“…‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4: 6) . . . . “…When I fall, I will arise. When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7: 8) . . . . “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50: 15) . . . . “I delight to do Your will, O my God. And Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40: 8).

Selected Prayers…

I. Introduction
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Christian prayer is an important way of communicating with God, worshiping him, glorifying him, giving him thanks, and asking for his forgiveness, help and intervention. Its focus is on the reality of talking to a personal, loving, living God approached through the merits of the atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian prayer is not a burden which man seeks to fulfill and get rid of. On the contrary, it is a source of joy and peace of fellowship with our loving heavenly Father. It is grounded in the grace of God. It starts with God and ends with God. God’s grace is always surrounding, supporting and empowering us as we pray. Christ has taught that one should pray often at any time, and that God rewards the person who prays in the privacy of his room, and does not listen to the hypocrites who love to pray visibly to be seen and praised by men (Matthew 6: 5-6). Participating in corporate prayers shared in churches or meetings is good and beneficial only if it is not motivated by vain glory.

Prayers may be offered for one’s own needs, or for others expressing the bond of love between the members of the Church (Luke 22: 32; 2 Thessalonians 3: 1; Romans 15: 30; James 5: 16). However, prayers should focus on the glorification and praise of God, not on personal mundane petitions. In fact, the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ has taught us (Matthew 6: 9-13), emphasizes the glorification and the will of God. St. Augustine explained that saying that he regretted that it is easy to entreat God for worldly material things, and not ask Him for Himself, as if these things are better than its Giver. Christ has taught us saying: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6: 33). A question may arise: if God knows our thoughts and needs, why bother asking? This is the nature of love. Love loves to hear what it already knows. God understands our heart, even when our mind is a bit confused. He likes to be asked because the very asking enhances and deepens our relationship with him.

It is generally agreed that prayer is divided into three broad stages:
1. Prayer of the lips.
2. Prayer of the mind or intellect.
3. Prayer of the heart.
The person advances gradually from one stage to the other.  In the final stage, the prayer descends from the mind into the heart.  In this context, the heart means the center of human personhood and whole being.  The prayer of the heart is unceasing prayer.  It is not so much an activity as a spiritual state.  St. Theophan the Recluse explains, “The hands at work, the mind and heart with God.”  The grace of the continual prayer of the heart is a gift from God.  He confers it where he will on whom he will.

According to St. Theophan the Recluse, prayer has two forms.  The first is the strenuous prayer of the lips and mind which man himself authors.  The second is self-impelled prayer which God himself gives man.  The strenuous prayer is offered by man’s conscious effort empowered by the grace of God.  This leads to the self-impelled prayer of the heart which occurs spontaneously in the heart of man.  It is no longer man who prays, but the Holy Spirit prays in him.  "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8: 26-27).

The path of ascent to the unceasing prayer of the heart lies open to all.  Everyone may advance some distance along it.  No one is excluded.  The kingdom of God is within each of us (Luke 17: 21).  To pray is to constantly enter into this inner secret room of the Kingdom of God in our heart, and to stand before God conscious of his indwelling presence. The desire to experience God in all his glory and majesty draws us ever deeper into prayer, a thirst that can never be quenched.

St. John Cabasilas encourages unceasing prayer, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17; Luke 18: 1):
“At every hour invoke him, he who is the object of our meditation, in order that our spirit may be always absorbed in him and our attention each day centered on him.  To call on him there is no need for any lengthy preparation in prayer, nor for some special place, nor for reiterated groans.  In effect, he is nowhere absent.  It is impossible that he should not be in us, for to all those who seek him he is closer than our own heart.”

The life of unceasing prayer encompasses that we ourselves become prayer.  Paul Evdokimov writes, “It is not enough to say a prayer; one must become, be prayer, prayer incarnate.  It is not enough to have moments of praise.  All of life, each act, every gesture, even the smile of the human face, must become a hymn of adoration, an offering, a prayer.  One should offer not what one has, but what one is.”

Prayer is the mother and the queen of virtues.  St. John Climacus explains why it is the queen of virtues, “After a long spell of prayer, do not say that nothing has been gained, for you have already achieved something.  For after all, what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and to persevere in unceasing union with him.” Christ has taught us in the parables of the persistent widow and the friend in need of bread at midnight (Luke 18: 1-8; 11: 5-13) that persistent prayer is always rewarded.

This page provides selected spiritually uplifting prayers intended for different situations.

II. Thanksgiving (Samuel Pugh)
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Oh, God,
when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry.
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless.
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless.
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer.
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help by word and deed those who cry out
for what we take for granted.

III. Peace and Love (St. Francis of Assisi)
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make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master:
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

IV. To the Holy Spirit (St. Symeon the new theologian)
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Come, true light.
Come, eternal life.
Come, hidden mystery.
Come, treasure without name…
Come, incessant joy.
Come, light unfading.
Come, hope which will save all.
Come, resurrection of the dead.
Come, O powerful one, who fulfills, transforms, and changes
all things by your will alone.
Come, garland never withered…
Come, breath of life, consolation of my lowly heart.
Come, fill us with God’s presence.
Come, make our bodies temples of God.
Come, fill us with power to overcome.
Come, restore the image of God in us.
Come, strengthen our faith.
Come, empower us to speak and work for you in the world.
Come, forgive our sins.
Come, breathe into us the life of God, immortal, everlasting.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
As the fallow earth craves the rain, so we crave your presence.

V. Mercy and Forgiveness (2 Esdras 8: 20-36)
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O Lord who inhabits eternity, whose eyes are exalted and whose upper chambers are in the air, whose throne is beyond measure and whose glory is beyond comprehension, before whom the hosts of angels stand trembling, and at whose command they are changed to wind and fire, whose word is sure and whose utterances are certain, whose ordinance is strong and whose command is terrible, whose look dries up the depths and whose indignation makes the mountains melt away, and whose truth is established forever.  Hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servant, and give ear to the petition of your creature; attend to my words.  For as long as I live I will speak, and as long as I have understanding I will answer.

O look not upon the sins of your people, but at those who have served you in truth.  Regard not the endeavors of those who act wickedly, but the endeavors of those who have kept your covenants amid afflictions.  Think not on those who have lived wickedly in your sight; but remember those who have willingly acknowledged that you are to be feared.  Do not will the destruction of those who have the ways of cattle; but regard those who have gloriously taught your law.  Be not angry with those who are deemed worse than beasts; but love those who have always put their trust in your glory.  For we and our fathers have passed our lives in ways that bring death, but it is because of us sinners you are called merciful.  For if you have desired to have pity on us, who have no works of righteousness, then you will be called merciful.  For the righteous, who have many works laid up with you, shall receive their reward in consequence of their own deeds.  But what are mortals that you are angry with them; or what is a corruptible race, that you are so bitter against it?  For in truth there is no one among those who have been born who has not acted wickedly, and among those who have existed there is no one who has not transgressed.  For in this, O Lord, your righteousness and goodness will be declared, when you are merciful to those who have no store of good works.

VI. Psalms
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1. Doxology (Psalm 67)

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us,
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

2. A Plea for Forgiveness (Psalm 25: 1-11)

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

3. The Lord delivers His own (Psalm 34: 1-9)

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.

4. Hope in God (Psalm 43)

Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

5. Security in God (Psalm 91: 1-8)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

6. Triumphant Faith (Psalm 27: 1-10)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

VII. Miscellaneous
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1. The Trisagion:

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (3 times). Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

2. The Jesus prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

3. The shortest prayer in the Gospel:

“…Lord, save me” (Matthew 14: 30; Psalm 70: 1).

4. Devotionals:

(A) God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

(B) Lord,
take me where you want me to go.
Let me meet whom you want me to meet.
Tell me what you want me to say.
And keep me out of your way.

5. A cry for help:

(A) "... Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will" (Mark 14: 36; Luke 22: 42).

(B) "I called on Your name, O Lord, from the lowest pit. You have heard my voice. Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help. You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, “Do not fear!” O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life." (Lamentations 3: 55-58; Jonah 2: 2-9).

6. Starting a new day:

Thank you, Lord, for the new day.
Thank you for the precious gift of new time.
Please, Lord, bless it.
Guide me, lead me, and empower me to invest it in accordance with your will for me.
Fill it with Your love, forgiveness, healing, and wisdom.
All for the glory of Your holy name.

7. Spiritual life:
(Khalil Gubran)


Lord, help me to confront the mighty with the word of truth;
And not to speak falsehood to win the applause of the weak.

Lord, if you give me wealth, do not take away my joy.
And if you give me power, do not take away my sanity.
And if you give me success, do not take away my humility.
And if you give me humility, do not take away my self-esteem.

Lord, teach me to love people as myself.
And teach me to judge myself as I judge others.
And teach me that forgiveness is the highest level of strength;
And the desire for revenge is the first sign of weakness.

Lord, do not let me be afflicted with pride for my success;
Or with despair for my failure.
But remind me that failure is the trial that precedes success.

Lord, if you take away my wealth, leave for me my hope.
And if you take away my success, leave for me my perseverance,
that I may overcome failure.
And if you take away my health, leave for me the grace of faith.

Lord, if I wronged people, give me the courage to apologize.
And if people wrong me, give me the courage to forgive.

And if I forget you, please do not forget me.


8. A prayer to the Divine Son (Christ):

O the only Begotten Son, God the Word, who loved us, and because of His love, and through His love, He desired to redeem us from eternal perdition.  And since death was in the way of our redemption, He desired to go through it because of His love for us.  And thus, He ascended upon the cross that He may bear the punishment of our sins.

We are the ones who sinned, and He is the one who suffered.  We are the ones who were indebted to divine justice because of our sins, and He was the One who paid off our debts on our behalf.  For our sake, He preferred suffering over joy, toil over rest, shame over glory, and the cross over the throne which is carried by the Cherubim.  He consented to be tied by ropes that He may loose us from the bonds of our sins.  He humbled Himself that He may lift us up.  He hungered to satiate us, and thirsted to quench our thirst.

He ascended upon the cross naked that He might clothe us with the cloak of His righteousness.  He opened His side by the spear that we might enter and dwell in the throne of His grace, and that His blood may flow from His body that we may wash ourselves from our sins.  Indeed, He died and was buried in the tomb; then He arose that He may raise us up from the death of our sins and grant us eternal life.

My sins, O my God, are the thorns that pierced Your holy head.  It is I who has saddened your heart by indulging in the vain pleasures of the world.  What is this road that leads to death in which You are walking, O my God and my Savior?  What is it You are carrying upon Your shoulders?  It is the cross of shame which You have carried on my behalf.  What is this, my Redeemer?  What has caused You to consent to this?  Could the Great One be disgraced?  Could the glorified One be humiliated?  Could the exalted One be humbled?  O how great is your love!

Yes, it is Your great love that made you accept and bear all this suffering for my sake.  I give thanks to you, O my God.  And all Your angles and creation give thanks to You on my behalf, for I am unable to offer Your praise as befits Your love.  Have we ever seen a greater love?

So, be sorrowful, O my soul, for your sins that caused these sufferings to your compassionate redeemer.  Portray His wounds before you, and take refuge in Him when the enemy rages against you.  Grant me, O my Savior, to cherish Your suffering as my treasure, Your crown of thorns as my glory, Your pains as my joy, your myrrh as sweetness in my mouth, Your Blood as my life, and Your love as my honor and gratitude.

O my Lord Jesus Christ, who was wounded on account of our sins, and by Your bruises we were healed, wound me by the spear of Your healing divine love.  And by the blood of Your cross purify me from my sins.  Cheer me by Your love, O You who accepted death for my sake that You may redeem me and give me life.  O my beloved Lord Jesus, if You see me a withering member, revive me with the oil of Your grace and confirm me in You as a living branch, O true vine.  And when I come forth to partake of Your mysteries make me worthy of them, and ready to be united with you, so that I may dare without fear to call on Your Holy Father, who is in the heaven with the voice of a child.

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