Prayer"He who is able to pray correctly, even if he is the poorest of all people, is essentially the richest. And he who does not have proper prayer, is the poorest of all, even if he sits on a royal throne." - St John Chrysostom
Prayer is the elevation of the mind and the heart to God in praise, in thanksgiving, and in petition for the spiritual and material goods we need. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to enter into our inner room and there pray to God the Father in secret. This inner room means the heart, the core of our being.
The Apostle Paul says that we must always pray in our spirit. He commands prayer for all Christians without exception and asks us to pray unceasingly.
Orthodox Christians engage in both corporate and personal prayer. One’s individual prayer life is balanced with participation in the liturgical services of the Church where the whole community gathers for prayer and worship.For more on prayer, go to this link.
Praying for the Dead
The question has often been asked: "I am interested in what I understand to be an Orthodox tradition/custom of prayers, etc. on anniversaries of the death of a loved one. Any information would be very much appreciated."
Fr John Matusiak answers: "While there are a number of variations depending on place and time, in general prayers for the departed are offered immediately upon the death of an Orthodox Christian:
There is a special Rite for the Parting of the Soul from the Body which may be celebrated at the moment of death.
During the period of time between the actual death and burial: Special services for the departed, variously known as the “Panikhida,” “Parastas,” “Pomen,” “Mnemosyno,” etc. are celebrated as the time of the Funeral Service approaches. In some traditions the Divine Liturgy is also celebrated on the morning of burial, in which case the Funeral Service is often celebrated the preceding night. A brief “Panikhida,” sometimes called a “Litiya,” is celebrated at the burial site, followed the prayers for the “sealing” of the grave.