Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vesting prayers for daily life

At the beginning of every Divine Liturgy, the priest prays special prayers while vesting, offering each vestment to God and bringing to mind some specific action or function of the priest related to the liturgy. Why not have similar prayers for daily life? May I recommend the following as a starter—an opportunity to recall God’s presence in every detail of our lives: (Many of these prayers have been taken, in whole or part, from the Scriptures and/or the purple Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, readily available at our bookstore on I'On Square.)

Placing the Cross over our head: “Restore to me, O Lord, the joy of Thy Salvation, fence me about with the power of Thy honorable and live-giving Cross, and preserve me from every evil. Amen.”

On donning the shirt, sweater, dress, or coat: “Lead me, O Lord, in Thy righteousness because of my enemies; make Thy way straight before me. Let all who take refuge in Thee rejoice, let them ever sing for joy; and do Thou defend them, that those who love Thy name may exult in Thee. For Thou dost bless the righteous, O Lord; Thou dost cover him with favor as with a shield. Amen.”

On pulling on the pants or skirt and/or on buckling the belt: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Gird my loins, O my God, and protect me from all evil men and women, devils, passions, and all other unlawful things. Amen.”

On putting on the shoes: “O Lord, may I not fall away into sloth, but take courage, and being roused to action, be found ready and enter the joy and the divine bride-chamber of Thy Glory, where the voice of those that feast is never silent. Amen.”

On placing the prayer rope about the wrist or the book of prayers in the pocket: “Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers and all the saints, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, have mercy on me and save me. Amen.”

On placing a card of particular Bible verses or a small copy of the Scriptures in pocket: “I rejoice at Thy word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love Thy law. Seven times a day I praise Thee for Thy righteous ordinances. Great peace have those who love Thy law; nothing can make them stumble. I hope for Thy salvation, O Lord, and I do Thy commandments.”

On placing wallet in pocket or purse: “All things come of Thee, O Lord: teach me to be a good steward thereof. Amen.”

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