Monday, August 31, 2015

Archimandrite Sophrony's 'Prayer at Daybreak'

Essex country lane.  Who knew that an Orthodox monastery was close by?

A friend shared Archimandrite Sophrony's (1896-1993) 'Prayer at Daybreak' several years ago.  I have found it a useful addition to my prayer rule.  If you've not come across it before, you may find it useful as well.  Fr. Sophrony is perhaps best known as a disciple of St. Silouan the Athonite.  Archimandrite Sophrony was also the compiler of St. Silouan's works and author of his biography.  But Archimandrite Sophrony also was instrumental in 1959 in the establishing of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Maldon, Essex, UK.  It was as an Elder there that Archimandrite Sophrony served as the spiritual father to many people, including my current Archbishop Makarios, who was at the time a graduate student in Oxford studying history under Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

I've taken the liberty to update some of the language.

Morning Prayer of Archimandrite Sophrony:
"Prayer at Daybreak"

O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things,
Who of Your inscrutable goodness called me to this life;
Who bestowed on me the grace of Baptism and the Seal of the Holy Spirit;
Who imbued me with the desire to seek You, the one true God:
Hear my prayer.
I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in You, O God.
Because of my unrighteousness, I dare not raise my eyes to You.
But You said to Your disciples,
'Whatsoever you shall ask in prayer believing, you shall receive.'
and 'Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do.'
Wherefore I dare to invoke You.
Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit.
Teach me to pray aright.
Bless this day which You give unto me, Your unworthy servant.
By the power of Your blessing enable me at all times to speak and act to Your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom, aware always of Your presence.
Of Your immense goodness, O Lord God, show me the path of Your will,
and grant me to walk in Your sight without sin.
O Lord, unto Whom all hearts be open,
You know what things I have need of.
You art acquainted with my blindness and my ignorance,
You know my infirmity and my soul's corruption;
But neither are my pain and anguish hid from You.
Wherefore I beseech You, hear my prayer
and by Your Holy Spirit, teach me the way wherein I should walk;
and when my perverted will would lead me down other paths,
spare me not, O Lord, but force me back to You.
By the power of Your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good.
Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul;
from every impulse unpleasing in Your sight and hurtful to my brother-man.
Teach me what I should say and how I should speak.
If it be Your will that I make no answer,
inspire me to keep silent in a spirit of peace
that causes neither sorrow nor hurt to my fellow man.
Establish me in the path of Your commandments
and to my last breath let me not stray from the light of Your ordinances,
that Your commandments may become the sole law
of my being on this earth and all eternity.
Yea, Lord, I pray to You, have pity on me.
Spare me in my affliction and my misery
and hide not the way of salvation from me.
In my foolishness, O God, I plead with You for many and great things.
Yet am I ever mindful of my wickedness, my baseness, my vileness.
Have mercy upon me.
Cast me not away from your presence because of my presumption.
Rather, increase in me this presumption,
and grant unto me, the worst of men,
to love You as You hast commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul,
and with all my mind, and with all my strength: With my whole being.
Yea, O Lord, by Your Holy Spirit, teach me good judgment and knowledge.
Grant me to know Your truth before I go down into the grave.
Maintain my life in this world until I may offer unto You worthy repentance.
Take me not away in the midst of my days, nor while my mind is still blind.
When You shalt be pleased to bring my life to an end,
forewarn me that I may prepare my soul to come before You.
Be with me, O Lord, at that dread hour and grant me the joy of salvation.
Cleanse me from secret faults, from all iniquity that is hidden in me;
and give me a right answer before Your judgment-seat—
Yea, Lord, of Your great mercy and immeasurable love for mankind.

Archimandrite Sophrony, His Life Is Mine (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1977), 52-53. 

Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov)

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