Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 41

Prayer 41

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Son of the living God, blessed in all things,1
whose awesome birth by your Father passes
all understanding,
for whom nothing is impossible,2
before the dawning of the uneclipsed rays of the mercy of your glory
sins melt away, demons flee, transgressions are erased,
bindings are cut and chains undone.
The dead are born again, infirmities are cured,
wounds are healed, corruption is cleansed,
sadness withdraws, sighs retreat,
darkness flees, fog departs,
twilight vanishes, darkness lifts, the night passes,
alarm is banished, evil is destroyed, despair is exiled.
And your omnipotent hand rules, redeemer of all.

B You who came not to destroy our mortal souls, but to give them life,3
forgive my countless wrongs with your abundant mercy.
For you alone are in heaven beyond words, and on earth beyond understanding,
in the substance of existence unto the ends of the earth,
the beginning of everything and the completion of
everything in all ways, blessed in the highest.
Glory forever to you
with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

1. Mt 16,16.
2. Lc 1,37, Gn 18,14.
3. Lc 9,56.

Prayer 42

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Lord God of compassion, salvation and mercy,
redemption and restoration, healing and health,
enlightenment and life, resurrection and immortality,
remember me, when you go to your kingdom,
O awesome, mighty, doer of good and creator of all,
living, praised, perfecter of all,
accessible to the sighs of all beings.

With the man who was crucified with you,
who was not captured for your sake and was not bound,
was not hanged and was not nailed,
was not beaten in your great name and
was not disgraced,
was not tortured and was not treated with contempt,
was not crushed and was not killed,
I beg to be worthy of the Kingdom and
the most desired light that is the reward of the just.
May you, by the authority of saying the oath, “Amen,”
affirm that your gifts are unchanging and
are glorified for giving the hope of salvation to
those of us
that consider ourselves totally abandoned.

B Blessed, blessed, and blessed again!
Having accepted me by that same faith,
raise me up from my fallen state, doer of good,
cure me of disease, merciful,
return me from the edge of death to life, lifegiver,
for I am yours, same as man’s faith, my refuge.
Grant the breath of life to the body of the dead,
O resurrection,
life, immortality, and inexhaustible joy,
boundless grace, unwavering forgiveness,
omnipotent right hand, all-governing hand,
all-reaching finger,
you have only to wish it, Lord, and I shall be saved,
only to think it, and by your mercy shall I be justified.
Say the word, and I will be found spotless.1
Forget my wrongs, and I shall venture to emerge.
Cultivate me and I shall cleave to you,
you who are glorified in all things forever.

1. Mt 8,2 Mt 8,8.

Prayer 43

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A With every possible facet of the art of healing,
Lord Jesus,
cause of all healthy life,
mighty heavenly king,
God of all things apprehended by the mind and
by the eye,
join me in the words of the prophet,1
“And behold, through this union with you
through these words,
your light shall break forth in me to heal
my breath and body,”
you who are mighty and invincible.

B To heal our spiritual wounds, you do not
need ointments,
nor time, nor intermediaries,
nor the passing of days,
nor the changing of prescriptions,
nor amputation, nor cauterization, nor surgery
as practiced by earthly medicine,
in which there is always trial and error,
often grave error.
But for you, the creator of the soul and body,
all is illumined,
all is clear,
all is written,
all is easy,
all is possible,
wisdom leads,
promises are kept,
wishes are fulfilled.
Your testament is the gospel.
Your judgment is freedom.
Your lawbook is grace.
You are not limited by laws.
You are not bound by canons.
You are not hampered by imperfections.
You are not humbled by obedience.
You are not restricted by smallness.
You are not measured by boundaries.
You do not err out of anger.
You do not alter out of wrath.
You do not misjudge out of severity.
You do not simmer out of agitation.
You do not falter out of ignorance.
You do not waver out of soft-heartedness.
You do not diminish out of exaltation.
You do not abandon your duty of care.
You do not weaken your salvation.
You are the beginning and the end of all.
Everything is from you alone.
Therefore glory to you and worship forever.

1. Is 58,5-8.

Prayer 44

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Boundless God, genuine son of God, inexplicable,
creator of everything, Christ King,
light for the darkened hearts of the unknowing,1
light who took human form like us,
but are in essence like him who sent you,
whose form is miraculously revealed through ours.
Blessed by your heavenly Father,
who sent you and with whom
you share glory for creation.
You care enough for my salvation, an exiled slave,
that you delivered yourself to evil men2
and without resorting to your divinity
drank from the cup of death for me, a sinner,
according to the plan of your divine economy,
with true humanity and perfect divinity.
And the Holy Ghost is also of the same essence as you and the Father,
equal in honor with the Son and the Father,
one perfect trinity in three persons indivisible,
without beginning or time,
benefactor to all, life giver of all, peacemaker of all,
creator of existence and shaper of all things,
glorified with one indivisible nature.

B For the sake of my transgressions for which
I am condemned to death,
the merciful Father, heavenly, almighty, one of
the divine essence,
has offered the only son of his bosom.
His beloved son, his equal in honor he did not spare,3
but willingly gave him to death by the arms of
his tormentors,
as foretold by the prophet Zechariah:
“For raise the sword upon the shepherd,
and strike down the keeper of the flock,
and the flock shall disperse.”4
The Old Testament also gives another example5
of vows at the altar and the blood of the offering in
the story of Abraham’s sacrifice,6
which described to me how you wished
to save the wretched.
So now, why do you grieve, my soul?7
You are not destroyed by God
but by your own doing.
And why am I upset,
my mind reeling with satanic despair?
I should trust in God, confess to him
and he will care for me,
as David wrote in the Psalms,
and the Prophet counseled.8

C The ways of the creator surpass
the understanding of angels and mortals.
If I were to try ten thousand times, my words
could not capture it,
for his good works are beyond comprehension
and description.
One of the blessed trinity
sent another of the trinity
and to please the will of the sender,
he died. And the third, according to
the wishes of the other two
worked together for the same good
with the same will.
As the soul is for the living beings and
thought for the rational beings,
as radiance is for glory, and form for substance,
as caring for life, and mindfulness for mercy,
as giving in charity, and resolve in salvation,
as abundance in generosity, flow in continuity,
as fullness for perfection, richness in inexhaustibility,
as long in forbearance, exalted in unreachableness,
they are one perfect trinity, of three persons,
blessed forever.

1. 2P 1,19.
2. Jn 3,16.
3. Rm 8,32.
4. Za 13,7.
5. Ex 17,11-12.
6. He 9,19-21 Gn 22,1-19.
7. Ps 42,6.
8. Ps 41,6-7 Ps 41,12 Ps 42,5; Is 40,1 Is 40,31; Lm 3,24-25 Na 1,7.

Prayer 45

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now, confess, my ruined soul
with hope in your heart for salvation
with the belt of faith tight over your kidneys,1
confess your thoughts to God
as if thoughts were actions,
as if plans were accomplishments,
as if invisible were seen,
as if the heart’s secrets were voiced,
as if sinful intentions were committed wrongs,
as if words were deeds,
as if footprints were flight from God’s will,
hands raised in anger as if they shed blood,
abandoned laughter as if abandoned grace,
vows both reasonable and unreasonable
as if compacts with the devil,
haughtiness as if it could detract
from our creator,
uneasiness of heart as if a lack of faith,
cowardice as if it were defeat,
complaints about passionate temptations
as if betrayals of a vow to the Lord,2
insolence as if it were impiety,
arrogance as if precious vanity,
pride as if fondness for evil,
the involuntary as well as voluntary,
the forced as well as the consenting,
the extrinsic as well as the intrinsic,
the lawless as well as the ungodly,
the smallest as well as the greatest,
the few as well as the many,
the things I have left unspoken as if
they were spoken by the all-knowing,
the unwritten wrongs as if
they were carved by the all-seeing upon a lodestone,3
the slightest contentious thought as if
it were the gravest of burdens,
a hidden matter of measure as if
it were the just demand for payment of tribute
in the amount of four drachmae
from the mouth of a baby whale,4
buried deeds as if they were speeding to the ear of God.
Compile and compound them redoubling your effort,
and lament here again what is not, as if it were.
Offer your vanquished soul to God
so that you might receive the forgiveness of sins,
like the sinner who through the Lord’s grace
was justified,
eloquently proclaiming the merits of repentance rather than faultfinding.5

B Now compile and condemn your soul’s sins,
reproach yourself with varied images, my soul,
in a relentless stream of words:
evil, disobedience, error,
desertion, surrender,
rage, impudence, stupidity,
stupor, daydreaming, slumber,
pagan thoughts, base words,
pleasure in dissolution, dalliance,
desire of what is hateful to God,
impious, incorrigible, uncivilized,
faulty, feeble, weak, stingy,
untethered, ridiculous, lusting,6
comic, scandalous, deceitful,
brazen, quarrelsome, outlaw,
suffocating the soul, shaking cowardice,
unruly branching bush,
dishonorable indulgence, contentiousness, sulking,
baseless hatred, lax titillation,
failure to weigh small things, breach of promise,
forgetfulness of vows, distortion of similarity,
disguised by veils, extravagance of glory seeking,
arrogance, roguishness, egotism,7
will to power, conspiracy with criminals,8
meaningless gossip, vicious behavior,
collaboration with the conniving tempter,
confusion, selling of life for the price of butchery,
loss of tradition, betrayal of homeland,
attractive bondage,9
yoked to lawlessness like oxen,10
living in filth, abandoning the good,
giving in to bad impulses, worse than
before conversion,11
new designs, untoward intentions, unstable will,
pointless shouting, letter over spirit,
lawlessness, despotic rule,
and other things that cannot be spoken, written, told
or countenanced.

C And now, how shall you be cured, my poor soul,
after suffering so many slashes of the lance?
You are like an abandoned, exiled man, incurable,
as the Prophet wrote.12 Anyone would be condemned
to death for the wrongs listed above, let alone if besieged
by the hordes of killers and vicious executioners.
And these descriptions fail to convey fully
the weight of my misfortune.
Although my skin-covered vessel may look
good from the outside, it is teaming with evil within
as if swarming with scorpions that sting
with the deadly poison in their tails.
It is a storehouse of ruination and mass of grief,
filled with agents of destruction and sowers of death.

D And now, your store of iniquities,
the accumulated wages of your wicked ways,
my soul, are enough to condemn you twice to death.
Seeds sown by the enemy upon the grain fields
of the world,13
which you willingly accepted in yourself,
unclean man, dishonest and lazy, completely hateful,
gluttonous lover of all that is filled with corruption,
for which the Apostle saved some of his most fearsome words of reprimand:
“And those who know,” he said, “God’s law, and still
do such things or are willing to do so,
are deserving of death.”14
Thus, I myself am deserving of double
condemnation to ruination and death, but still
I pray you, spare me, with your mercy,
O God, compassionate, living, mighty,
obliging, able, potent,
blessed forever.

1. Ex 29,13, Lv 3,4, Jr 12,2, Jb 16,13, Sg 1,6.
2. 2Co 1,3-6.
3. Jr 17,1.
4. Mt 17,24-27.
5. Mt 26,7 Mt 26,13 Lc 7,36-50.
6. Jr 5,8.
7. Is 3,16.
8. Mt 23,6.
9. Lc 15,13.
10. Is 5,18.
11. 2P 2,20.
12. Jr 22,28-30.
13. Mt 13,24-28 Mt 13,37-39.
14. Rm 1,28-32.

Prayer 46

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now I am lost, forever punishable,
always immoral,
condemning myself to death,
shepherd of a flock of fetid sin, a flock of wild boars,
a despicable mercenary,1
a shepherd watching a flock of desert goats.
The image of the shepherds’ tent in the Song of Songs
aptly applies to me,2
for I do not know or understand,
by whom, in whose image or why I was created.

B Behold, you were formed like an angel,
on two feet that take and bring you,
as if in flight on two wings lifting you upward,
to gaze down on my fatherland.
O fool, why did you choose to be earthbound,
always preoccupied with the worldliness of
the here and now,3
carrying on like wild asses in the desert?4
On the lamp stand of your body, encircling your head,
a chandelier with many arms was placed,
so that by its light you might not stray and might
see God and know what is everlasting.
You were doubly endowed in the womb of reason,
so that you might speak with an unfettered tongue
of the victory of the good things given you.
And you were endowed with artful hands and
nimble fingers
to carry out the practical affairs of daily life
like the all-giving right hand of God,
that you might be called God.5
You are assembled of 360 parts and five senses,
the number of the days of the year,
and no aspect of your physical being remains invisible
to your sight or unstudied by your mind.
For some parts are thick and strong,
some are small and others necessary,
some are sturdy but sensitive,
some are sublime, important and noble,
some are necessary but humble,
and the explanation of the image of these things is engraved on you
as on an uneraseable monument, wretched soul of mine,
so that like the elements of time
and the continuous train of days around the year
by some inner law these parts function
in unerring and inalterable order.

C And now another spiritual image,
tied to the bonds of love uniting the church,
is also reflected within you.6
Like the yoke that mediates between the great
and the lowly,
the assembled body
established in the name of Christ is sometimes impaired,
as with the cutting off or loss of an unruly organ,
infecting the body.
Something is lost in your mortal structure,
feeling abode of mankind,
and the usual shape of the person undergoes
some disfigurement.
And now when the uniquely miraculous structure
in the living image of God,7
is completely condemned, my enslaved soul,
that original likeness is stolen from you as
by breaking the law in the Garden of Eden.
But by the light of the baptismal font
the breath of the Holy Spirit is received and
the image is restored to God’s likeness.

D And now, why did you give up heavenly glory
like the original man Adam did in the earthly
Garden of Eden? 8
Why did you yourself close heaven and lock
the door to ascent?
Why did you mix the clean water with
impurities of bitter tears?
Why did you soil newly washed clothes with dirty work?
Why did you put off the clothes given you
and put on the cloak of sin?
Why did you infect the purity of your feet
by taking the path of the fallen? 9
Why did you repeat the violation of just vows of
the Old Testament?
Why did you refuse the fruit of grace, as Adam did
the tree of life?
Why did you willfully lose the unshadowed hope
of eternity?
Why did you cover your face with brazen shame?
Why did you arm your enemies against you,
repository of stupidity?
Why did you venture into the snares of death,
abandoning the way of faith?
Why did you get caught on the fishhook of deception,
you who share the body of the life giver?
But again, relying upon him, call to him,
the redeemer of those seeking refuge, renewer,
savior, life maker and life giver,
merciful, caring, lover of humanity,
ungrudging, generously compassionate,
blessed forever.

1. Lc 15,15.
2. Ct 1,7.
3. Col 3,2.
4. Jb 39,5.
5. Ps 81,6.
6. 1Co 12,12-27.
7. Gn 1,26.
8. Gn 3.
9. Ct 5,3.

Prayer 47

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A What can I be, but speechless
before your awesome might?
What can I be but embarrassed and silent
my words only quiet dust in my mouth,1
when I hope for virtue
as the prophets advised?
Even if I open my clamped lips,
what would flow but more mournful elegies?
Nothing but the voice of my many wounds
pouring forth.

B And now, weeping with the great sinner,
who willingly committed mortal sin,
I join in his cry,
“I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned,
and to my lawlessness I myself am witness.”2
Weaving this cry with the words of the 50th Psalm,3
I conclude that the wages of my innumerable
sins are greater
than the grains of sand that make up the earth
and are scattered by the wind.
I have sinned against heaven and you.
Like the Prodigal Son, who though shamed,
received his father’s forgiveness,
I make my entreaty, prostrate before you,
my face twisted in grief, pleading:
Father of compassion, God of all,
I am not worthy to be called even a worthless,
irresponsible hireling,4
let alone “son,” or even to have this word
uttered about me.
Still accept me, a wandering exile, defeated by wounds,
faint with gnawing hunger.
Heal me with your bread of life,
confront me with mercy, for you are my first refuge.
Clothe me, a lawless sinner, merciful and
unvengeful God,
with the clothes of my former innocence.
Place, with your boundless generosity,
the ring with your seal of courage
on my sinful hand that lost everything by straying in sin.
Protect the soles of my bare feet
with the sandals of the Gospels.5
Guard me from poisonous snakes.
And even though I am wanting in virtue
you sacrifice the fatted calf of heaven,
your only begotten Son, out of
love for mankind.
Your blessed Son who is always offered and
yet remains whole,
who is sacrificed continuously upon innumerable altars without being consumed,
who is all in everyone and complete in all things,
who is in essence of heaven and in reality of earth,
who is lacking nothing in humanness and without
defect in divinity,
who is broken and distributed in individual parts,
that all may be collected in the same body with
him as head.6
Glory to you with him, Father most merciful.

1. Lm 3,29.
2. 2Ch 33,1-20.
3. Ps 50,3-5.
4. Lc 15,3-32.
5. Ep 6,15.
6. Jn 11,52, Ep 1,22-23.

Prayer 48

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Exalted and mighty God,
who has no beginning, no becoming, and no end,
observer with an unsleeping eye,
parent of the only begotten, glorious and inscrutable,
before heaven and earth,
justify granting your mercy to me to whom
it has been denied.
Celebrate my restoration to life.
Announce the good news for me who is dying.
Reveal your good will, O praiseworthy Lord,
to all creation.
Be true to your name, ineffable, and grant me,
a miserable sinner, renewed salvation.
Wipe away the mortgage of my sins.
And commute the death sentence upon my soul
with the blood of your beloved Son.
With his blood assure salvation for the good.
Show the majesty of your mercy at the bridal feast.
Do not shut me, a supplicant, out of the house of life.
Do not bar me from your banquet table and do not deprive me of your bounty.1
Do not keep the debts of my iniquity in your safe.2
Do not seal the vileness of my dissipation in
your good purse.3
Do not cover my diseased body with the wounds
of my sins.
Do not preserve the infectious deterioration of
my aching body to be buried with me,4
but lift away the corrupting decay with your mercy,
so that I might be restored to health.
For my grave ills, Father of compassion,
prepare a strong balm.
For my fatal ailments, visit goodness,
for I am yours, Lord, lover of our souls.5
And although in one step I might commit
a thousand sins,
still, I would not be deemed as completely sinful,
beneficent giver of life,
having sought refuge in the grace of your gifts.
For to know you is complete justice,
and to know your strength is the root of immortality.
As the wiseman wrote in ages past,
your sovereignty causes you to spare all.6
And he is close to you; whenever you want
you can find him.7

B I take Solomon8 as the model for my prayer of hope.
For no other person has matched my sinfulness.
Once a beloved son, but later despised,
once a peacemaker, but later the sower of discord,
once the giver of the law, but later
the mortgagor of death,
trampling divine service under foot and taking
a foreign name,
instigator of discord, undeprived depriver,
contented thief, pampered complainer,
coddled fugitive, repulsive traitor, irresponsible vandal,
sweet curser, father-hating child,
betrayer of covenants, defamer of Moses,
forgetter of favors,
wise delinquent, knowing transgressor,
shameful lamenter, wavering penitent,
covetous idolator, sluggish convert,
doubtful acceptance, vacillating reconciliation,
shadow of the future, ambiguous salvation,
uncertain discovery, trace of a remnant,
deceitful slave, half-escaped but voluntarily surrendered,
like an overindulged ruffian, an eccentric genius.
And from the clashing of these two streams of words,
more reports of pity and praise,
with great shame and little honor,
as on a person whose ruin is self-inflicted and
mourning is mixed with blame,
his copious writings have encouraged people of
all ages toward virtue,
but his vices bring forth moans of grief from all lips.

C I am amazed, I faint, seized with doubt.
If Solomon strayed this much, what will become of me?
Why did the haughty fall?
Why did the steady falter?
Why did the sturdy collapse?
Why did the follower become alienated?
Why did the chosen son stray?
Why did the dear one flee?
Why did the shining tarnish?
Why was the teacher no longer an example?
Why did the famous turn obscure?
Why did the glorious become dishonored?
Why was the exalted humbled?
Why were the pious perverted?
Why was the chosen rejected?
Why was the covenant with heaven broken? 9
I am ashamed to say that he consorted with the Devil,
for what business did he have with idols?
Whence his love for graven images?
Why did he yearn for cults?
Did he not remember Samuel’s reprimand to Saul –
“Paganism is a sin”? Yet he labored and sacrificed for
the household gods.10
Why did he not remember the ancestral reproof?
“Idols,” it said, “are breathless, pagan demons.
And so are their priests.”11
Did not Moses scold his people with scorn,
“Only the Lord leads them, and there is no other
god for them but the one known to their fathers.”12

D Where is the death-bringing grotesque statue of Pagora?
Where is the ugly, infamous, accursed
female statue of the Sodomites? 13
Where is the embarrassing statue of a woman?
The image which the prophets condemned as ungodly and beastial and the demon of intemperance.
This woman who shoved Solomon’s ancestors into destruction, he mistook as a sign of favor.
Arrogance got the better of his wisdom.
Haughtiness enslaved it.
Pampering stupified it.
Silver enslaved it.
The weapons of the Destroyer deadened his soul,
and torn from the embrace of God, he strayed
to the path of iniquity.
Luxury killed him, sloth numbed him.
Intemperance poisoned him.
O, easily deceived mortal body,
with what cries shall I mourn you?
This contradiction is found not only in him,
but with all those who err, all who willfully do wrong.
For he proves that it is wrong to take pride
in the knowledge of the body14
unless guided by God’s judgment.
For even if a person is stupid,
if he places his will in the hand of God,
he shall not succumb as Solomon did.

E In addition, Solomon has left a horrifying account
of his perversion,
filled with self-accusatory reproof for being
truly dead to worldly honor.
To learn this truth, one need only read
the book of Vanities,15
or the books of the Priests, or the writings
of Saint Silon.16
In these he describes with sorrow the torments and
error of his ways.
Vain effort, fruitless labor,
mindless devotion, aimless wandering,
capricious activity, alien fantasies,
groundless praise, rotten harvest,
improper conjecture, trivial concept,
house built on sand, collapsed estate,
contemptible tasks, struggle against oneself,
judgment upon one’s own soul,
useless sweat, dangerous attraction,
road to destruction, wayward path,
ruinous education, unwholesome practices,
flawed eyesight, garish eye painting,
whorish get up, infectious germ,
revolting color, tragic splendor,
stifling smoke, smothering steam,
easily pilfered goods, fragile temple,
inappropriate cries, baseless ridicule,
despicable ambition, self-incriminating writing,
destructive path, ungodly thought,
lying speech, vexing stories,
empty faultfinding, crazed inquest,
shameful display, scandalous revelations,
impending dishonor, injurious acts,
sordid story, slothful example,
hidden pit, dark prey,
deathly pit, bottomless abyss,
murderous company, foolish prattle,
bandits’ hideout, dilapidated house,
shaken building, broken bridge,
fleeting phantom, deceptive flatterer, inhumane traitor,
antagonism toward the one on high.
Ecclesiastes put these confessional thoughts
into our heads as a prod to repentance
so no one might wound either soul or friend
with the arrows of disparaging words.
For a person who looks pious but whose acts
displease God
is like a pagan under a veil.

F As we now see, Solomon sinned as much as
he atoned for,
so let us not blame him but remember the good,
and let this be our hope as supplicants at the Lord’s feet,
so when he descends with the Spirit in undivided divinity
to redeem the righteous,17
we, the living, are assured of the good news by the example of the dead.
With Solomon whose wisdom I lack,
but whose sins I surpass,
I make this plea to your glorified greatness.
Fill my humble scribbling with his felicitous genius.
May my supplications mingle with the prayers of that penitent king,
and may they be answered through the intercession of that sublime monarch,
whom you set as a precursor of your only begotten Son,
and by whose lineage we have partaken of the glory of your co-equal Son.
Save your servant, all powerful, almighty, and awesome.
Increase your glory as creator
by granting repentance for our unforgivable sins.
In recognition of his good counsel, redeem Solomon too,
for he preached your divinity in the Old Testament
with words of sweetness, eloquence and edifying stories,
thus leaving the church footprints toward goodness
by teaching us to turn toward you, Father,
showing that except for a drop of despair that
dampened his heart’s fervor and spurred him
toward repentance,
he was not far from salvation.

G Now remembering Solomon’s goodness,
let us greet him with compassion, instead of
the blame with which he has been trampled and
pilloried for ages.
His repentance filled the banquet hall with
a torrent of tears that gushed over the roof.18
And in passionate penitence he exceeded his father.
I pray that your long-suffering forgiveness will blend
his tears with the tears of your Son, the Word,
who subjected himself to our frail human condition.
May the Psalm sometimes
thought to be addressed to Solomon
rather be addressed to your Son, co-equal in glory,
thereby granting him the sweetness of salvation
along with the other wretched of the earth.19
For living poets, it is ample reward for their words20
to be mingled with Solomon’s
and to be offered on his behalf
in harmonious prayer to you.
My justification for this plea is this:
his work, the parable of Job, the man from Uz,
is a work of miraculous talent and prophecy,
that alone earns Solomon a place of honor in
the ranks of God’s defenders.
Hence, it is acceptable to plead for him rather than
speak ill of him.

H Now I too, with greater confidence, hope
my cries will be offered to you with his,
for if you destroy us, judging us by our deeds,
your glory will not be diminished, for you will
be judged as just.
But if you accept us, you will be exalted
as befits your majesty.
Lean then, Lord, incline yourself in sweetness
with compassion and freely give the gift of
love to comfort us,
who like Solomon are chronically feverish with incurable
grief and turmoil.
Lay your hand of salvation on us.
Renew us, forgive and defend us
from the destruction of sin.
And to you alone, who are
the beginning without beginning,
the source of all beginnings,
the holy Trinity and One Divinity,
to you alone are due
glory and dominion forever.

1. Mt 22,3-16.
2. Dt 32,34.
3. Jb 14,17.
4. Ps 37,6.
5. Sg 15,2-3.
6. Sg 12,16.
7. Sg 12,18.
8. 1R 2,1-8.
9. 1R 8.
10. 1S 15,23.
11. Ps 95,9 Ps 96,5-7.
12. Dt 32,12.
13. 1R 2,5.
14. 1Co 1,29 1Co 10,18.
15. Qo 1,2.
16. 2Ch 9,29.
17. 1P 3,19.
18. Ps 6,7.
19. Apparently a reference to Psalm 71, which is inscribed “To Solomon,” see, Ps 71,4 Ps 71,13.
20. Si 47,22.

Prayer 49

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now remembering the image of
your royal kingdom above,
God of light for all,
do not let iniquity rule me.
Do not let the haughty rebel steal the grace
of your breath from this creature you made.1
Do not let sin trap and rule my mortal body,
enslaving me.2
No king rules my soul except you, Christ,
who without force submits me to your easy yoke,3
who lifts away my sinful passions with your
all-powerful word,
who redeems me with your blood and nourishes me
with your body,
who sets forth and establishes the unchanging
covenant of life,
who by setting the stamp of your spirit on
me as your cohort,4
presents me to your Father as a co-heir,5
and in the name of your sacrifice and memory
of your torment,
emboldened me to pray to the same benevolent God.
Creator of all life,
you are the God of all souls6
who made this gift of grace greater than
all your other miracles.
Neither the heavens with all their raiment, nor the angels in their brilliance,
nor the earth and humanity and their wonders,
nor the expanse of the seas and all in them,
nor the abyss in its infiniteness and all in it,
exalted you as sublimely as your sympathy toward me,
when you said through the prophet, our hope
of sweet goodness,
“Who is a God like me, always pardoning sin
and canceling the debts of iniquity?” 7
Behold your words are honored with incense,
merciful God,
and your good works proclaimed,
glorified, deep mystery and worshiped,
overflowing grace.

B Indeed, no one is able to convey with human speech,
even a small part of the acts of compassion which you have shown me, creator.
For the power to restore what is worn-out to
its former grandeur is greater than creating anew.
And since weakness is not yours, mighty in all things,
you who with but a word can carry out all deeds,8
arise, doer of good, and be glorified,9
and reclaim those whose salvation was beyond hope,
so that by the exercise of the covenant,
the voice of your blessed good news might be
more exalted,
and known for the grace of your forgiveness,
more for the light of your mercy dispensed,
than for the process of creation.
For in one we recognize the creator,
whereas in the other, creatorship is recalled
as well as grace.

We recognize
not only the one who fashioned us, but also the one
who atoned for our sins,
not only the one who invented us, but also the one
who did good for us,
not only the one who established us, but also the one
who took pity on us,
not only the one who formed us, but also the one
who gave us possibilities,
not only the one who authored, but also the one
who humbled himself for us,
not only the one who designed us, but also the one
who performed miracles,
not only the one who started us, but also the one
who gave us light,
not only the anointed, but also the shepherd,
not only the healer, but also the caretaker,
not only the protector, but also the physician,
not only a supporter, but also a commander,
not only a victor, but also a king,
not only a creator, but also sweetness,
not only the giver of all gifts, but also a
generous sponsor,
not only always patient, but also forgiving,
not only not angered, but also unvengeful,
not only sharing our sorrows, but also
reading our hearts,
not only providing comfort, but also refuge,
not only supremely compassionate, but also God,
not only endless goodness, but also blessed in all things.

C Now, as you created me, before I existed,
and you revealed yourself as my sustenance,
and I pray that you might reinstate my soul
together with the tabernacle of my body in
the spotlessness of the clean holiness of
their former being so
that your limitless marvels
might be bestowed more amply, frequently
and increasingly
upon the ever-renewing present rather
than upon the fading shadows of ages past.
And when recounting my sins,
however much the wings of my mind can
bear to remember,
may I be justified in your name, Almighty,10
in confessing my own stains upon my soul, and
may you forgive the baseness of the many sins
I have revealed,
Almighty, seer of secrets, savior of all, so
that I might not, due to lack of good news,
slide back and long for my former ways.
Envying with the Psalmist those who have been
saved by baptism,11
and wounded in my soul by the thorns of sin,
may your hand not press on me again more heavily,12
making the burden of my transgressions greater than the sweetness of your gifts.13
Rather, free me through your blessed Holy Spirit,
I pray you, Lord of all, from the laws of sin and death.14
Spare me from falling with weakness before
reaching the dawn of your truth as written in the Scriptures.15
For wherever forgiveness reigns, sin is banished,
and wherever your living word gives encouragement, there is no despair.
And wherever your gifts abound, debts are dissolved.
And the hand of God being close by,
nothing is impossible.
Rather, everything basks in light, filled with strength
and invincible potency.
Yours is salvation, life, renewal, mercy,
and at the same time,
a sweet kingdom, incorruptible and glorified forever.

1. Gn 2,7.
2. Rm 6,12.
3. Mt 11,29-30.
4. 2Co 1,22, Ep 1,13.
5. Rm 8,17.
6. NM 27,15-16.
7. Mi 7,18.
8. Mt 8,8, He 4,12, Gn 1,3.
9. Is 33,10.
10. Ac 13,39
11. Ps 31,1 Ps 37,5.
12. Jb 19,21.
13. Ps 31,4 Ps 37,5.
14. Rm 8,2.
15. Rm 8,3-4.

Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 41