Remember, you’re not praying to an icon. Rather, you’re praying with and through an icon. Say, for example, that you sit down to pray with an icon of the Beloved Disciple.
You’re not praying to the Beloved Disciple, you are entering into a conversation with the Beloved Disciple and asking him:
- What can you tell me?
- What can you teach me about being a Disciple of Jesus?
- What can you tell me about being beloved by Jesus?
- What was it like to be leaning on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper?
- How can that be for me?
- How can I become a beloved disciple?
The icon becomes a chance for contact and conversation; it invites us into relationship. The icon of the Beloved Disciple isn’t simply a picture of John leaning on Jesus’ shoulder. It’s a representation of the real love that these two people had for each other. So praying with an icon of the Beloved Disciple is really praying about that kind of love, using it to help us pray for that kind of relationship with the Lord.