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
Now, confess, my ruined soul
with hope in your heart for salvation
with the belt of faith tight over your kidneys,1
confess your thoughts to God
as if thoughts were actions,
as if plans were accomplishments,
as if invisible were seen,
as if the heart’s secrets were voiced,
as if sinful intentions were committed wrongs,
as if words were deeds,
as if footprints were flight from God’s will,
hands raised in anger as if they shed blood,
abandoned laughter as if abandoned grace,
vows both reasonable and unreasonable
as if compacts with the devil,
haughtiness as if it could detract
from our creator,
uneasiness of heart as if a lack of faith,
cowardice as if it were defeat,
complaints about passionate temptations
as if betrayals of a vow to the Lord,2
insolence as if it were impiety,
arrogance as if precious vanity,
pride as if fondness for evil,
the involuntary as well as voluntary,
the forced as well as the consenting,
the extrinsic as well as the intrinsic,
the lawless as well as the ungodly,
the smallest as well as the greatest,
the few as well as the many,
the things I have left unspoken as if
they were spoken by the all-knowing,
the unwritten wrongs as if
they were carved by the all-seeing upon a lodestone,3
the slightest contentious thought as if
it were the gravest of burdens,
a hidden matter of measure as if
it were the just demand for payment of tribute
in the amount of four drachmae
from the mouth of a baby whale,4
buried deeds as if they were speeding to the ear of God.
Compile and compound them redoubling your effort,
and lament here again what is not, as if it were.
Offer your vanquished soul to God
so that you might receive the forgiveness of sins,
like the sinner who through the Lord’s grace
eloquently proclaiming the merits of repentance rather than faultfinding.5
Now compile and condemn your soul’s sins,
reproach yourself with varied images, my soul,
in a relentless stream of words:
evil, disobedience, error,
rage, impudence, stupidity,
stupor, daydreaming, slumber,
pagan thoughts, base words,
pleasure in dissolution, dalliance,
desire of what is hateful to God,
impious, incorrigible, uncivilized,
faulty, feeble, weak, stingy,
untethered, ridiculous, lusting,6
comic, scandalous, deceitful,
brazen, quarrelsome, outlaw,
suffocating the soul, shaking cowardice,
unruly branching bush,
dishonorable indulgence, contentiousness, sulking,
baseless hatred, lax titillation,
failure to weigh small things, breach of promise,
forgetfulness of vows, distortion of similarity,
disguised by veils, extravagance of glory seeking,
arrogance, roguishness, egotism,7
will to power, conspiracy with criminals,8
meaningless gossip, vicious behavior,
collaboration with the conniving tempter,
confusion, selling of life for the price of butchery,
loss of tradition, betrayal of homeland,
yoked to lawlessness like oxen,10
living in filth, abandoning the good,
giving in to bad impulses, worse than
new designs, untoward intentions, unstable will,
pointless shouting, letter over spirit,
lawlessness, despotic rule,
and other things that cannot be spoken, written, told
And now, how shall you be cured, my poor soul,
after suffering so many slashes of the lance?
You are like an abandoned, exiled man, incurable,
as the Prophet wrote.12 Anyone would be condemned
to death for the wrongs listed above, let alone if besieged
by the hordes of killers and vicious executioners.
And these descriptions fail to convey fully
the weight of my misfortune.
Although my skin-covered vessel may look
good from the outside, it is teaming with evil within
as if swarming with scorpions that sting
with the deadly poison in their tails.
It is a storehouse of ruination and mass of grief,
filled with agents of destruction and sowers of death.
And now, your store of iniquities,
the accumulated wages of your wicked ways,
my soul, are enough to condemn you twice to death.
Seeds sown by the enemy upon the grain fields
of the world,13
which you willingly accepted in yourself,
unclean man, dishonest and lazy, completely hateful,
gluttonous lover of all that is filled with corruption,
for which the Apostle saved some of his most fearsome words of reprimand:
“And those who know,” he said, “God’s law, and still
do such things or are willing to do so,
are deserving of death.”14
Thus, I myself am deserving of double
condemnation to ruination and death, but still
I pray you, spare me, with your mercy,
O God, compassionate, living, mighty,
obliging, able, potent,
1. Ex. 29:13, Lev. 3:4, Jer. 12:2, Job 16:13, Wis. 1:6.
2. 2 Cor. 1:3-6.
3. Jer. 17:1.
4. Mt. 17:24-27.
5. Mt. 26:7, 13; Lk. 7:36-50.
6. Jer. 5:8.
7. Is. 3:16.
8. Mt. 23:6.
9. Lk. 15:13.
10. Is. 5:18.
11. 2 Pet. 2:20.
12. Jer. 22: 28-30.
13. Mt. 13:24-28, 37-39.
14. Rom. 1:28-32.
Gregory of Narek
© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.