Tag Archives: morning

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. 

The morning quality of yes.


I love the word
And hear its long struggle with no
Even in the bird’s throat and budging crocus.
Some winter’s night
I see it flood the faces
Of my friends, ripen their laughter
And plant early flowers in
Their conversation.

You will understand when I say
It is for me a morning word
Though it is older than the sea
And hisses in a way
That may have given
An example
To the serpent itself.
It is this ageless incipience
Whose influence is found
In the first and last pages of books,
In the grim skin of the affirmative battler
And in the voices of women
That constitutes the morning quality
Of yes.

We have all
Thought what it must be like
Never to grow old,
The dreams of our elders have mythic endurance
Though their hearts are stilled
But the only agelessness
Is yes.
I am always beginning to appreciate
The agony from which it is born.
Clues from here and there
Suggest such agony is hard to bear
But it is the shaping God
Of the word that we
Sometimes hear, and struggle to be.

-Brendan Kennelly


When he was in the desert of Judea.


O God, my God, I rise early to be with You;
My soul thirsts for You.
How often my flesh thirsts for You
In a desolate, impassable, and waterless land.
So in the holy place I appear before You,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your mercy is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus will I bless You in my life;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
May my soul be filled, as if with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall sing praise to You
with lips filled with rejoicing.
If I remembered You on my bed,
I meditated on You at daybreak;
For You are my helper,
And in the shelter of Your wings I will greatly rejoice….