“You have given us these common prayers, offered in symphonic unity. You have promised to grant the requests of two or three gathered in Your name. Fulfill now the petitions of Your servants for our benefit, giving us the knowledge of Your truth in this world, and granting us eternal life in the world to come.” (Priest’s Prayer of the Third Antiphon, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
Here’s another gem from the little-known treasure that is the Liturgy. Before it begins today, let me reflect on the nature of “common” prayer, that is, liturgical prayer. Let me prepare to join in the actual prayer of the Eucharist, the Thanksgiving being offered in the “symphonic” (συμφώνους) and unified prayers of the Church, as the priest says in the above-cited Prayer of the Third Antiphon (chanted before the Small Entrance in the first part of Divine liturgy).
The common, liturgical prayer that I offer together with others inspires the private prayers that I offer alone, - and vice-versa. I need both of these, both liturgical and private prayer, to maintain a healthy prayer-life. Let me nurture both, so that I approach the upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving in symphony with God, myself, and others.