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, by your hand, great Lord and God,
artist who with infinite ingenuity shaped my being
in the crucible of your love where
I am daily refined but never purified,
continuously stirred but never smooth.
It is in vain, O silversmith, my heavenly architect,
that you squander effort working on me.
As the prophet said in his well known parable,
my wickedness does not melt away.1
Because I am woefully misguided
I dare speak out of turn
like some pathetic, possessed maniac,
increasing the burden of my sin
instead of finding a means of reconciliation.
And so that the punishment awaiting me in the next life
does not come as a shock,
extraordinary event, or unprecedented calamity,
he planted as a reminder here in my body
the token of that first curse,
that through this small insignificant speck the larger
illness might be examined.
For in the womb are born and spontaneously multiply
all manner of squirming worms,
intestinal worms gnawing in secret,
burning tumors, stinging ulcers, abnormal growths,
and host of other sweaty, noisome, disgusting, annoying, itching conditions.
Plus other savage marauders,
like demons attacking in the night,
barbarous mercenaries from the legions of darkness,
with the ferocity of Arabian wolves,
stalking with their head curved down, their
their crooked, hooked jaw,
resembling that of a scorpion,
piercing with crude thorns,
sucking, drawing blood,
to turn the bed of rest into an instrument of punishment.
And when one lifts one’s hand to give them their due,
they sense the danger in advance that man poses
and immediately take flight
with their hairless bodies and dwarfed size,
and hopping this way and that like grasshoppers
and with the slyness of foxes conspire against the good,
escaping through secret places, as if they have found deliverance from death.
And such vile and miserable beings,
not only pursue the vulgar and motley mob,
but also powerful and fearsome kings,
driving them to the attic of their habitations,
or even forcing them to live outside.
Courageous and brave men, who rule crowds
and govern peoples and take cities of nations,
have witnessed defeat at the hands of this virulent
“We were not able to resist these tyrants, stronger
therefore we took flight and reached this point.”
And why have I discoursed about
such miniscule and abject things worthy of ridicule?
Only because they are the most powerful and irrefutable advocates for the Divinity,
reminding me of what awaits me in the next life, these bitter fruits
of my unruly body.
And even so deadly diseases happen upon us and
eat away relentlessly.
From these there is no riddance
other than through physical pains which foretell
the punishment that is to come.
And there is no place to seek refuge,
to escape them by fleeing.
For without the signal of your will,
human efforts and methods fail.
But you, who do good, hold in ample measure the
life-giving cure for everything.
You have but to will it, in order to save, renew, pardon, cure and give life.
To you glory forever and ever.
1. Jer. 6:29.
Gregory of Narek
© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.