Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Thou hast said by Thy pure lips that “If two or three agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them in by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Inscrutable are Thy words, O Lord. Thy love of mankind knows no limits. Thy mercy is without end.
We, Thy servants (name those praying), pray in accord for Thy servants (mention names and circumstances).
Help us in all our works, today, tomorrow, and on any day, that these may be to Thy glory. But not as we will, but as Thou dost will. Thy will be done. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. (“A prayer in accord”, quoted in “Father Arseny, a Cloud of witnesses”, Pp 213-214)
This prayer is quoted by Fr Arseny in one of his talks on prayer, in the second book on his God-pleasing life, “Fr Arseny, a Cloud of Witnesses”.
I strongly recommend both books about Fr Arseny. They are definitely in my “top ten” of books about righteous ones. These books will (should) shake up your world. I have felt a great sense of my own complacency and laziness and the sheer weight of superfluous and foolish things I do many times when reading these books. I though I worked pretty hard, and I may work a little bit more that your average bear, but Fr Arseny’s labors, faith and overall disposition make me ashamed. I want to do better, and moreover, seeing the changes in so many people in these books gives me great hope that I can. Isn’t this one of the best reasons to read spiritual literature?
If you are looking for inspiring books about the righteous, these two books will fit the bill. Read these books in order to see where you need to change, to have desire to change, and confidence that you can change.
The prayer cited above is excellent to use in just about any circumstance. Fr Arseny explained that it was written in the 16th century, but never published in any prayer book. It is not known where it came from, but it was evidently well known by Fr Arseny and those he knew. He detailed how it is used:
“As a rule, when tragedies or sorrows arise, several Orthodox Christians agree to read this prayer at the same time every day and ask God for the healing of the sick one, for mercy to the fallen one, for the salvation of a soldier or a captive. The people praying can be in different homes or even in different towns, but they all read the prayer at the same time, whether in the morning, during the day, or in the evening” (Ibid, p 212)
A few words of caution. There is no magic here. There is commitment, between like-minded Christians, and this is expressed by attempting to pray the same prayer at the same time. It really does not matter when a person prays; it only matters that he does pray with faith.
We could easily do this as a parish. Each day, in our morning prayer, we could pray this prayer, with the line inserted at its proper place: “We, Thy servants (the faithful and friends of St Nicholas), pray in accord for our parish.”
There are many other things in the two Fr Arseny books that have absolutely shattered me. I hope to get to them in subsequent posts. We all have a very long way to go to be true Christians in thought, word and deed.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
This article is at: http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2009-09-23_a-prayer-in-accord-father-arseny-a-cloud-of-witnesses.doc & http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2009-09-23_a-prayer-in-accord-father-arseny-a-cloud-of-witnesses.html
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