Cleveland Prayer Group Website

Seven Times Prayers of the Orthodox System
By Jose Kurian Puliyeril

First of all, let us think what is prayer. Our Patron Saint, St. Gregorios, who was practically a man of prayer, has taught us “prayer is the enthusiasm of the childhood, dependence of the youth, and peace of the old age. Prayer is a golden chain which links the world in different ways to the presence of God.” In short we must understand prayer is an essential need to maintain the growth of our spirituality. 

Our Church Fathers insist us to have prayer in standing position, as it is the best way to express our respect to God Almighty. So we are not supposed to do prayers in the sitting position. More over we have been asked to prostrate (to do Sashtangapranam= Kumbideel) along with our prayers. Daniel 6:10 say that he used to prostrate three times a day. (See Ezekiel 3:23, 46; 2, Revelations 1:17, 11:16, 19:4, 22:9).

These portions show us that our Kumbideel is biblical. The literal meaning of ‘Sashtanga-Pranamam means respect with 8 parts of the body. These are the parts: Forehead (the source of our brain) Nose –(the source of our life giving breathing), two palms, (the source of our activities), two knees of the legs, (the source of our movements), both feet, (the source of our earthly journeys/walking from place to place.) So while we make the Kumbideel we join all these aspects and dedicates before the Lord God.

The day, which has 24 hours, has been divided as 7 times (Yamams in Malayalam). They are

1. Evening (6 P.M)
It shows the exodus from the bondage in Egypt and the time of Passover. (Please refer Exodus 12:6, Psalms 141:2

2. Bed time (Soothara- 9 P.M)
It is the time of the prayer of our Lord in the Garden of Gadsamane. Our Lord prayed to God the Father, remembering His death. We must meditate these facts and must be prepared for our earthly deaths.

3. Mid night (Pathira) -Meditate Acts 16:25.
This is the time to meditate the time of incarnation and Resurrection of our Lord.

4. Morning (6 A.M) -Meditate: Psalms 119:147, Psalms 88: 13, Psalms 5:3.
Remember that it is the time when our Lord Jesus was judged. Meditate on it.

5. 3rd Hour (9 A.M) -Meditate Acts. 2:15.
It is believed that it is the time when the Holy Spirit descended in the Mansion of Sehion. So also the time when our Lord started the procession carrying the heavy cross to Golgotha.

6. 6th Hour (12 Noon) -See Acts 10:9.
It must have been a practice of our Lord and his disciples to pray at this time. It is the time of the crucifixion of our Lord. (See St. Luke 23:24)

7. 9th Hour (3.P.M) -See Acts 3:1. Acts 10:3.
It is the time when our Lord’s death took place. So we must submit all our departed ones before God.

Considering the inability to conduct the Yaama Prayers at the exact timings, we have been permitted by the Holy church to conduct these prayers one time in the morning and the other in the evening. If so for the evening we have to pray the prescribed prayers for 9th Hour (the due prayers for 3 P.M) evening prayers and bedtime prayers together. And in the morning we must pray the prayers for midnight, morning, 3rd Hour (9.A.M), 6th hour (12 Noon) together. But those who could are permitted to have the noon prayers at the right time, with the common intercessory prayers.

Please note that the gap between a prayer time and the next is exactly three hours. The modern scientists and experts of the science of human body are of the opinion that a change in the internal systems is taking place in each human body at the strict interval of 3 hours. If it is true, think how great is the instruction of our Church Fathers to have Yaama Prayers at the interval of three hours.

We start our prayers with the Qouma Prayers, which starts with the praise of the H. Trinity and ends with the intercession to St. Mary. The word Qouma has derived from the Syriac term ‘Qoum’, which literally means stand/standing and hence the beginning prayers while standing are known as Qouma prayers. In seven times prayers, (in total 7 Yamams) there are totally 10 Qoumas. The midnight prayers have 4 Quomas and all the others have one quoma each. These 10 quomas are for the protection of our 5 external sense organs as well as the 5 internal sense organs. 

May God bless us all to carry out our prayers more meaningfully, so that we could have more and more blessings from God Almighty.

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