Orthodox Daily Prayers online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryAnonymousOrthodox Daily Prayers → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

E-text prepared by Gerard Arthus, Stephen Hutcheson, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team ( from page images
generously made available by Internet Archive (

Note: Images of the original pages are available through
Internet Archive. See


St. Tikhon's Seminary Press

with the blessings
His Grace,
the Right Reverend
Bishop of Philadelphia
Eastern Pennsylvania


Introduction 1
Morning Prayers 5
Commemoration of the Living and the Dead 25
Prayers at the Table 33
The Order of Compline 38
Before Sleep 68
The Three Canons 89
Canon in Preparation for Holy Communion 119
Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion 130
Prayers for Thanksgiving After Communion 161



The present Prayerbook contains the most basic daily prayers of the
Orthodox Christian as they have been transmitted to us essentially by the
Russian Church, although the other Orthodox Traditions in this matter are
very similar.

In this book, we will find the Psalms of the Holy Prophet King David, the
prayer which Our Lord Himself taught His holy disciples, prayers of the
desert fathers, prayers of the great hierarchs and teachers of the
Church, as well as the prayers of more recent fathers.

The publication of such prayers does not limit the free expression of the
Christian soul to the Creator, the Most-holy Theotokos and the Saints. On
the contrary, by reading these prayers we learn how to pray. They become
models for our own, personal prayers. Often, we would like to pray but,
distracted by the bustling world around us, or troubled by fear or
sorrow, we do not even know how to begin. We then begin with the
Prayerbook and find that not only much of what we wanted to say is
included in the prayers of the fathers, but that afterwards, we find
words of our own to continue the outpouring of our soul.

There is yet another gift in the Prayerbook. As Orthodox Christians we
are all members of the same Body. We express and partake of that oneness
in the services of the Church, especially in the Divine Liturgy. Through
the Prayerbook, this oneness is brought into our homes or any place that
an Orthodox Christian reads it. Our own prayers are carried to the Throne
of God on the wings of prayers that have been used by the People of God
for centuries. We no longer pray alone.


Many rules of prayer have developed in the history of the Church. At no
place or time has there been a uniform rule. In 19th Century Russia, for
example, the rule varied considerably from one monastery to another,
though certain basic elements were found in all of them. Therefore, the
term "Rule of Prayer" should never be understood as a strait jacket,
regulating and limiting our communion with God.

What the Rules do teach us is the importance of regularity in our life of
prayer. It is better to say a few prayers every day without fail than to
say a great number of prayers on an irregular, impulsive basis. Those of
us who are fortunate enough to have a spiritual father should consult him
before establishing our own Rule. Those of us who do not, should begin
with a modest Rule, increasing it only when it has become a regular and
integral part of our lives.


We have attempted to use a contemporary but dignified form of the English
language throughout this present translation. Wherever possible, existing
translations of the Orthodox Church in America have been used. For
example, the Prayers in Preparation for Holy Communion are taken from the
official Divine Liturgy book (St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1977) with
very few changes. The Psalms, verses, troparia, and prayers not included
in that edition have now been translated and included to complete the
traditional order.

The Psalms are taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible with
changes made wherever significant differences with the Orthodox
liturgical Psalter (based on the Septuagint) made it necessary. The
numbering of the Psalms follows the Septuagint throughout the Prayerbook.
We are leaving to Biblical scholars the study of the merits of the
various texts of the Holy Scriptures. Our object here is to provide the
English-speaking Orthodox Christian with a Prayerbook as closely
equivalent as possible to the Prayerbooks that Orthodox Christians of
other nationalities have used for generations.


_Having awakened, arise from your bed without laziness and, having
gathered your thoughts, make the Sign of the Cross, saying:_

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

_Afterwards, stand in silence for a few moments until all your senses are
calmed. At that point, make three prostrations, saying:_

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

_Then, begin the Morning Prayers with these words:_

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, through the prayers of Thy most pure
Mother and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth Who art everywhere
and fillest all things. Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life: Come and
abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O
Good One.

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us. _(3 times)_

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever
and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity! Have mercy on us! Lord, cleanse us from our sins!
Master, pardon our transgressions! Holy One, visit and heal our
infirmities for Thy name's sake.

Lord, have mercy! _(3 times)_

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever
and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily
bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

_(If there is a priest, he adds the usual exclamation)_

Having arisen from sleep, we fall down before Thee, O Blessed One, and
sing to Thee, O Mighty One, the angelic hymn: Holy! Holy! Holy! art Thou,
O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Having raised me from my bed and from sleep, O Lord, enlighten my mind
and heart, and open my lips that I may praise Thee, O Holy Trinity: Holy!
Holy! Holy! art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Judge will come suddenly and the acts of every man will be revealed;
but in the middle of the night we cry with fear: Holy! Holy! Holy! art
Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy! _(12 times)_

Having risen from sleep, I thank Thee, the Holy Trinity. In the abundance
of Thy kindness and long patience, Thou hast not been angry with me for
my laziness and sinfulness, nor hast Thou destroyed me in my lawlessness.
Instead, in Thy usual love for mankind, Thou hast raised me as I lay in
despair, that I might rise early and glorify Thy Reign. Enlighten now the
eyes of my mind and open my lips, that I might learn of Thy words,
understand Thy commandments, accomplish Thy will, hymn Thee in heart-felt
confession and praise Thine all-holy name, the Father and the Son, and
the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Come, let us worship God, our King!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and
our God!

Psalm 50

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Thy great mercy;
according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned,
and done that which is evil in Thy sight,
so that Thou art justified in Thy sentence
and blameless in Thy judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sins did my mother conceive me.

Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Fill me with joy and gladness;
let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence,
and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,
and sinners will return to Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
Thou God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of Thy deliverance.

O Lord, open Thou my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
For Thou hast no delight in sacrifice;
were I to give a burnt offering, Thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

Do good to Zion in Thy good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
Then wilt Thou delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on Thy altar.

The Symbol of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten
of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God;
begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things
were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was
buried. And the third day He arose again, according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and
He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose
Kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from
the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and
glorified; Who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and
Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I
look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

1st Prayer, by St. Macarius the Great.

O God, cleanse me a sinner, for I have done nothing good before Thee.
Deliver me from the evil one, and may Thy will be in me, that I might
open my unworthy lips without condemnation and praise Thy holy name,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

2nd Prayer, by St. Macarius the Great.

Having risen from sleep, I offer Thee, O Savior, the midnight song.
Falling down, I cry to Thee: let me not fall asleep in the death of sin.
Be gracious to me, Thou Who wast willingly crucified. Raise me quickly as
I lie in laziness, and save me as I stand in prayer. After the night's
sleep, O Christ God, shine a sinless day on me and save me.

3rd Prayer, by St. Macarius the Great.

Having risen from sleep, I run to Thee, O Master, for Thou lovest
mankind, and I rush to accomplish Thy work. Help me, I pray Thee, at all
times and in all things. Deliver me from every evil thing of this world
and from works of the devil. Save me, and lead me into Thine eternal
Kingdom. Thou art my Maker, The Provider and Giver of everything good.
All my hope is in Thee and I glorify Thee, now and ever and unto ages of
ages. Amen.

4th Prayer, by St. Macarius the Great.

O Lord, through Thy abundant goodness and great generosity, Thou hast
allowed me, Thy servant, to pass through the hours of this night
untempted by any evil of the enemy. Grant also, O Master and Creator of
all, that I might accomplish Thy will in Thy true light and with an
illumined heart, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

5th Prayer, by St. Macarius the Great.

O Lord, the Almighty God, Who acceptest the thrice-holy hymn from Thy
heavenly hosts: accept this song of the night even from me, Thine
unworthy servant. Grant that at every year and hour of my life I might
glorify Thee, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and
unto ages of ages. Amen.

6th Prayer, by St. Basil the Great.

Almighty Lord, the God of hosts and of all flesh, Thou livest in the
heights, yet lookest down on the humble, proving the hearts and emotions,
clearly foreknowing the secrets of men. Thou art the Light without
beginning, in Whom there is no variation nor shadow of change. O Immortal
King, accept the prayers which we now offer Thee from defiled lips. Free
us from the sins we have committed in deed, word or thought, knowingly
and unknowingly. Cleanse us from all defilement of flesh and spirit.
Grant us to pass through the entire night of this present life with a
watchful heart and a sober mind, awaiting the coming of the bright and
manifest day of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior Jesus
Christ, when the Judge of all will come with glory to reward each
according to his deeds. May we not be found fallen and lazy, but alert
and roused to action, prepared to enter into His joy and the divine
chamber of His glory, where the voice of those who feast is unceasing and
indescribable is the delight of those who behold the inexpressible beauty
of Thy countenance. For Thou art the true Light which enlightens and
sanctifies all, and all creation hymns Thee unto ages of ages. Amen.

7th Prayer, also by St. Basil.

We bless Thee, most high God and Lord of mercies, Who ever doest great
and unfathomable things for us - glorious and awesome things without
number. Thou givest us sleep for the repose of our frailty, relieving the
labors of our over-burdened flesh. We thank Thee for not destroying us in
our lawlessness. Instead, Thou hast shown Thy usual love for mankind, and
raised us, as we lay in despair, to glorify Thy Reign. Therefore, we
implore Thy boundless goodness: enlighten our thoughts and eyes, and
awaken our minds from the heavy sleep of laziness. Open our lips and fill
them with Thy praise, that we may unwaveringly hymn and confess Thee, the
God glorified in all and by all, Father without beginning, with Thine
only-begotten Son and Thine all-holy, and life-giving Spirit, now and
ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

8th Prayer. A Midnight Song to the Most Holy Theotokos.

I hymn your Grace, O Lady,
and pray that you grace my mind.
Teach me to walk correctly
on the path of Christ's commandments.
Strengthen me to watch in song,
dispelling the despair of sleep.
I am bound by fetters of sin,
free me by your prayers, O Bride of God!
Keep me in the night and in the day,
delivering me from warring enemies.
As you bore the life-giving God,
give life to me, who am wounded by passions.
As you bore the unsetting Light,
enlighten my blinded soul.
O wondrous palace of the Master,
make me a home of the divine Spirit.
As you bore the Physician,
heal my soul of its passion-filled years.
I am tossed in the tempest of life:
direct me to the path of repentance.
Deliver me from the eternal flame,
from the evil worm, and from hell.
Make me not a joy for demons,
though I am guilty of many sins.
Make me new, most undefiled one,
for I am aged by senseless sins.
Estrange me from all torments,
and pray for me to the Master of all.
Grant that, with all the saints,
I may inherit the joys of heaven.
Hear, most holy Virgin,
the voice of your useless servant.
Grant me a torrent of tears, most pure one,
to wash the filth of my soul.
The groans of my heart I bring you unceasingly:
open your heart, O Lady!
Accept my prayerful service,
and take it to the compassionate God.
You who are far higher than the angels,
raise me above this world's confusion.
O light-bearing heavenly cloud,
direct spiritual grace into me.
I raise in praise, all-undefiled one,
hands and lips defiled by sin.
Deliver me from soul-corrupting harm,
praying fervently to Christ,
To Whom glory and worship are due,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

9th Prayer, to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

My most merciful and all-merciful God, O Lord Jesus Christ! In Thy great
love, Thou didst come down and become flesh in order to save all. Again,
I pray Thee, save me by Grace! If Thou shouldst save me because of my
deeds, it would not be a gift, but merely a duty. Truly, Thou aboundest
in graciousness and art inexpressibly merciful! Thou hast said, O my
Christ: "He who believes in me shall live and never see death". If faith
in Thee saves the desperate, behold: I believe! Save me, for Thou art my
God and my Maker. May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt
find no deeds to justify me. May my faith be sufficient for all. May it
answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine
eternal glory; and may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that He has
torn me from Thy hand and fold. O Christ my Savior: save me whether I
want it or not! Come quickly, hurry, for I perish! Thou art my God from
my mother's womb. Grant, O Lord, that I may now love Thee as once I loved
sin, and that I may labor for Thee without laziness as once I labored for
Satan the deceiver. Even more, I will labor for Thee, my Lord and God
Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever and unto ages of
ages. Amen.

10th Prayer, to the Angel, the guardian of human life.

O Holy Angel, who stand by my wretched soul and my passionate life: do
not abandon me, a sinner, neither depart from me because of my lack of
self-control. Leave no room for the evil demon to gain control of me
through the violence of this mortal body. Strengthen my weak and feeble
hand, and instruct me in the path of salvation. O holy Angel of God, the
guardian and protector of my wretched soul and body: forgive all the
sorrows I have caused you, every day of my life. If I have sinned in this
past night, protect me during this day. Keep me from every adverse
temptation, that I may not anger God by any sin. Pray to the Lord for me,
that He may establish me in His fear and make me, His servant, worthy of
His goodness. Amen.

11th Prayer, to the Most Holy Theotokos.

O Most Holy Theotokos, my Lady: through your holy and all-powerful
prayers, turn away from me, your humble and unworthy servant, despair,
forgetfulness, unreasonableness, indifference, and all unclean, evil and
blasphemous thoughts from my wretched heart and darkened mind. Extinguish
the flame of my passions, for I am poor and wretched. Deliver me from my
numerous and wicked memories and fantasies. Free me from all evil acts,
for you are blessed by all generations, and your most honorable name is
glorified unto ages of ages. Amen.

Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos! Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for
you have borne the Savior of our souls!

Most glorious Ever-Virgin Mother of Christ our God, bear our prayer to
your Son and our God, that through you He may save our souls.

O heavenly hosts of holy Angels and Archangels, pray for us sinners.

O glorious Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, and all Saints, pray for us

Pray to God for me holy ________ (your Patron Saint), for with fervor I
run to you, swift helper and intercessor for my soul!

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victories to
the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by virtue of Thy
Cross, preserve Thy habitation.

It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure,
and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more
glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim: without defilement you gave
birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever
and to ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy! _(3 times)_

Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, for the sake of Thy most pure Mother, our
venerable and God-bearing fathers, and all the saints, save me, a sinner.

_Some pious Christians use the following "Morning Prayer of the Last
Elders of Optina" with their morning prayers._

O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me with
spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to Thy
holy Will.

At every hour of this day, direct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever news may reach me in the course of the day, teach me to accept
it with a calm soul and the firm conviction that all is subject to Thy
holy Will.

Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all
unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down from

Grant that I may deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of
my family, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.

O Lord, grant me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and
all the events that take place during it. Direct my will and teach me to
pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love. Amen.


_To be read daily by every monastic and pious Christian at the end of his
rule of prayer._

Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thine eternal mercies and
compassion, for whose sake Thou didst become man and willingly endured
crucifixion and death for the salvation of those who rightly believe in
Thee. Thou didst rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven and sittest at
the right hand of God the Father, looking down on the humble petitions of
those who call upon Thee with their whole heart. Bow down Thine ear and
hear the prayer which I, Thy useless servant, offer Thee for all Thy
people as a spiritual fragrance. First of all, remember Thy Holy,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church which Thou didst obtain through Thy
precious Blood. Establish, strengthen, broaden, and multiply her. Give
her peace and keep her eternally unassailable by the gates of hell. Calm
the quarrels of the churches, put out the arrogance of the heathen, and
swiftly destroy and uproot the rebellions of heresies, turning them into
nothing through the power of Thy Holy Spirit.


Save, Lord, and have mercy on the Holy Orthodox Patriarchs, our Lord, the
Most Blessed ________, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All
America and Canada; on our Lord, the Right Reverend ________, Bishop of
________; on priests, deacons and all the clergy whom Thou hast installed
to tend Thy reason endowed flock. Through their prayers, save me also, a
sinner, and have mercy on me.


Save, Lord, and have mercy on the President of our country, on all our
civil authorities and armed forces. Surround them with peace, and speak
peace and goodness into their hearts for Thy Holy Church and all Thy
people. In their calm may we live a calm and silent life in the True
Faith and in all piety and purity.


Save, Lord, and have mercy on our father (the name and title of the abbot
of your monastery or of your parish priest) with all our brethren in
Christ, and have mercy on me, who am wretched, through their prayers.

1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryAnonymousOrthodox Daily Prayers → online text (page 1 of 6)