Pray with an Icon

How to Pray with an Icon: Essential Tips

Religious icons are sacred items that connect believers with God and teach them a great deal about spiritual life and faith. Praying with an icon is a contemplative practice where one experiences the relief and grace of God. It is also an intimate moment causing a flood of soothing emotions and feelings, which, however, requires a particular concentration and attitude. Below you will find several essential tips on how to pray with an icon at home.

How to pray with an icon

  1. The first thing to remember is that you are not praying to an icon; you are praying to God, often together with the person depicted in it. You should treat the icon as an intermediary between you and heaven.
  2. Before you begin your prayer, make the sign of the cross. You may also make a bow to show your respect for Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint depicted in the icon.
  3. To enhance your prayer time, light a candle or incense. This way, you will engage your sense of smell, thus improving your immersion in prayer.
  4. Then, simply look at the icon. While remaining silent, try to understand what is depicted in it. What does each element symbolize? What feeling does the icon bring? Praying is a contemplative process, and, therefore, you can reflect on the deep meaning of spirituality and the icon you are praying with.
  5. Take as much time as you need to pray with an icon. Start with 10 minutes of prayer. Read a text from your prayer book or turn to God using your own words that come from your heart.
  6. Be sure to thank God for the grace He has given you, His protection, and all the positive things that have happened to you lately.
  7. Usually, people pray in solitude, but sometimes religious families practice praying together as well. One family member may read the text of the prayer aloud while the rest of the family members repeat it to themselves. 

These tips will work for all people who keep an icon at home and believe in God. In fact, there are no clear rules about how to pray with an icon properly. The main thing is that your words should be sincere and filled with faith. In such a case, you will be heard for sure.