Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 84

Prayer 84

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

Heavenly monarch, exalted king,
Lord of all, hope of each,
creator of the visible, establisher of the invisible,1
cause of being, shaper of the future,
giver of light, impulse of dawn that prepares
the morrow,
who makes the evening appear and conjures the night,2
ingenious artisan, applied wisdom,
blessed pardoner who liquidates sin, banishes pain,3
and neutralizes bitterness,
preserver of tranquility, who induces slumber,
arranges sleep, grants rest,
who sustains our breathing, maintains our senses,
dissipates our phantoms, moderates our imaginings,
displaces our terrors,
transformation of sadness, suppression of anxiety,
dispeller of doubts, calmer of turmoil,
who strikes fear in the heart of the wicked,
and cuts down demons,
wards off disease and drowns scandal,
protect me with your hand that shaped the heavens.
Strengthen me with your exalted right hand.
Take me under your almighty wings.
Blanket me with your divine care.
Bolster me with the vigilance of your heavenly host.
Encircle me with your army of immortals.
Surround me with the attachments of angels.
Fend off the enemy with the forces of the vigilant.
Support me through prayers to your divine Mother, for
I am shaken.
Assign your best troops to guard me.
Open the eyes of my soul along with the eyes in my face.
Sober the passions that weigh me down along with
my troubled soul.
Lift away, Lord, from my senses the stupor
that covers them.
Remove, Lord who only does good, the heavy
veil of darkness.
Make your mercy dawn with the breaking of day.
Make your righteous sun shine on the gloom of my
heart with morning light.4
May the ray of your glory illumine the chamber
of my mind.
May the sign of your cross cast its shadow over
my whole spirit and body.
I commit to you today
this tabernacle of mine,
which you have given to shelter my soul.5
For you are God beyond understanding,
generous in all things,
perfect in all ways,
blessed forever.

1. Col 1,16.
2. Jr 33,20 Jr 33,25.
3. 1Jn 2,2.
4. Ml 4,2.
5. 2Co 5,4.

Prayer 85

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now, since our waking vigilance1
appears like some kind of stupor to you
and our profound silence, owing to our orthodox
faith in you,
seems to you sleeping with open eyes,2
direct me with your Holy Spirit’s wisdom
to finish this the work of my hands,
the prayers of my sighing voice.

Strengthen me, Lord, in my courageous labors
to fight the good fight.3
Be my aid against human frailty.
Lighten the task of my repentance, for it has
only just begun.
Quicken, always capable Lord, the work I have
set before me.
Ease the course to its conclusion.
Help me achieve the bliss of accomplishment.
Help me reach the destination I hope for.
Be my companion through the end of my journey.4

In my ascending flight, speed me on the course
toward the good.
Be at my right side when I am in danger.5
Make your voice heard in my time of need.
Grant me life with your hand in the hour of my death.6
Intervene with your finger in my time of alarm.
Level the most harmful obstacles of alienation.
Send an angel, as you did to Habbakuk, to help me.7
Inspire my speech before the tribunal of judgment.8
Plant wisdom in me when I am being scrutinized.
With the cloud of your will miraculously protect me.9
Calm my stormy seas with your tree of life, the cross.
By your command, bridle my earthly impulses.
For if your mercy wills it, Lord,
the fluid waves of the sea will become harder
than stone.10
But if you abandon me on dry land, Lord,
the earth upon which I stand will move
and crumble beneath me.11

B Jesus, accept with favor
the supplications I make to you,
and turn my gnawing apprehensions into solid faith.
In the time of the great flood that destroyed everything,12
those who lived carelessly without fear
upon the steady plains of earth
were destroyed, bereft of your mercy,
while those who trusted in your name,13
stood on the rocking deck
of the covered ark of logs
and were saved.
Even so, rescue me with your love of mankind,
though I forever sway this way and that, and
deliver me to the port of your peace, I pray you.

Bearing the fruits of your grace with me
and leaving behind the heavy burden of sin that
weighs me down,
I fall before you, Lord, in the words of your parable,14
uniting with you completely, inseparably,
O Lord, blessed in all things.
Now chanting these prayers in antiphon
with the most pure angels
and with the earthly martyrs
who were tested by water and fire15
and who upon their departure from this life, pray for us,
leaving their memory as encouragement,
let us say with them, in unison:
So be it.

1. Ep 5,14.
2. Ps 24,15 (Arm 25):15, Ct 5,2.
3. 1Tm 6,12; 2Tm 4,7.
4. Ps 126,5-6 (Arm. 125):5-6; Lc 24,15.
5. Ps 23,4 (Arm 22):4.
6. Mc 6,50.
7. Da 14,33-39 (Arm. version).
8. Lc 12,11-12.
9. Ex 13,21 Ex 14,19-20.
10. Ex 14,22.
11. Is 24,19-20.
12. Gn 7,21-23.
13. Gn 8,15-19.
14. Mt 18,27.
15. Ps 66,12 (Arm. 65):12.

Prayer 86

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Have mercy, praiseworthy and long-suffering king,
upon all souls through these prayers
of grieving lamentation,
composed on various themes,
and have mercy especially on those souls
who are cut off from the hope of salvation
who have died unprepared,
with lamps extinguished for lack of oil.1
Remember, then, my compassionate Lord,
and consider me justified in this request also,
for in your splendid and awe-inspiring majesty
you combined opposites in the make-up of man,
a little gravity, a little levity,
on the one hand coolness, on the other heat,
so that by keeping the opposites in balance,
we might be called just,
because of this faithful equality.
And however virtuous we might be judged
on this account, when transported upward,
we should bear in view that we are made of humble clay
and accept the crown of tribulation.
But since we violated your commandment of the
Old Testament
and following our earthly nature, strayed like animals,
we were laid low and bound to the earth,2
in some instances by disease, and others by cruelty,
some by gluttony and passions,
as if a ravenous beast is joined to our nature.

Sometimes one of four primary elements,
lunges forward 3 and uncontrollably, savagely and
relenlessly raises its head.
And though warmed by the fervor of our love for you
and by token of your spark which is in us,
the coldness that is its constant companion,
extinguishes it, disrupting the good.4
And although we ascend to you with the
airy ways of angels, the weight and density of
our first element, earth,5
holds us down, and hinders us.6

B And now, defeated on all fronts and completely forsaken,
like a feeble cripple, I am rejected, I am banished that
I might perish.
Worn down by the multitude of blows, I was
captured by death and deprived of grace.
I seek mercy with a shameful face.
I, who have committed all manner of sin,
pray for all the dead living in you.7
For you are able, with infinite ingenuity,
to save dying mortals like me.
For you everything is possible.
Especially since you have power that knows no limits,
and you take delight in exercising your will for good.
Therefore, when these two illustrious and
renewing graces come together – power and will –
the despair that afflicts the race of sinners is lifted away
and the light of your good news arrives
with your prescription to heal our souls,
Lord of all, blessed forever.

1. Mt 25,8.
2. Gn 8,21 Ps 44,26 (Arm. 43):26.
3. St. Gregory refers here to the elements of classical cosmography: earth, air, fire and water.
4. Rm 7,14-25.
5. Gn 2,7 Gn 3,19.
6. Rm 7,14-25.
7. Lc 20,37-38.

Prayer 87

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now, since I am approaching the end of this
modest testament of lamentations,
Lord, with these prayers, put an end
to those demeaning blameworthy acts
that have become a bad habit with me.
You established the good news of hope for condemned
people like me, saying, “It is not the will of the Father,
that the least of these little ones should perish.”1
And further, “This is the will of my Father,
that I shall not lose those he has given to me.”2

B Behold, you are blessed for compassion,
ever praised for your sweetness,
proclaimed for your patience,
recognized for your help,
preached as the Lord for salvation,
celebrated for your bounty,
honored for your protection,
glorified for your deliverance,
worshiped for your infinite highness,
adored for your greatness beyond understanding,
alone acclaimed for your triumph,
exalted for your great strength,
revered for your mercy,
embraced for your mildness.
Sharing in humility
with your heavenly father,
God of all comfort,3
together with your Holy Spirit, filled with goodness
who established the Law
not to abandon the fallen beast of one’s enemy4
nor the man who stumbles by his own stupidity.

Your gifts, Almighty, within me,
and your virtue, great Lord, on high
are celebrated endlessly by the eternal choir of angels,5
thus hear my prayful voice
through the intercession of the angels
and along with the supplications of the martyrs,
in sweet and pleasing aroma.

Through the redeeming value of these prayers
of reconciliation, almighty Lord,
let my original sin be pardoned and
my unseen wounds be cured,
along with those committed in
the course of my life and at my death,
wounds that bring death to my body and my soul.
Heal my inner and outer wounds,
their traces, lines, and welts,
with the exalted and pure salve of your mercy.
The multitude of bites
show you the essence of my character,
both the base and that which is pleasing to you.

C And if I reach old age,
having been guided by you to my worthy death,
do not abandon me in my frailty.6
Do not despise my gray hair.
Do not destroy what is already broken.
Do not bring down the bent.
Do not knock down the humbled.
Do not extinguish the flickering flame with your wind.
Do not shove the unsteady.
Do not leave the shivering without a coat.
Do not permit the afflicted to go without a cure.
Do not leave the dilapidated untended.
Do not let the old image be dishonored.
Do not take the taste away from the sumptuous.
Do not tarnish the splendor of grace.
Do not insult the old.
Do not send waves upon the ship of my soul.
Do not cut the thread of hope.
Do not sever the life line.
Do not take away presence of mind or memory.
Do not destroy what you have shaped.
Do not clip the wings of ascension.
Do not deform the cheerfulness of beauty.
Do not retract the rays of light.
Do not close the windows of the eyes.
Do not block their light.
Do not cut down my speaking image.

D I pray you, compassionate Lord, I beseech you with
all of the saints,
listen to my prayers now, so that they will not
later be forgotten.
You led me, as the Psalmist wrote, and
“restored my soul.” 7
Relieve me, Lord, as with the Psalmist,
of the doubts and perplexities that cause me fear.8

But I am not worthy of this,
no, not even of the common sustenance of a
hired servant.9
But you are able, according to your ways,
to show kindness even to people who whine as I do.
Yours are the amazing gifts beyond telling, you,
who alone work miracles, continuously blessed
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
forever and ever.

1. Mt 18,14.
2. Jn 6,39.
3. 2Co 1,3.
4. Ex 23,5, Dt 22,4.
5. Is 6,2-3 Ap 5,11-12.
6. Ps 71,9 Ps 71,18 (Arm. 70):9, 18.
7. Ps 23,3 (Arm. 22):3.
8. Ps 71,20 (Arm. 70): 20.
9. Lc 15,19.

Prayer 88

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now with my broken soul, my deserted mind and
my crushed heart,
I pour forth the water of my will and the milk
of my tears,
just as the prophet Samuel,1
poured water before you, all-seeing God,
to show his people how to bow
in confession and obedience
before your life-giving feet.

B And now, accept these prayers of sighs and contrition,
as you inhale the scent of this bloodless sacrifice of words, king of heaven.
Bless and sanctify the letters of this book of lamentation,
and fix your seal upon it,
as an eternal monument of
servanthood along with others pleasing to you.
May it stand before you forever,
and echo in your ears constantly.
May it be pronounced upon the lips of your chosen,
and may it be spoken by the mouths of your angels.
May it be spread before your throne,
and may it be offered in your sacred temples.
May it rise as incense in the houses of worship dedicated
to your name,2 and may it give fragrance at the
altar of your glory.
May it be kept among your treasures 3
laid up in store with your property.
May it be recited to the ears of all generations,
and may it be preached to all peoples.
May it be inscribed on the doors of the mind
and imprinted on the threshold of the senses.
As if alive and in person, may it recount
the iniquities I have confessed.
And although I shall die in the way of all mortals,
may I be deemed to live
through the continued existence of this book.
May it be protected from destruction by your will, Lord,
that it might be for me, the condemned,
an ever watchful judge, fair accuser,
that reprimands with vigor and blames with rigor,
that relentlessly criticizes and sternly shames me,
that inhumanely hands me over to
the unbribable executioner from whom there is no escape
like a ruthless informant coldly exposing me to
the whole world.
May it loudly trumpet my faults in confession 4
without break or end.

C This book will cry out in my place, with my voice,
as if it were me.
It will uncover what I have covered up and
proclaim my secrets.
It will lament what I have done and
extol what I have forgotten,
reveal the invisible and relate my blasphemy,
preach about the depths of my soul
and tell of my sins.
It will lay bare the unseen and display the shape of
what is hidden.
Through this book may traps be explored and
pitfalls be discovered.
May unspeakable faults be confronted and
the traces of evil wrung out.
May the life of your grace and mercy reign, O Christ.
May my dry bones be preserved in your treasury
so that at the time of eternal life,
at the dawn of that first spring light,
on the day of renewed splendor,
through your dew my soul might again stir,
with your immortal salvation
and according to the hope held out in your inspired
Scriptures, 5 may I again become green and blossom,
and send up shoots of spiritual goodness
that will never dry out.

And to you, Savior, and to your Spirit,
of the same essence as the Father,
to your united lordship and your inexplicable Trinity,
all glory and adoration
with mystic praise

1. 1S 7,6.
2. Ps 141,2 (Arm. 140):2.
3. Dt 32,31.
4. Mt 24,31.
5. Is 26,19, Ez 37.

Prayer 89

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

God and Lord, life and creator,
merciful, compassionate, light,
long-suffering, God who bears no grudges,
all-merciful, generous God who loves mankind,
savior, blessed, praised, glorified,
storehouse of steadfastness, bulwark of faith,
good without guile,
radiance without darkness,
pardoner of sins,
healer of wounds,
creator of unknowable mysteries,
the most approachable of the unreachables,
refuge from despair,
your name is proclaimed, God the Son,
and your Father’s with you,
mighty and awesome,
and your almighty Holy Spirit
worshiped with you,
glory and thanksgiving forever.

Prayer 90

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Glorified God in heaven,
sole creator, lord of all,
awesome majesty,
compassion worthy of blessing,
mercy worthy of proclamation,
providence worthy of worship,
love of mankind worthy of celebration,
protection worthy of adoration,
exalted beyond understanding,
close to us by your choice,
unfailing refuge,
you comfort our hearts,1
you make our grief disappear and reassure us
in our pain,
you end our despair and wipe away our debts,
you remedy our shortcomings, discipline our passions, and shape our words,
you rein in our tongues, regulate our breathing, and
control our speech,
you bring our thoughts together, discipline our will, and settle our emotions,
you calm storms and restore tranquility to the waves,
you hold the rudder of my impulsive will
and taming it with your wisdom,
you guide me back to you.

B O ever exalted giver of gifts,
you are forbearing with lowly gentleness,
dwelling with fervor and untold miracles in the souls of the saints.2
O king of all beings, merciful one proclaimed by
the universe,
you are our forefather and originator of
the law of love.3
O path of life,4
you sweetly lead me, a learner, toward your
heavenly light.
O most steady outstretched hand,
you do not let me stumble to my destruction.
O image of hope,
you appear before praying human hands as
that truthful hope.
O refuge of peace,
you never lead us to the risk of condemnation.
O bestower of free grace,
you redeem us fully without compensation.
O generosity that knows no jealousy,
you adorn with your glory the base earth of
which I am made.
O brilliance without shadows,
who engulfs me, a miserable wretch, in the
radiance of your awesome majesty,
restore and make me flourish again.
O pardoner of our multiple sins,5
rekindling the former brilliance of those
deprived of salvation,
remake their splendor.
O Almighty,
you make it possible to reach the infinite heights.
O certain path,
you lead us toward the promised joy.
O yearned for bliss,
it is pleasing to give up the breath of life,
that I might find you, Living God.6
O unwavering will,
who is able to pardon me, a slave,
you deserve all praise.
O unerring balm of life,
who performs miracles even over those
completely without life.7
O undoubted creator of all,
who resurrects in the blink of an eye,8
those consumed by fire, blown to the winds,
or devoured in the jaws of beasts,
back into their undiminished physical being.
O brave nobility without equal,
in whom it is right to boast and
in whose glory we can bask.9

C Look, Lord, from heaven, with cheerful sweetness
upon me, imperiled on all sides by destruction.
Calm my anxious sobbing.
Grant the ease of repose.
The deadly armies are mounted against me:
battalions of violent warriors armed with
all manner of demonic devices,
the barrage of ugly sins hateful to you,
the strokes of pain and destructive disease.
Repel them, take them away, cut them off, stop them,
drive them out, banishing them to a distant place.
Destroy them yet again
and erect the sign of your cross
as a destiny of life and beacon at my death
guiding me to your refuge,
O Salvation.

D And through the invincible, infallible and irresistible
power of your awesome majesty,
may the secret snares of Satan be undone,
may his tools be snatched away and the
stumbling blocks removed,
may his traps be foiled,
may his ambush be discovered,
may his treachery be revealed,
may his nets be lifted away,
may his weeds be burned,10
may the wicked spells be cast out,
may the deceptive ropes of the hunter of death be cut,
may the liar’s gossip be confounded.
may the troublemaker’s weapons run out,
may the swords fall from the hands of the
bearer of death,
may the attacker’s preparations be scuttled,
may the ropes of the tormentor come undone,
may the false appearances of the hypocrites
be unmasked,
may the heavy-handedness of the haughty be banned,
may the bands of marauders be dispersed,
may the hordes of thieves be banished,
may the masses of barbarians be expelled,
may the fortresses of the rebels be demolished,
may the tempests of the boastful be checked,
may the rainstorms of the tempter be dispelled,
may the frost of the divider evaporate,
may the horn of the wicked be broken,11
may the pedestals of idols collapse,
may the bragging of the proud be shattered,
may the aggressors’ confrontations be repulsed,
may the troops of Belial be destroyed –
both spiritual and physical,
may the invaders from one route be set to flight
in seven directions,12
may they fall into the pits they have dug for me,13
may the winters of discontent turn to summer,
may the ties that bind me to the tireless outlaw be cut,
may the kiss of the flatterer upon my forehead revolt me,
may the barrage of arrows from my tormentor cease,
may the boat of the trickster always be rocky,
may the teeth of the biter be ripped from their roots.

E Through the blessed wood of life,
upon which you were bound,
incomprehensible God,
by the memory of those nails,
with which you were spread upon the instrument of death, creator of heaven and earth,
by your lordly blood, by which, as with a fishhook, you caught the great serpent,14
by the bitterness of the bile,
which you drank, pouring out the deadly
potion of the destroyer,
by the blessed recounting of your horrible torment,
through which you shamed and silenced
the impudence of the opponent,
by your name that cannot be understood or explained in any way, before which the natures of the visible and invisible, tremble with fear and awesome terror and are condemned,
may all these gifts of grace
be for me, who proclaim them,
protection, cure and pardon.

And for the serpent that brought the bitter
poison of death,15
by whom the universe was betrayed into evil,
may these bring the death for him.
May he be bound and taken captive,
subjected to the stroke of incurable torture.

May your mercy, O creator, toward me,
and the breath of my soul toward you,
be united inseparably as one.

F And let whoever may read these requests
and supplications
of the voice calling out in prayer,
with the love of God,
whether old or young, girl or boy,16
or one of the maidens,
may all equally receive, without distinction,
from you a portion of the blessing of forgiveness of sin,
and be restored to their former spotless purity,
sealed with your unchanging image.
You who are almighty, powerful, beyond telling,
beyond understanding, beyond comprehension,
look upon the cries of the sighing heart,
offered to you from the lips of all,
for your Father in heaven and doer of good,
for the Holy Spirit, co-equal in glory and giver of life,
through the intercession of your Mother of God,
and the prayers of all the saints.

For you created everything
and from you all things came into being,17
and you rule over all,
and to you is befitting glory from all creation.
You, one of the very essence of the timeless trinity,
infinitely glorified together,
forever and ever.

1. 2Co 7,6.
2. Is 66,1-2.
3. 1Jn 4,7-10 Jn 15,12.
4. Jn 14,5.
5. 1Jn 2,2.
6. Ph 1,23.
7. Jn 11,39-44.
8. Ez 37.
9. 1Co 1,31.
10. Mt 13,30.
11. Ps 75,10 (Arm. 74):10.
12. Dt 28,7.
13. Ps 7,15
14. Jb 40,24.
15. Gn 3.
16. Ps 148,12.
17. Jn 1,3, Col 1,16.

Prayer 91

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Lord, Lord filled with compassion, God of mercies,1
majestic name, awe-inspiring voice,
severe summons, unbroken silence,
thundering speech, shocking sound,
hope of good deeds and all merciful sweetness,
before which all creatures quake in fear.
Before your awesome wrath,
the seraphim take to flight and the cherubim
huddle together.2
the choirs of angels hide their faces,
all the principalities of heaven shake in amazement,
and all of them rejoice with great trembling in
jubilant celebration.
the demons are frightened away and the
evil bands recoil,
the spirits of darkness are exiled and
the angels of the banished one are condemned
to the abyss.
The attacks of the aggressors are held in check by the
sign of your cross, and the vengeful Amalekites are
locked away in their infernal prison.3
The enemy forces are bound with undoable knots.
The legions of the warriors of death are jailed in prisons
from which there is no escape.
The demonic hordes are arrested as in irons by
your command.
The instigators of mutiny are silenced.
The mobs of evil spirits are tied up and waste away.
The emissaries of the Antichrist are locked in
unbreakable chains.

B In this midnight silence I lift
my hand toward you to make
the blessed sign of your cross, source of sight,
who never dims in the darkness of ignorance,
but eternally dwells in unapproachable light.4
With a grateful heart I implore
that this grieving soul be taken
under the protection of your almighty wing.5
Save me from the onrush of external illusion.
Endow my heart’s eye with pure light.
Strengthen me with your cross, the wood of life,
against nightmares.
Consecrate the boundaries of my cell with drops of your
life-giving blood.6
Sanctify my threshold with the water and blood from
your side.7
May the roof of my dwelling bear the shape of
your cross.
May the miracle of your sacrifice for our salvation
appear as a vision before my raised eyes.
May the instrument of your torment be fixed
upon my door.
May my faith and hope hang upon your blessed tree.8
With your cross, Lord, stop the slayer of souls.
Let the protector of light enter.
Ease the severity of my pains
and lighten the burden of my guilt.9
In the silent chamber where my mind collects itself
upon the cushion of my bed,
recalling the bitter fruits of despair,
I confess to you, all-knowing God, my
innumerable deeds of wicked iniquity in all their forms.10

C Give me rest.
I am exhausted from the multitude of cares and toil.
Remove the turmoil of doubt from my broken spirit,
the bitterness along with the grief,
the sighing along with the misery,
the anxiety along with the wretchedness,
the cries along with the destruction,
the brokenness along with the stupor,
the delirium along with the folly,
the imprudence along with the stupidity,
the cooling of love along with the feverish
passion for luxury.11

Come to my aid,
for I am weak with grief and poor in spirit.
With your right hand of beneficial grace,
with your finger of renewal, with your ever-radiant glory,
with your eternal, incorruptible presence,12
with your cheerful countenance,
with the essence of your venerable being,
with your greatness worthy of worship,
relieve this labored sighing that is suffocating me.13

Stop the new tricks of evil and the old deceptions of
the Troublemaker,14
the alienating impulses of the teacher of death,
the unfitting imaginings prompted by the one who
kills us daily,
the mirages caused by the treacherous demon,
the enchanting sorcerer’s fiery breath.

Protect my place of rest in the tranquility
resembling death,
from hidden thoughts and new errors,
from great misdeeds and small missteps,
from the evil machinations of idleness.

Banish from my senses, wayward servant that I am,
inappropriate thoughts and base passions,
blameworthy conduct and unbecoming ambitions,
erring actions, ridiculous illusions,
vile thoughts, and despicable babble.

D Arm me, for I have taken refuge in you,
arm me with an unerring heart and undefiled body,
against winds, the violent blows,
the battering of the storm, the pouncing of the tempest,
the attacks of beasts.
When I close my eyes, do not let my heart-vision
grow dark,15 rather let it awaken,
become bright and splendid
to shine with you, Lord Jesus Christ,
with the burning of the inextinguishable light.

With your word, cleanse my bedchamber
of cunning and distractions,
of memories distasteful to you and thoughts
hostile to heaven,
of criminal follies and ingratitude toward your Lordship,
and heresies against God.
Stand guard over me with your heavenly host,
the principalities and dominions, and invincible powers,
pure ministers of your holy Godhead,
the apostles with the tidings of your Gospel,
the prophets with their testaments,
and the righteous with their prayers offered at the
end of their lives,
that I might fall asleep in mourning pleasing to you16
and awaken anew with the grace of your joy.
Though I sleep with trepidation,
may I arise again in spiritual bliss.
Though I go to bed in sinfulness,
may I get up with a clear conscience
and spotless purity.

E Hear the sighing of my voice in prayer,
you who alone are most compassionate,
through the intercession of your Holy Mother,
and all the righteous and the chosen martyrs.

To you glory from all people, which I offer up to you,
along with the choirs of immortal Holy Angels,17
in praise of your Father, our God,
and the Holy Spirit, the creator and renewer
of everything,18
forever and ever.

1. 2Co 1,3.
2. Is 6,1-5.
3. Ex 17,8-16.
4. 1Tm 6,16.
5. Ps 17,8 (Arm. 16):8.
6. He 9,11-24.
7. Ex 12,7.
8. Sg 14,7.
9. Mt 11,28.
10. Ps 32,5 (Arm. 31):5.
11. Mt 24,12.
12. Da 7,14.
13. 2Co 7,10.
14. Sg 2,24.
15. Ct 5,2.
16. 2Co 7,9
17. Lc 2,14.
18. Ps 104,30 (Arm. 103):30.

Prayer 92

A Prayer of Instruction on the wooden bell that calls us to worship, symbol of the trumpet on the Day of Judgment.

A I give you thanks, compassionate Lord,
friend of mankind,
creator of heaven and earth,
Son of the living God.
As soon as I awake I am seized by yearning
for your love, thanks to the sounding of your wooden bell.
Hearing the bell’s clipped resonance
we awake and arise from our deathlike slumber.
And as if called by a consoling voice,
we are drawn to the service of blessing and come
with joy before your throne to be judged.1

B Glory to you,
name beyond definition, uncontainable power,
who went to such amazing lengths to provide
for my salvation.
Immortal essence, praised with thanksgiving,
your miracles in this world
foreshadow the world to come.
By this instrument, this wooden vessel,
you firmly shake me from the stupor of sleep,
as if you rouse me from my slothfulness
with an admonishing reproach,
adding percussive accompaniment
to the gentleness of your fatherly love.
By the clapping of two mallets,
you sweetly rain your loving-kindness upon us.
You do not plunge me back into the depths of sleep
with hushed syllables,
nor frighten my anxious soul
with needless harshness.
I worship you, upon my knees, Creator of all,
who has given us in this world a sample
of the sound of that terrifying alarm that will echo
on the great day of resurrection.
You brought me back to life
from the tomblike numbness of oblivion.
You sought a fool like me to invite
to taste the wine of joy.2
You made this instrument to prepare
the immaculate bride for your love, O groom.3
With this humble spur, you struck fear in the
monstrous demons.
You tamed the Rebel by placing a massive yoke
upon his shoulders.
You muzzled the jaw of the Troublemaker with a restraining bridle.
May your infinite highness be forever exalted great God,
who turned the tree symbolizing our transgression
into the liberating grace of salvation4
and who brought a muddled fool like me
to my senses through the wisdom of your spirit.
Through the strokes of the mallet on this wooden board
you remind us that alone we cannot cure
the serpent’s bite.
By the three blows at the end of the call to worship,
which symbolize the Trinity,
you reinforce the three chains that restrain
my destroyer.5

C I send up odes of praise, with fragrant incense, to you
God who cares for all,
for your ways are more potent than the multitude of pagan gods,
from whom you captured my sinful soul
guiding me to your worship.

With the voice of this sacred wood, hardy and robust,
you preached the truth.

With this worthy instrument
you increased the honor of your New Covenant.

Its clamor calls your heavenly host to arms,
Lord Christ, who rules over all earthly states
and emperors.
It is the sign of joy, Lord Jesus, upon your victory on the
field of battle, in which the Pharoah who oppresses souls is seized and bound.6
This well-shaped piece of wood delivers a daily beating
upon the head of the haughty evil doer.
By the sound of this wood, the sons of Zion are
summoned to battle against the despot who casts a
darkness over the world.7
And like a house of divine worship, built long ago,8
this wood consecrated with oil, which neither grows old
nor retires from service,
alerts us well in advance of the Day of Reckoning that
lies ahead.
It is like the tree of life in paradise, O God, inviting
us to gather and hasten to the house of blessings.
It resembles the tree of knowledge
created to distinguish good from evil.9
It is a solemn reminder of the sign of the cross
sealed upon my forehead by your Holy Spirit.
It announces the good news of your glorious
second coming to the bride, kept pure for you, O King.10
It encourages the ranks of the saintly to rejoice.
It inspires an innocent yearning for spiritual union
with the virgin queen, the mother of all, veiled
in splendor.
It prepares the secret treasures that adorn the soul.
It is reminiscent of the thunderous message on Mt Sinai
and the aura of dwelling places of the Lord.
It crowns with glory the immaculate mother of
pure children, the splendid eternal virgin – the church.

D With the sounding of this wood,
stronger than the trumpeting rams’ horns at Jericho,11
you brought down and leveled the tyranny of Satan.
With this wooden slingshot you slew Goliath.12
You fashioned this new javelin that foretells the
destruction of Satan,13
for with this tool you pulled up the deep roots of sin
and through its beneficial work
you recommitted me to duties I had forgotten.
If I call this alarm a voice,
that predicts the coming of your Word, O God,
I would not be wrong, but would be telling the truth.14
By this humble instrument,
though material, yet bearing the spirit,
the majesty of your works are proclaimed, O Jesus.
Through this unassuming sign,
signaling the place of refuge,
you draw our attention on earth
to your bounteous help from on high.

E Your name is proclaimed,
God, who loves mankind,
who provides and cares for us beyond reason.
You are adored in the mystery of your Holy Trinity,
O light whose image cannot be drawn.
By this twice dedicated wood,15
you shot arrows of sound,
through the air, reaching their targets
across long distances, bearing a living spirit,
foiling the secret designs of the archer of darkness,
forcing him into retreat.
As if waging battle from a high fortress,
mighty and indestructible,
you hurl down the strokes of this wooden bell,
like an angel you send to confound the enemy.
With the words of your covenant, Your Majesty,
consecrated with grace by being mixed with your blood,
you have sharpened this horn
like a cross of redemption honed on the whetstone,
to strike down the blustering bully.
By the clamor of this wooden bell,
more tumultuous than a celestial chorus,
the doors of the human will
with its half-hearted and unseemly impulses,
are knocked down
taking with it the legalistic mentality of the
OldTestament heart and its house which is but a shadow
of your new covenant.

F I offer you glory and praise,
immortal king,
I pray that you might renew
with your mighty right hand
all that you have created.
By the reverberating wooden bell
you drove away the wicked peril of the
cunning Troublemaker,
the feverish torment of sin,
the sour breath of the deceiver,
the impulsive and deadly misadventures and delusions,
the harmful and depressing acts caused by
weakness of the flesh,
the diabolical whining that causes us to faint.
Helped by the wings of the sign of your cross,
dispel again with this wooden armament
clouds that rain fire,
thunder that brings hail,
burning flames of smoky deception
of the many-footed fire-breathing dragon,
the butcher’s knife, the confrontation of battle,
the wild thoughts that overtake me
like prancing demons.
They are set to flight by this little bell,
overcome with trembling,
and they know the Lord
comes to judgment
with a sound like this.
And the pious warriors,
well armed with the sword of the Holy Spirit,
are spurred on with courage,
when they hear the alarm of the wooden bell,
which with an inarticulate cry calls all nations
to sacrifice themselves for justice.

G Listen to the great trumpet sound
by which God is exalted in worship16
throughout the world.
It resounds in the ears of the heathens, causing
them to scatter.
It reinforces the voice of the watchmen of great God,
and, in the words of Isaiah, has us singing
together for joy.17
Thanks to this wooden bell, the enemies of the cross,
are separated like the waters.18
The fruit of the first tree loses its
far-reaching significance,19
when wood becomes celebrated as the symbol of life.20
Compared to this wooden bell emitting the sound of life,
the iron sword of war loses its luster.21
And like something sacred,
this wooden bell that rings out life
was deemed worthy to be inscribed
with the sign of the cross,
like bells on horses, holy to the Lord.22
The sword of human authority is sheathed23
in deference to this anointed staff of the
heavenly shepherd.
No hammer of any artisan has nicked a
stone of the temple,24
but on the altar built by God this sacred wood
soaring with the wings of the cross wields power.
Not only at the beginning of the month,25
nor upon the seven times seven years of the jubilee,26
is the wooden bell removed from its corner and sounded,
but from the dawn of the universe to its far reaches,27
upon the waves of the sea and its islands,
it echoes, divinely,
announcing the good news.
The swords of the butcher were broken
by the sight of this wood,
and the useless were transformed into ploughshares and pruning hooks.28

H The sound of the wooden bell, is not like the harsh echo
of stones in the depths of a pit,
nor does it do violence to the air, in the words of
a foreign sage.29
It does not pierce the ear with a sharp and
annoying sound,
nor does it make the skull vibrate unpleasantly.
It does not cause bones to crack,
nor does it stun the mind.
It does not clang like a bell of copper,
nor does it clunk without any sweetness
like a stone on the pavement.
It is the invincible keeper of the New Zion.
It is one of the main, sacred vessels, given by God,
that Christian clerics, along with the Levites,
treat with care and reverence.
It is like the voice of an angel,30
which in the words of the parable-teller,
resemble the song of a bird.31
It is a new musical instrument to announce the grace of the good news.
It awakens in us the Spirit of God
more readily than the odes of Elishe’s harp.32
It is the prelude to the lamentations,
played upon the strings of a sweet and
harmonious violin.
It is cymbals with their allegorical expression.
It is a new flute of a different sort
that we have adopted instead of the old.
It does not make hollow noises like reeds of the pagans.
It does not make earthly noises like instruments of
the Jews, about which the Lord said through the prophet,
“Take these away from me.”33
Rather, it is a God-pleasing sound, doubly honored,
for it wards off attacking demons and other
strokes of evil.

I And now, I have accepted with blessing,
veneration and praise, this sacred gift,
as protection for me and glory for you,
thanksgiving from me and worship to you,
a wonder of your creative glory, wanting in nothing.
May this Godly sound pierce through the joints
of my body 34 to drive from my soul the deceitful ways of the demons and block corruption.
Make this wooden bell a symbol,
a harp of light, an invitation that cannot be
retracted, an endless praise of your
lordly providence.
Hear us, O compassionate Lord, through
this wooden bell.
Grant us, I pray, almighty Lord,
twofold protection against visible and
invisible enemies.
Give us, O generous hand,
open and ready to offer and share good things,
the sweetness of air and beneficial rains.
May your order, voiced in this medium,
curb the hellish blasts, the painful breathing,
the attacks of the deceitful and evil brigands.
By this instrument may we be delivered from
the aggressive warriors who lead us to evil.
By the cheerful voice of this anointed wood,
may the worm, canker, and their kind,
that draw strength from our sins and fight
against us be driven away, cut down and killed.
By this plant of bliss
may our trust in you as our protector,
Creator of all, lord of creation,
take root, like the thicket where Abraham
found the ram,35 at the end of whose branches
the sacred inheritance of my present salvation
hangs before us, caused by you, Christ, to blossom
and bear the fruit of eternal life.
Before the ringing out of the good news heralded by
his glorious wood,
may the demon-possessed enemies
and the lying and tricky many-handed hellions
be set to flight and banished to the dark abyss.
May this bell drive away from the fertile fields
of our toil, the devastating blights and trampling
bands of animals.
Let this bell remove unbecoming excesses
caused by the devices of evil,
that render us yet more ugly.
May this bell truly eliminate
the faults generated by traitors
in our two natures:
from the spiritual, strange, false thoughts;
from the physical, corruption caused by
impure stirrings.
Deliver me, Lord Jesus, I pray you!
Deliver me, my benefactor.
Reach out to me with your almighty right hand,
and having helped me,
free me of these enemies.

J Mix and unite your commandments with the
sound of the bell,
so that my callous heart, hard as a diamond,
might again bear the fruits of your word.36
May the sound of the bell strike and pierce
my worn heart and forsaken soul
and like a sharp stake of wonder,
reinforce and shore them up,
upright and steadfast,37
while softening the hardness of my soul,
so that I might awaken, sobered with humility,
like Paul and Matthew.38
O God who loves mankind,
through this venerable wooden bell
remind me of the gifts of your cross
by which you did things beyond words.
Lift away from me, Giver of life,
the weight of my sins
by the glorious yoke of your new tabernacle.39

By your will, Almighty,
may the ears of my stubborn heart be opened
to the sound of life.
By this tiding of your magnificent good works,
may the ears of the deaf hear.40
Through this bell may the tongues of the dumb speak.41
May the sight of the eyes be restored,
that they might look upon you purely in
unwavering adoration.42
May the weary wills of men be refreshed,
that they might repent and return to you.43
In my turmoil, O Lord,
grant me the rain of tears.
Let this be from you to us
a message of joy,
a jubilant shout,
a tranquil song,
a thing of bliss,
a means of salvation,
an occasion for pardon,
a banishment of grief,
an extrication from entanglements,
an easing of anxiety,
a ceasing of cares,
a dispelling of sighs
an alleviation of groaning,
an assurance of necessities,
a discipline of passions,
a consolation for disappointments,
a cure for pains,
an immunization against backsliding,
a contemplation of things invisible.

K Lead me across this bridge of yearning,
which neither hinders nor causes us to stray,
on our upward journey,
upon this heaven-bound ladder marked44
by the footsteps of the saints.
Offer me to your blessed Father,
whose name inspires awe,
O doer of good,
may I be guided by your Holy Spirit,
to inseparable unity with you.
And to your one and only, holy and united Lordship and
incorruptible creatorship, for which your creatures,
both living and inanimate, give thanks,
glory and dominion, forever and ever.

1. He 4,16.
2. Pr 9,5.
3. Ap 21,2.
4. Gn 3.
5. Ap 20,2-3.
6. Ap 19,11-21.
7. Ep 6,12.
8. Gn 28,18-19.
9. Gn 2,9.
10. 2Co 11,2, Ap 21,2 Ap 21,9, Ep 5,27.
11. Jos 6,1-21.
12. 1S 17.
13. Jos 8,18-19.
14. Jn 1,23 (Like John the Baptist).
15. The Holy Cross and Consecrated Bell that calls to worship.
16. Ps 47,5 (Arm. 46):5, Is 27,13.
17. Is 52,8.
18. Ex 14,15-31.
19. Gn 3.
20. Pr 3,18.
21. Is 2,4.
22. Za 14,30.
23. 1S 17,32-51.
24. 1R 6,7.
25. Ps 81,3 (Arm. 80):3.
26. Lv 25,9.
27. Rm 10,18.
28. Is 2,4.
29. Some commentators interpret this as a reference to Homer. Critical Edition, p. 1113, n. 14.
30. Mt 25,31.
31. Qo 12,4.
32. 2R 3,15.
33. Am 5,23.
34. He 4,12.
35. St. Gregory uses the Hebrew word sabec which means ‘bush’ or ‘thicket’, referring to the thicket where Abraham found the ram that he sacrificed in place of his son Isaac. Gn 22,13. Critical Edition, p. 1114, n. 22.
36. Mt 13,3-9 Mt 18-23.
37. Is 35,3-4.
38. Ac 9,1-9 Mt 9,9.
39. Mt 11,28-30 Ex 25,14.
40. Is 35,5.
41. Mc 7,32-35.
42. Jn 9, Mc 10,46-52 Is 35,5.
43. Is 35,3-4.
44. Gn 28,12-19 (Jacob’s Ladder).

Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 84