Category Archives: prayer

We laugh unknowing.

EVENING SONG

The moon is risen, beaming,
The golden stars are gleaming
So brightly in the skies;
The hushed, black woods are dreaming,
The mists, like phantoms seeming,
From meadows magically rise.

How still the world reposes,
While twilight round it closes,
So peaceful and so fair!
A quiet room for sleeping,
Into oblivion steeping
The day’s distress and sober care.

Look at the moon so lonely!
One half is shining only,
Yet she is round and bright;
Thus oft we laugh unknowing
At things that are not showing,
That still are hidden from our sight.

We, with our proud endeavour,
Are poor vain sinners ever,
There’s little that we know.
Frail cobwebs we are spinning,
Our goal we are not winning,
But straying farther as we go.

God, make us see Thy glory,
Distrust things transitory,
Delight in nothing vain!
Lord, here on earth stand by us,
To make us glad and pious,
And artless children once again!

Grant that, without much grieving,
This world we may be leaving
In gentle death at last.
And then do not forsake us,
But into heaven take us,
Lord God, oh, hold us fast!

Lie down, my friends, reposing,
Your eyes in God’s name closing.
How cold the night-wind blew!
Oh God, Thine anger keeping,
Now grant us peaceful sleeping,
And our sick neighbour too.

-Matthias Claudius (1740 – 1815)

We need Thy prayers so sore.

THE MEDIATOR

O Christ, true Son of God most high,
Thy name we praise for ever;
Whoe’er to Thee for help doth cry
Shall find Thee fail him never;
‘Tis Thou wilt plead,
Thou intercede
With God, for us who need Thy prayers so sore:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

To Thee the Father giveth now
All power in earth and heaven;
Sin, Satan, Death to Thee must bow,
All fetters Thou hast riven,
Bade fear to cease,
And made our peace,
That now to God we dare our hearts outpour:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

Fulness of grace is in Thy Word;
The Life, the Truth, the Way
To life eternal art Thou, Lord;
To Thee alone we pray,
Who didst appear
A servant here
To bear the sin that crushed the world before:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

Hans Sachs (1494 – 1576) Germany

Prayers of St. Basil — Sixth Hour

A PRAYER FOR MIDDAY

O God, the Lord of Hosts and Author of all creation, who in thine ineffable and tender mercy hast sent down thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of our kind, and through his precious Cross hast torn up the record of our sins, and thereby triumphed over the princes and dominions of darkness: do thou, O Master who lovest mankind, accept these prayers of thanksgiving and supplication even from us sinners, and deliver us from every dark and deadly transgression and from all visible and invisible enemies that seek to do us harm.

Nail down our flesh with the fear of thee, and let not our hearts incline to evil words or thoughts; rather, wound our souls with thy love, that ever gazing upon thee, guided by thy light, and beholding thee, the eternal Light that no man can approach, we may offer up unceasing praises and thanksgiving unto thee: the Father without beginning, together with thine Only-begotten Son, and thine all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

That is not me in the picture, but I just realized that about the time that this post is published, I will be standing at a similar lectern and reading aloud this prayer in church. The Prayers of the Third and Sixth Hours are typically read before Divine Liturgy, and today we celebrate The Elevation of the Holy Cross. St. Basil’s prayer above comes at the very end of the Sixth Hour prayers.

Prayers of St. Basil – First Hour

In the Orthodox Christian Prayers book published by St. Tikhon’s Press in 2019, I noticed that several in the “Prayers Throughout the Day ” section are by St. Basil the Great, one of the Cappadocian Fathers and one of the Three Holy Hierarchs in Orthodox tradition.

The prayers in the prayer book have come into use because they teach us how to pray,  giving us the appropriate words and phrases that put us into the most helpful attitude, often straight out of Holy Scripture and ancient hymns. All of these from St. Basil warmed my heart, so I decided to post a series of three of them, starting with a morning or First Hour Prayer:

O Eternal God, everlasting Light without beginning, Fashioner of all creation, Fountain of mercy, Ocean of goodness, and searches Abyss of love for mankind: cause the light of thy countenance to shine upon us, O Lord. Dawn in our hearts, O noetic Sun of Righteousness, and fill our souls with thy delight, and teach us always to meditate on and proclaim thy judgments, and to render to thee our unceasing praise, O our Master and Benefactor.

Direct the work of our hands according to thy will, and help us to do those things which are all-pleasing and dear unto thee, that through us unworthy ones thy most holy Name may be glorified: of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one Godhead and Kingdom, to whom is due all glory, honor and worship, unto the ages. Amen.