These prayers are to be said before departing for Church for the Divine Liturgy. You may say them in place of the usual morning practice, although there is time at the end to read the lessons for the day and make some silence reflections. You should fast before reception of the Holy Mysteries under the direction of your Spiritual Father. If you are attending an Evening Liturgy, it may be appropriate to read these prayers at midday or whenever your pre-communion fast begins.
The Opening Prayers:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of your most pure Mother and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen.
Glory to you, our God, glory to you.
O heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth, everywhere present and filling all things; Treasury of good things 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. (3x)
(From Easter to Ascension, say rather “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” 3x)
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 your Name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3x)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be your Name; your kingdom come; your will be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil one.
Lord, have mercy. (12x).
Come, let us worship God, our King, and bow down before him.
Come, let us worship Christ God, our King, and bow down before him.
Come, let us worship Christ, our King and our God, and bow down before him.
Psalm 22 (23)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In the green pastures, he makes me a home, he nourishes me beside the still water. He uplifts my soul, he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare me a table in my persecutors’ presence, you anoint my head with oil, and the cup you give me to drink – how supremely good it is! And your mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the Lord’s house for the length of my days.
Psalm 23 (24)
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the whole world and all who dwell in it. For he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not driven his soul unto vanity, who has not sworn falsely to his neighbor. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, great mercy from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God. Raise up the gates, O you princes, and be uplifted, you everlasting doors, the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The lord strong and mighty, the Lord might in battle. Raise up the gates, O you princes, and be uplifted, you everlasting doors and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.
Psalm 115 (116: 10-19)
I believed and therefore I spoke: I was deeply brought low. I said in my terror: every man is a liar. What can I give back to the Lord for all he has given to me? I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O lord, I am your servant, your servant and your handmaiden’s son, you have broken apart my bonds. I will sacrifice to you a sacrifice of praise and call upon the Lord’s name. I shall pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in your very midst, O Jerusalem.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Glory to you, O God. (3x)
Lord, born of the Virgin, turn away from my transgressions and purify my heart. Make me a temple for your most pure and precious body and blood. Your great mercy is boundless: do not cast me away from your presence.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I am ashamed and unworthy to draw near to your holy gifts. If I dare to approach you with those who are worthy, my garment will condemn me, for it is not a wedding garment. I bring reproach upon my most sinful soul. All-loving God, cleanse my soul of defilement and save me.
Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Because of the multitude of my transgressions, I come to you, pure Theotokos, asking for salvation. Visit my ailing soul, only blessed one, and beseech your Son, our God, to grant me remission of the evil I have done.
On Holy And Great Thursday
The glorious disciples were illumined at the Supper during the washing of the feet. Yet the ungodly Judas was darkened by the disease of avarice, and he delivered the righteous judge to lawless judges. Behold, lover of money, how for the sake of money he hanged himself and seeing this, flee from greed which made Judas dare to do such things against his Loving Master. Glory to you, Lord, who are good towards all people.
Lord, have mercy (40x).
Prostrations as desired, and immediately the following supplicatory prayers:
Approach with fear to eat the body of the Master for it is fire and you be burned. Before you drink in communion the blood be first reconciled with all those you have offended; then you may take courage to eat the mystic Food. Before you take part in the awesome sacrifice of the life-giving body of the Master, take care and pray with fear of God.
Prayer I, of Saint Basil:
Divine Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God, the source of life and of immortality, creator of all things visible and invisible, coeternal and everlasting Son of the Father without beginning; because of your love, you become man, living with us, you suffered, died and rose again for the salvation of those who rejected you. By your own blood you have renewed our common nature, corrupted by sin. Immortal king, accept my repentance and turn towards me and hear my words. I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned before heaven and before you, and I am not worthy to look upon the height of your glory.In my sins I have overcome your divine goodness. I have transgressed your commandments. I have disobeyed your ordinances. In your long-suffering, and great mercy, Lord, do not remember evil, nor have you given me over to destruction because of my lawlessness, but rather you wait patiently for my conversion. In your love for all people, you have said by your prophet, “I do not desire the death of a sinner but that he should turn and live.” You do not wish that the work of your hands should perish, Master, and you do not take pleasure in the destruction of human beings. It is your will that everyone should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. I am unworthy both of heaven and earth and of this temporary life, because I have wholly yielded myself to sin and become the slave of pleasure. I have defiled your image, yet being your creature and of your shaping, I do not despair. I trust your love and know that in my wretchedness I may still be saved. I am emboldened by your infinite compassion and I draw near. Therefore, O Christ, you who love all people, receive me as you did the harlot, as the thief, as the publican, as the prodigal. Take away the heavy burden of my sins, Lamb of God, who take away the sin of the world. Heal me, Divine Physician who heals the infirmities of all people. Give me rest, Lord, who call to yourself all who are weary and heavy-ladened. Accept my repentance, Divine Word, who came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Cleanse me from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, and teach me to fulfill holiness in your fear. Then as I receive your Holy Gifts, my conscience will not accuse me so that I may be united to your holy body and precious blood. Then you will dwell forever within me together with the Father and your Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus Christ my God, grant that the communion of your holy and life giving mysteries may not be for my condemnation. Do not let me be sickened in soul and body because I partake of them in an unworthy manner. Grant that to my the last breath I may partake without condemnation in my share of your holy gifts, for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, for eternal life, and for favorable answer at your awesome judgment seat. Then even I might become a partaker with your elect of those incorruptible blessings which you have prepared for those who love you and by whom, Lord, you are glorified to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer II, of the same saint:
Lord, that I am unworthy to partake of your Holy Mysteries: I am guilty, my Christ and my God, as I eat and drink condemnation to myself not discerning your body and blood. Yet your loving kindnesses makes me bold. You said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him.” So I come to you. Lord, have mercy: Do not rebuke this sinner, but deal with me mercifully. Let me not partake of these gifts to my judgement or condemnation. May they give me healing and cleansing, enlightenment and protection, salvation and sanctification in both soul and body. May they avert every fantasy, evil practice, and operation of the devil from me. May they give me confidence and love for you; amendment of life and perseverance, increase of virtue and perfection, fulfillment of your commandments, fellowship of the Holy Spirit, provisions for the journey of eternal life, and an acceptable answer at your awesome judgment seat. Amen.
Prayer III, of John Chrysostom:
Lord, my God, I know that I am not worthy that you should come under the roof of the house of my soul: for it is entirely desolate and in ruins, and you will find no place in me to lay your head. Yet, as you humbled yourself from on high for our sake, do likewise also for my unworthiness. As once, in a cave, you willed to lie in a manger of dumb animals, take it upon yourself now to enter the manger of my dumb soul and into my soiled body. As once you willed to enter and eat with sinners in the house of Simon the leper, so now deign to enter into the house of my soul, leper and sinner that I am. As you did refuse the harlot who came and touched you, so now have compassion on me, this sinner, who comes to touch you. And as you did not abhor the kiss of her sinful and unclean mouth, do not recoil from my mouth – more stained and unclean than hers, nor my sordid, unclean and shameless lips, nor my more unclean tongue. Rather let the fiery coal of your most pure body and of your most precious blood bring sanctification, illumination, and strength to my lowly soul and body. Bring relief of the burden of my many transgressions, protection against every operation of the devil, an averting and hindering of my mean and evil habits, mortification of my passions, fulfillment of your commandments, an increase of your divine grace, and inheritance of your kingdom. It is not with a light heart, Christ my God, that I venture to approach you, but I trust in your ineffable goodness. If I restrain myself from communion with you I might fall prey to the Deceiver, therefore, Lord, I pray to you – the Only Holy One: sanctify my soul, body, heart, and mind. Renew me wholly, and implant in my members the holy fear of you. Do not let your sanctification be taken from me: be my help and protector, governing my life in peace. Make me worthy to obtain a place at your right hand with your saints, through the prayers and supplications of your most pure Mother, of the angelic powers, and of all your saints from all ages, who have found favor in you. Amen.
Prayer IV, of the same saint:
Sovereign Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under the roof of my soul yet because of your love for all people, you wish to dwell in me and so I boldly come before you. Command the gates you made to open, and you will come in with love toward all people. You will come in and enlighten my darkened reasoning. I believe that you will do this for me, knowing that you did not send away the harlot who came to you with tears, nor cast out the repenting tax collector, nor reject the thief who acknowledged your kingdom, nor forsake the repentant persecutor for what he was. But you counted as your friends all of those who came to you in repentance. You alone are blessed, always, now and to the endless ages. Amen.
Prayer V, of the same saint:
Lord Jesus Christ my God, absolve, remit, forgive, and pardon me of all the errors, transgressions, and trespasses which I have committed from my youth to the present day and hour, in knowledge or in ignorance, in word, deed, or thought, in reasoning and pursuit, and in all my senses. Through the intercession of your Mother, the all pure and ever virgin Mary, who conceived you without sin, my only hope, protection, and salvation, count me worthy to partake without condemnation of your pure and immortal and life giving, awesome Mysteries, for the remission of sins, for eternal life, for sanctification and enlightenment, for strength, and healing and health of both soul and body, for the erasing and complete removal of my evil thoughts and recollections, superstitions and nocturnal phantasies brought by dark and evil spirits. Yours is the kingdom, the power, the honor, and worship, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer VI, of John Of Damascus:
Divine Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God, you alone have the authority to forgive human beings their sins. You are good and love everyone: forgive all my transgressions committed in knowledge or in ignorance. Make me worthy to receive your divine and glorious, pure and life giving Mysteries without condemnation. Let me not earn thereby neither punishment, nor the increase of my sins, but rather let me receive cleansing, sanctification, and a pledge of the life to come and of your eternal kingdom. Let your gifts be for me a rampart, a help, and an overturning of my adversaries, and a wiping out of my many transgressions. You are the God of mercy, compassion, and love of all, and to you we give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer VII, of Symeon The New Theologian:
From dirty lips,
From a disgusting heart,
From an unclean tongue,
Out of a polluted soul,
Receive my prayer, O my Christ.
Reject me not,
Nor my words, nor my ways,
Nor even my shamelessness,
But give me courage to say
What I desire, my Christ.
Even more, teach me
What to do and say.
I have sinned more than the harlot
Who learned where you were,
And bringing myrrh,
She dared to come and anoint
Your feet, my Christ,
My Lord and my God.
As you did not turn her away,
When she drew near because of her love,
Neither turn me away, O Word!
Grant me your feet
To hold and kiss,
And with a flood of tears
I dare to anoint them
As with most precious myrrh.
Wash me with my tears
Purify me with them, O Word.
Forgive my sins
And grant me pardon.
You know the multitude of my evil-doings,
You know also my wounds,
And you see my bruises.
But you also know my faith,
And behold my willingness.
Your hear my sighs.
My God, my Maker, my Redeemer,
Nothing escapes your notice
Not a tear-drop,
Nor even a part of a drop.
Your eyes see
What I have not achieved,
And in your book
You have written
things I’ve not yet done.
See my depression,
See how great is my trouble.
Take all my sins from me,
O God of all.
That with a clean heart,
And contrite spirit
I may partake of your pure
And all-holy Mysteries.
By these all who eat and drink you
With sincerity of heart
Are quickened and deified.
My Lord, you said:
“Whoever eats My Flesh
And drinks My Blood
Abides in Me
And I in Him.”
Wholly true is the word
Of my Lord and God!
Whoever partakes of your divine
And deifying Gifts
Is not alone, but is with you, Christ,
Light of the Triune Sun
Which illumines the world.
And that I may not remain alone
Without you, the Giver of Life,
My Breath, my Life, My Joy,
The Salvation of the world,
Therefore I have drawn near to you
with these tears that you see
And with a contrite spirit.
Ransom of my offences,
I beseech you to receive me.
Let me partake without condemnation
Of your life-giving and perfect Mysteries,
fulfill your promise to remain
With me, thrice-wretched as I am.
Do not let the tempter find me
Without your grace
And seize me with cunning.
That having deceived me,
he may seduce me,
Away from yourdeifying words.
I fall at your feet
And fervently cry out to you:
As you received the Prodigal
And the Harlot who approached you,
So have compassion and receive me,
The profligate and the prodigal.
With contrite spirit
I now draw near to you.
Knowing, O Saviour, that no other
Has sinned against you as I have sinned.
No one has done the deeds
That I have committed.
But this again I know:
Neither the greatness of my offences
Nor the multitude of my sins
Surpasses the great patience
Of my God,
And His extreme love.
With the oil of your compassion
You purify and enlighten
Those who fervently repent
You make them children of the light,
Sharers of your Divine Nature.
You act most generously!
What is strange to Angels
And to the minds of men
You tell to your chosen ones
As to your truest friends.
These things make me bold, my Christ,
These things give me wings,
And I take courage from the wealth
Of your goodness to us.
And rejoicing and trembling at once,
I who am straw partake of fire,
And, strange wonder!
I am ineffably bedewed,
Like the bush of old
I burn without being consumed.
With thankful mind,
And with thankful heart,
And with thankfulness in all the members
Of my soul and body,
I worship and magnify
And glorify you, my God,
Blessed, ever, now and throughout the ages.
Prayer VIII, of Symeon Metaphrastes:
Jesus Christ, Wisdom, Peace, and Power of God, only pure and spotless Lord, moved by the ineffable pity in your love toward all people, you took upon yourself our whole frame from the chaste and virgin blood of she who wondrously conceived you at the coming of the Holy Spirit and by the favor of the eternal Father. You underwent the life giving and saving passion: the cross, the nails, the spear – death itself. Mortify in me the passions of the body that destroy the soul. You destroyed the power of Hades by your burial, through pure thoughts bury and destroy the devices of the evil spirits in me. You raised our fallen first parents by your resurrection, raise me up from the sin into which I have fallen and show me the way of repentance. By your glorious ascension you deified the flesh and restored it to honored at the right hand of the Father. Make me worthy, by partaking of your holy Mysteries, of a place at your right hand with the saved. You made your holy disciples precious vessels of the Comforter, the Spirit. Declare me also a vessel of your coming. You promised to come again to judge the world in righteousness. Grant that I shall go to meet you, my Creator and Maker, in the clouds, with all the saints, and that I may glorify you forever and praise you, with your eternal Father, and your all holy, gracious and life giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer IX, of John Of Damascus:
I stand before the doors of your temple, but I have not refrained from wicked thoughts. But you, O Christ, my God, justified the tax collector, and showed mercy to the Canaanite woman, and opened the gates of paradise to the thief. Open for me the depth of your love, and receive me as I draw near and touch you, as did the harlot and the woman with the issue of blood. The latter only touched the hem of your garment, and she immediately received healing, while the former, clinging to your pure feet, obtained forgiveness of her sins. May I, the miserable one, be not consumed in daring to receive your whole body. Receive me as you did them, and enlighten my soul’s perception through the intercession of she who gave birth to you sinlessly, and of the heavenly powers. Blessed are you to the ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer X, of John Chrysostom:
I believe O Lord, and I confess that you are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I believe that this is truly your pure body, and that this is truly your precious blood. Therefore, I pray you, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And make me worthy without condemnation to partake of your pure Mysteries for the forgiveness of sins and life eternal. Amen.
When coming forward to receive communion, say these verses of Symeon Metaphrastes:
Behold, my Maker, I approach holy Communion. Do not burn me as I partake, for you are fire which burns the unworthy. Rather cleanse me from every stain.
Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of your mystical Supper. I will not reveal your Mystery to your adversaries. Nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to you: Lord, remember me in your kingdom.
And the following verses:
Seeing the divine blood, have fear, Mortal, for it is coal that burns the unworthy. It is God’s body that deifies and nourishes me; it deifies the spirit and nourishes the mind mystically.
You have smitten me with yearning, O Christ, and with your divine love you have changed me. Burn away my sins with spiritual fire and make me worthy to be filled with your joy, that rejoicing in your goodness, I may magnify your two comings.
How shall I, who am unworthy, enter into the splendor of your saints? If I dare to enter into the bridal chamber, my clothing will accuse me, since it is not a wedding garment; and being bound up, I shall be cast out by the angels. In your love, Lord, cleanse the vileness of my soul and save me.
Loving Master, Lord Jesus Christ, my God, do not let these Holy Things be to my condemnation because of my unworthiness, but rather for purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cleave to God, and to place the hope of my salvation in the Lord.
Receive me today, Son of God, as a partaker of your mystical Supper. I will not reveal your mystery to your adversaries. Nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas. But as the thief I confess to you: Lord, remember me in your kingdom.