“Sh'himo” is the Syriac word for “common” or “ordinary.” It simply refers to the prayers that are done on ordinary days when there is not a Feast of the Church being celebrated.
There are Sh'himo prayers for each day of the week (except Sunday which is considered a festal day commemorating the Resurrection of our Lord, on which we use the Qyomtho Prayers). However, our Church currently has the practice of using QyomthoNamaskaram only on the Sundays from the Feast of the Resurrection (Qyomtho) of our Lord until the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14th). From September 14th until the following Passion Week, our Church has the practice of using the Sleeba Namaskaram on Sundays, which is essentially the Sh'himo prayer for Wednesday.
King David, the Psalmist, who wrote “Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:164). In correlation with David’s model of prayer, the Church has developed seven hours of prayer and they are as follows:
1.Evening Prayer (Ramsho or Vespers) – 6PM
2.Bedtime Prayer (Soutoro or Compline) - 9PM
3.Night Prayers (Lilio or Nocturns, with three “watches” or Quamos) – 12AM
4.Morning Prayer (Sapro or Matins) – 6AM
5.3rd Hour Prayer - 9AM
6.6th Hour Prayer - 12PM
7.9th Hour Prayer - 3PM
The Hours of Prayer help us to mediate on the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. For example, at the 3rd Hour (9 AM), we are reminded of the time when Christ was put to trial and of his journey to Calvary. At the 6th Hour (12 PM), we are reminded of the time when Christ was hung on the Cross. At the 9th Hour (3 PM), we are reminded of the time when Christ gave up His spirit on the Cross. In the Night Prayer, we proclaim “Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Glory be to You, O God!” As we pray this, we are reminded of the triumphant Resurrection of our Lord. So, the times of prayer have significance in that they remind us daily of the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Sh'himo Prayers also have general themes for each day of the week:
Monday and Tuesday – Repentance
Wednesday – The Theotokos
Thursday – The Holy Apostles, Saints
Friday – The Holy Cross, Martyrs, Confessors
Saturday – The Faithful Departed
On Friday, we remember the Cross, as it was on Friday when our Lord was crucified. We also remember the Martyrs and Confessors who suffered for love of Christ. Saturday, we remember the departed as it was on Saturday when our Lord entered into Hades and preached the Gospel to the departed. Every Sunday we celebrate the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord. Praying the Sh'himo helps us to assimilate our lives to the life of the Church.
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