Chrysostom’s prayers for day and night

The Jesus Prayer (see previous posts 1 | 2) is an example of an “arrow prayer”: a short, easily-remembered prayer that can be “fired up to heaven” like an arrow.

Another example of arrow prayers in the Eastern Orthodox tradition is this series of 24 prayers traditionally attributed to St John Chrysostom, one for each hour of the day and night. (These prayers, in the translation below, are set to music in Arvo Pärt’s stunning choral work, Litany.)

Day:

  • O Lord, of Thy heavenly bounties, deprive me not.
  • O Lord, deliver me from the eternal torments.
  • O Lord, forgive me if I have sinned in my mind or my thought, whether in word or in deed.
  • O Lord, free me from all ignorance and forgetfulness, from despondency and stony insensibility.
  • O Lord, deliver me from every temptation.
  • O Lord, enlighten my heart which evil desires have darkened.
  • O Lord, as a man have I sinned, have Thou mercy on me, as the God full of compassion, seeing the feebleness of my soul.
  • O Lord, send down Thy grace to help me, that I may glorify Thy name.
  • O Lord Jesus Christ, write me down in the book of life and grant unto me a good end.
  • O Lord my God, even if I had not done anything good before Thee, do Thou help me, in Thy grace, to make a good beginning.
  • O Lord, sprinkle into my heart the dew of Thy grace.
  • O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful servant, full of shame and impurity, in Thy kingdom. Amen.

Night:

  • O Lord, receive me in penitence.
  • O Lord, forsake me not.
  • O Lord, lead me not into misfortune.
  • O Lord, quicken in me a good thought.
  • O Lord, give me tears and remembrance of death, and contrition.
  • O Lord, make me solicitous of confessing my sins.
  • O Lord, give me humility, chastity, and obedience.
  • O Lord, give me patience, magnanimity, and meekness.
  • O Lord, implant in me the root of all good – Thy fear in my heart.
  • O Lord, vouchsafe that I may love thee from all my soul and mind and in everything do Thy will.
  • O Lord, shelter me from certain men, from demons and passions, and from any other unbecoming thing.
  • O Lord, Thou knowest that Thou dost as Thou willest, let then Thy will be done in me, sinner, for blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

I’ve prepared a small pocket version of these prayers, with the hours numbered starting from 7 am and 7 pm respectively (if anyone knows what the starting hours should be, then please let me know – I’m guessing 7 am isn’t a very “monastic” definition for the start of the day!). These are available as a PDF here: if you are printing on A4, they should match up back to back. Failing that, you can just stick the two halves together.

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9 Responses to Chrysostom’s prayers for day and night

  1. wyclif says:

    Found on Everything2? Ironic, but good.

  2. John H says:

    Don’t really know the site at all. Looks to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but it was the only site with that translation of the prayers on it. 🙂

  3. Jason Blair says:

    If I remember right, it may have been one of the early projects of the guys who brought Slashdot to the world. I almost forgot about it.

  4. Phil Walker says:

    Isn’t Everything2 like Wikipedia, but without the professionalism?

  5. John H says:

    I take it it’s too late to get anyone to comment on the actual prayers? The actual prayers are pretty good, IMO, even if the source is a bit dodge… 😉

  6. Tapani Simojoki says:

    Thanks, John, for this. I’m happy to comment on the prayer itself: There can never be too many prayer resources for laity and clergy alike. It’s a real shame and loss that many (most?) Lutherans, along with other evangelicals, have lost the habit of prayer that Jesus had, the apostles and the early church, the medieaeval church and the Reformers cultivated. Little gems like this will, I hope, help to turn the tide.

  7. Tapani Simojoki says:

    Speaking of devotional materials, you may want to look at http://lcmssermons.com/ This website posts weekly sermons. Of more interest to me are the two subscription services: weekly Book of Concord readings (also formatted to fit on the back of a standard CPH bulletin) and a daily lectionary designed to help with reading through the Bible in a year, from the comfort (?) of one’s computer.

  8. Pingback: Confessing Evangelical » Blog Archive » Pocket prayers

  9. anand verdhan says:

    Indeed the hourly prayer mantra given are the words of GOD, bestowed on us. Amin. Thanks to my almighty GOD. Anand..

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