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Is it necessary to pray from the Agbia? The Agbia Psalms in particular are difficult to comprehend and thus this drives a wedge between me and God. Also, when there is lack of comprehension and relating to the Psalms your attention can be diverted from praying. This may turn prayer into a dreaded, disliked obligation. What can be done to prevent this? When I pray from the Agbia, I don’t feel satisfied that I have talked to God.
Requested and Answered by Billious-MicMek on 15-Jul-2005 23:43 (9232 reads)
Imagine you are learning to play a musical instrument – say the piano. You want to make beautiful music with it, music that will touch people’s hearts, but you just don’t know how. What are you going to do?

Very likely, you will first try to find a piano teacher, or even a book written by a piano teacher, that tells you how to go about learning to play. Sure, you can just work it out for yourself, but it may take a lot longer to work it out, and there may be some really important tricks to it that you never work out. How much easier it is to have someone show you the tricks! Of course, you still have to put in the hours of effort and practice yourself, but the result will be immensely more rewarding with a guide to the shortcuts!

Secondly, if you want to make really beautiful music, you will probably try to start with music that the experts have written, rather than just trying to invent tunes yourself. Later on, if you are really talented, you will be able to write your own moving tunes, but not as a beginner.

So what has this to do with the Agbia? Well, praying is a bit like playing the piano. Prayer is making beautiful music with God. It takes time and effort to learn how to do it really well – to do it so well that it really moves your heart, and perhaps the heart of God as well. And the same two principles above apply.

If you want to learn how to do it properly, go to those who can teach you. David the Prophet, St Cyril the Pillar of Faith and the other authors of the Agbia prayers were all people whose hearts were very close to God. And the Agbia prayers represent their deepest and most moving prayers, written down to teach us how to pray. Do you want to learn how to pray a prayer of repentance? Go to Psalm 51! Do you want to learn how to praise God? Go to Psalms 148-150! Or how to call out to God when you’re in trouble? Go to the first two Psalms in the Prayer before Sleeping. You can use the Agbia Prayers to teach you how to pray directly to God yourself.

The Agbia prayers have the added benefit of reminding us to say everything we need to say to God every day. If you pray them faithfully, not one day will go past where you forget to say ‘thankyou’ to God, or to repent from you sins, or to praise Him.

“But it’s still really hard to understand and concentrate on them,� I hear you say. Well here are a few practical suggestions you might find helpful:

• Discuss the matter with your confession father or spiritual guide. Get their advice and experience to work for you.
• Start small and gradually work your way up. Even if you just begin with one Psalm a day, and only increase it when you can genuinely pray it from your heart, you are doing very well. This matter needs guidance from your confession father.
• Let the Psalms that you usually pray be the subject of your personal Bible reading every day for a while. Think about their words deeply. Write down some contemplations about them. Get a commentary that explains them. Discuss tricky bits with your confession father.
• Share the prayer with someone else – your brother or sister or parents – some people find this really helpful.
• Others find it far more helpful to just pray alone in a closed room with no distractions
• Say the words of the prayers out loud as you pray. This helps you to maintain concentration. Say them with a tune. You can get cassettes / CD’s with Agbia prayers with tune at your Church bookshop, if you don’t know the tune. Let the tune reflect the meaning and emotion of the words (sad for sad words, happy for happy words etc.) Really get into it and enjoy yourself!
• Take the time to learn some prayers and Psalms off by heart. That way you can pray them in your mind when you’re stuck waiting for the bus or at the end of the shopping queue. You’d be amazed how many incredible understandings and insights come about at bus stations and supermarkets!

Finally, please don’t give up. Any progress in prayer is always a big battle because the devil knows just how good it is for you, and he doesn’t want you have it. Get tough, and “just do it�!