BOOK OF PRAYER
Tenets of Prayer Prayer
1 Prayer 2 Prayer
3 Prayer 4 Prayer
5 Prayer 6
Prayer 7 Prayer 8 Prayer 9 Prayer 10 Prayer 11 Prayer 12 Prayer 13 Prayer 14
Prayer 15 Prayer 16 Prayer 17 Prayer 18 Prayer 19 Prayer 20 Prayer 21 Prayer 22
Prayer 23 Prayer 24 Prayer 25 Prayer 26 Prayer 27 Prayer 28 Prayer 29 Prayer 30
Prayer 31 Prayer 32 Prayer 33 Prayer 34 Prayer 35 Prayer 36 Prayer 37 Prayer 38
Prayer 39 Prayer 40 Prayer 41 Prayer 42 Prayer 43 Prayer 44 Prayer 45 Prayer 46
Prayer 47 Prayer 48 Prayer 49 Prayer 50 Prayer 51 Prayer 52 Prayer 53 Prayer 54
Prayer 55 Prayer 56 Prayer 57 Prayer 58 Prayer 59 Prayer 60 Prayer 61 Prayer 62
Prayer 63 Prayer 64 Prayer 65 Prayer 66 Prayer 67 Prayer 68 Prayer 69 Prayer 70
Prayer 71 Prayer 72 Prayer 73 Prayer 74 Prayer 75 Prayer 76 Prayer 77 Prayer 78
Prayer 79 Prayer 80 Prayer 81 Prayer 82 Prayer 83 Prayer 84 Prayer 85 Prayer 86
Prayer 87 Prayer 88 Prayer 89 Prayer 90 Prayer 91 Prayer 92 Prayer 93 Prayer 94
Prayer 95 Colophon
Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart
Since I of my own will mortgaged myself to death,
never standing as a man on my own two feet,
and never having received a rational soul,
as the Bible says,1
I did not turn away from my former sinful ways
to travel the path of goodness.
Why should I not begin this chapter
by disclosing my wayward tracks toward darkness?
So I shall adapt my writing to this purpose
without changing my earlier testimony,
and confess again the rest of the evil
stains upon me.
Deserving the punishment of a foreign mercenary
I joined the army of Beliar by my acts of obstinacy.
Swept off by the agile dances, gleeful stunts,
and foolery of the slithering demons,
ingenious deceivers, I wallowed in my sloth,
and in the chambers of the fallen, I took comfort
in secret floggings and invisible wounds instead of
warding off these outcasts with Christ’s cross.
No, I willingly joined them
with no reason other than my miserable lawlessness.
Your name, O Jesus, was profaned among the demons,
as it was among the Gentiles for the sake of Israel.
The vices I planted in myself blow by wicked blow
like thieves and evil spirits
ate away at the flower of my soul like corrosive rust.
Like caterpillars and locusts,
as the saintly prophet Joel2 described
in his terrifying lament about the land of Israel.
Indeed, I cultivated rather than uprooted them,
recruiting throngs of warriors armed
with deadly weapons.
I collected them in my soul and
nurtured those that goaded me toward
lawlessness and iniquity,
I strengthened my enemies so that they
I took bitterness as my portion instead of your
always deceitful toward the Creator,
and faithful to the Deceiver.
How dare I raise my voice in appeal,
considering the wretchedness of my plight,
the anguish of my peril,
the shadow of my shame,
the darkness of my humiliation?
The voice of doom is overwhelming
and the cry of my protests unbearable.
And if I could see my soul,
deformed, shriveled, wasted away,
I would sob yet more painfully in
at the disgusting, ashen color of its baseness,
like a minion at a pagan temple.
For becoming a slave to sin is the same
as worshiping a stone idol.
Since I have traveled the path of destruction
pursuing the footprints of darkness,
like the priests of Israel scolded by the prophet, and
since I have traded your plot of paradise for
a barren desert,3
how can I call myself human,
when I have earned a place among the inhuman?
How can I be named a thinking being,
when I indulge in brutish ways?
How can I be called a seeing being,
when I have snuffed out my inner light?
How can I be known as cognizant,
when I have slammed the door on wisdom?
How can I aspire to incorruptible grace,
when with my own hand I have slain my soul?4
Indeed I lack attributes of a moving or even
let alone one capable of spiritual, thoughtful life.
Chipped among the set of plates,
defective among the stones of the wall,
disdained among the ranks of the called,
lowest of the tribe of the elect,
weakest among those fearful of death,
most dejected with the pain of Jerusalem,
as mournful as Jeremiah’s words,5
“My days have been wasted in wailing,
and the course of my years in crying.”
In the songs of the musician,6
“Like wool eaten by moths, like wood
chewed up by worms.”
In the words of the wiseman,7
“My heart was consumed by suspicion.”
In the words of the Psalmist,8
“I unravelled like a spiderweb,
and became useless.”
In the words of the prophet,9
“I have disappeared, evaporated like the morning cloud and the dew at dawn.”
I do not put my hope in mankind,
for I would be cursed by the evil eye10
and falter in despair.
Rather I place my faith in you, my Lord,
who loves our souls.
You, who even at the hour
you were nailed to the cross
overflowed with boundless compassion,
and beseeched your Father on high
to take mercy on your tormentors.
Now grant me hope of atonement, life and refuge,
so that when I take my last breath
I might receive from you a healed soul.
To you with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
all power, victory, majesty and glory forever.
1. Dan. 7:4.
2. Jl. 1:4.
3. Jer. 12:10.
4. Wis. 22:23.
5. Jer. 6:6-7.
6. Ps. 30:11.
7. Pr. 25:20.
8. Ps. 38:12.
9. Hos 13:3.
10. Jer. 17:5.
Gregory of Narek
© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.