Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed

A simple prayer with vehemence, expectation and a promise!

Reading the Fathers is like reading scripture

                                                                      Jeremiah 17:14-17                         


Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.  (15)  Behold, they say to me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come.  (16)  But I have not been weary of following thee, nor have I desired the day of man; thou knowest; the words that proceed out of my lips are before thy face.  (17)  Be not to me a stranger, but spare me in the evil day. Jeremiah 17:14-17 (Brenton, except for replacing "boast" with "praise") 


I came across this reading the Ladder of Divine Ascent, which I always read during Great Lent. The last clause of this prayer is referenced in step 1.2 , "On detachment".


Reading the Fathers is like reading scripture. It increases our knowledge of scripture, because it is the application of scripture, and I usually read the scriptures referenced and glean much from them in the context in which the holy writer is referencing it. The Ladder is particularly rich in scriptural references, and I always learn something knew when reading it.


The Holy prophet Jeremias wrote many psalms that are interspersed in his prophesies. One of his psalms is in the Psalter: "By the Waters of Babylon", Psalm 136. He writes in a lyrical and powerful way.


We should pray in a lyrical and powerful way. I love the insistence and simplicity of the prayer above, and the promise made (even though it is above most of our abilities!). We must change when grace visits us! I am adding this to my list of prayers, and perhaps you would want to also.


I also love the realism of the prayer. Anybody who does not experience those derisively (even those who consider themselves Christian, in our benighted age, when good is called bad and bad good) who say "Where is the word of the Lord? let it come", is not trying very hard and is living a worldly and unspiritual life.


It takes courage to be a Christian. It takes confidence to be a Christian. Those who care about when men think cannot be a Christian.


We may be great sinners, but if our zeal to follow the Lord is backed up with courage and humility, and promises - we will be ultimately victorious.


Let us sinners pray this prayer, and even as we show the truth of the statement "All men are liars"[1], the Lord will know that we are begging Him to help us make our promise be true: " I have not been weary of following thee, nor have I desired the day of man".



Priest Seraphim Holland 2015     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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[1] Psalm 115:1-2 "I believed wherefore I spake; I was humbled exceedingly. As for me, I said in mine ecstasy: Every man is a liar." This psalm is said in the Preparation Prayers for Communion.