For something the Orthodox Christian uses every day, the choice of prayer book can make a big difference. I have been using the St. Tikhon Monastery Press Orthodox Christian Prayers prayer book for quite a while now, and will share some thoughts on it, so you can make a more educated decision when trying to choose a prayer book for yourself.
Initially, I would like to share some of the features of this prayer book for those who wonder if they should order one and do not have a chance to pick one up and thumb through it, but then eventually, I would also like to share some of my little “hacks” for the book: things like marking tones to aid in singing and how I use some of the information included here that most prayer books do not have.
So, to start off, here are some of the reasons I love it:
- Every page has a page heading so you can more easily find what you are looking for. Some prayer books do not have this, and it is a pain to thumb through and find what you are looking for.
- It DOES NOT include Liturgy, which is a large section of many books that usually goes unused.
- It has a list of the main saints for the day, so you can easily commemorate the saint of the day without the need of some other resource.
- It has a wealth of extra prayers: for those times that you feel like you have a little extra time and want to do something extra or maybe when you have a need for something in particular, there are several canons and akathists, as well as short prayers for a lot of different situations.
- It is good looking. For something that I look at and use every day, I do not want it to be cheapy looking.
And this last point is not terribly important for most folks, but if you do any reading in your parish, even occasionally, it is nice to have the same wording as those texts at church. Of course, that depends on what materials your parish uses, but I have tried to work that problem the other way around here in this parish: any wording I can find in this prayer book or other St. Tikhon Monastery Press materials (especially the service books for clergy), I have brought into parish usage. With consistency like that, commonly-heard phrases start to pop in your head throughout the day: maybe the the troparion hymn for martyrs, or the Saturday evening Prokimenon, or something else.
I think St. Tikhon’s has really hit a home run with the Orthodox Christian Prayers prayer book. And I will share more later why I think that is the case.