Why have an icon? Some benefits:
Sacred Object for Prayer
Here is a brief description of how an icon is a sacred object and praying with an icon.
TRADITION – The icon is “canonical”, that is io have been inspired by the Holy Spirit for generations. Colors and forms follow from the Holy Tradition of the Early Christian Church.
Icons were written by monks. These icons have been copied according to these traditions or canons.
ACT OF GAZING – When you gaze at an icon, the icon can offer a gift of teaching by the Holy Spirit. The icon is prayed with by the Icon Writer or painter of icons. The icon by having been copied in a similar way extends the tradition and can be a vessel of the prayers of the iconographers who have come before and includes prayers of those who have venerated or adored this icon in the past.
PRAYING – In sitting with an icon, you may be inspired to pray. The prayers can be short or one word prayers , such as uttering the “Jesus”, a memorized prayer of the church, or some personal prayers – words which come to you as you address God’s presence or ask to feel His presence.
The icon may affect you according to your prayers and receptivity. You may know or not know the story of the saint depicted. You can receive gifts from God which could surprise you. The Saint’s prayers who is depicted in the icon may be interceding for you according to the grace of God. You may feel inspired to pray or simply be quiet while gazing. There may be an emotional experience or insight while you gaze or pray with an icon. Icons have been called, “Windows into Heaven”.