonetheless such practises attracted my attention, especially after reading in Saint Porphyrios’ life how diligently he engaged in this task from his childhood, how greatly he felt his nous profited from it and how strongly he encouraged his spiritual children on it. I have found out that probably the most important “tip” is to commit yourself to this task daily, with or without notes, and soon the Holy Spirit comes to your aid and you feel the rewards.

lessons from a monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Originally posted in 2013)

Many times the sisters at some of the monasteries I visit will try to commit one or more akathists or supplicatory canons to memory. Here is how they do this:

Some print off the prayers they want to learn and cut them into small sections to keep in their pocket. When they are doing some of the more simpler jobs or tasks around the monastery they take out one piece of paper at a time and lay it in front of them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen they say that section over and over again until they have it committed to memory. Afterward they take out the next piece of paper, adding another stanza or ode and so on until they have memorized the whole thing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOthers will use small prayer books to do they same thing – taking them out to read when they get stumped.

In the monastery there…

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