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
And now I continue to accuse my cursed soul
in different terms confessing all my
undisclosed evil doings so that perhaps
the all-knowing might record in my favor
these anguished words of penitence and contrition.
My body, the grievous tormentor of my soul,
wounded, untreatable, beyond care or recovery,1
is like a talking horse with a callous mouth,
breaking my reins and shaking off my bit,
a surly, wild and incorrigible colt,
an untame, recalcitrant, and stubborn2 heifer,
a homeless man, banished and lost,
a street urchin, roguish and impudent,
a boss, deserving mortal punishment,
unfaithful and indolent,
an intelligent person, turned beastly and unclean,
an abandoned olive tree, barren and dry,
a string of imperial gold coins, wasted and forfeited,
a delinquent servant, runaway and wretched.3
I am of no use to you at all, Lord,
for I am willingly self-destructive of soul and body,
and remain spiritually lost and mentally deluded,
with a twisted will4 and broken heart,5
absent-minded and stagnant-brained,
numb and drained,
brazen and disagreeable,
besieged by inflammations,
wracked by fatal sickness.
I pity the womb that bore me and
bemoan the breasts that fed me, asking
why was their milk not curdled with bile?
Why was the sweetness that nurtured me not
mixed with bitterness?
And because I have risen against myself
with words like a harsh prosecutor
and have even taken up the sword
of righteous anger that cannot be sheathed,
who among the earth-born will plead for me?
I shall confess every scandalous detail.
I shall submit my being to judgment.
I shall beat down the army of destruction.
I shall prosecute the marauders wounding me.
I have sinned in everything and in all ways.
Have mercy upon me, O compassionate God.
It is no new thing to find me in the fog of iniquity.
I am always the same, breaking
the same commandments and appearing
before you unreformed, stumbling
in an unmendable garment.
And only you, O truly compassionate and blessed,
with your love of mankind and your
can speed my escape from Satan6
who stands beside me.
Now, O caregiving, mighty, heavenly, kind,
creator of all out of nothing,
send the thunderbolt7 of wisdom in powerful words,
upon the movements of my tongue
that it might cleanse the senses
with which you endowed me,
so that with the faculties you created and
fixed a second time,
I might offer thanks to you
with unfailing voice and unbroken speech.
For the glory of the majesty of your Father,
our God, forever.
1. Lk. 10:30.
2. Gen. 12:6.
3. Mt. 25: 26-30.
4. Jg. 5:6; Wis. 2:15, 4:24, 16:30, 27:6; Sir. 4:1; Job 9:20; Is. 27:1; 1 Pet. 2:18; Phil. 2:15.
5. 2 Macc. 7:39.
6. Zech. 3:1-3.
7. Is. 6:6-7.
Gregory of Narek
© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.