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
I believe and bear witness in sound mind,
through the insights of my soul and
the visions of my conscience inspired by you,
that for you, doer of good, the prayers of a sinner are
more desirable than the petitions of the just.
For the first, baring the defeated soul, awaits your grace
and being well acquainted with the limits of
rises up like a stern accuser,
a combatant bent on self-mortification,
a bitter critic and prosecutor who sees secrets.1
Whereas the second, looking upon his good works,
places the hand of confidence on his soul,
forgets the limitations of his nature
and awaits rewards, rather than mercy.2
For that reason, the first is the subject of
innumerable accounts trumpeting your mercy,
and the second has been passed over in silence,
O inscrutable, awesome, and all-caring Lord!
I shudder at the thought that my accounts,
the accounts of a mere mortal go too far.3
So come Lord, do not let the gestures of a human hand
seem grander than yours.
Do not let your mercies be meted out in mortal measure.
But those who have healthy organs are not in need of
a physician’s care,4
and those who with good vision have no need of a guide,
and those who are well off do not beg at
the doors of the wealthy,
and those who are well fed do not wait for crumbs of bread from the table,5
and those who lead a saintly life are not needy of mercy,
so heavenly Lord almighty on high, take mercy on me,
a tormented wretch,
for if I were like Job,
I would say my soul was upright and pure like his.6
And if I were like Moses,
I would confidently say with him,
“The Lord recognizes his own.” 7
And if I were like David, I would say,
“I have done judgment and justice.” 8
And again in words that exceed our physical nature:
“If I see sin in my heart, may the Lord not hear me.” 9
If I were like Elijah, I would call myself a man of God.10
If I were like Jeremiah, I would emulate your truth
in my soul.11 If I were like Hezekiah, I would proudly
say, with justification, “I walked before you
Or if I were like Paul, I would call myself
the dwelling place, oracle and receiver of God’s word.13
But I, lawless despite knowing the law,
not only cannot present my soul to you,
with respectful words like them, I cannot even
mention myself, who am totally corrupt,
to you in the same breath as these good souls,
for my impious tongue is not worthy to utter your name
praised by all creation.
But you, who are capable of everything,
grant me the spirit of salvation,
the sheltering right arm,
the helping hand,
the command of goodness,
the light of mercy,
the word of renewal,
the cause of pardon,
and help of the staff of life.
For you are the hope of refuge, Lord Jesus Christ,
blessed with the Father and Holy Spirit,
forever and ever.
1. Lk. 18:13.
2. Lk. 18:9, 11.
3. Lk. 18:12.
4. Mk. 2:17.
5. Mt. 15:27.
6. Job 33:9.
7. Num. 16:5.
8. Ps. 119 (Arm 118):121.
9. Ps. 66 (Arm 65):18.
10. 2 Kg. 1:9-10.
11. Jer. 11:19 (Jeremiah is depicted as a lamb led to slaughter, in the manner of Christ).
12. 2 Kg. 20:3, Is. 38:3.
13. Gal. 2:20.
Gregory of Narek
© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.