My teacher and the Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s seminary, Fr. Tom Hopko, made a list of the ten essential conditions for coming to know God’s truth and finding life. You can find the list here. The third of the essential conditions is:
The person must pray, as they can. If they claim to be Christian, at least somehow, they should say the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers of the Church tradition, and attend Liturgical services, without serving or singing or reading. If they are not Christians, or are unsure, they must at least pray, “to whom it may concern,” saying something like, “if you are there, teach me, lead me, guide me…” Fr. Tom Hopko 3rd Essential Condition
These essential conditions are for those who are trying to find their way back to a relationship with God.
I like the direction that one must pray as they can. We can often find ourselves discouraged about our own spiritual life. We make assumptions and/or judgments about what other’s prayer lives must be like. We do share a common liturgical life. But we have to live our lives and not someone else’s. All the saints had their own sound in the symphony. St. Seraphim of Sarov read the entire New Testament every week. That was his way. It is probably not yours.
It is easier to be in services if we are busy leading them. To attend the services without serving, singing or reading is good counsel. It is more difficult to just come and try to pray. Serving, singing and reading can distract us from the Lord.
I am curious about what your thoughts are about Fr. Tom’s 3rd condition.. What do you think?