St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
Stratford, Connecticut
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR)
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On the Christian Life

On Prayer, or the Rule of St. Pachomius

March 2010

Some have asked, What should we do if we are in a hurry and forget to say our Morning or Evening Prayers, or indeed, if one always happens to be too much in a rush in the morning to say Morning Prayers, or too tired in the evening to say Evening Prayers? In actuality, we always find time for things that we truly value, and what could be more dear to us than to converse with our Maker? But in fact, most of us have found ourselves in this situation some time in our life.

One possibility is to commit the prayers to memory. Since Morning and Evening Prayers are so long, that might not be easy, so it would be good to find something shorter and easier to remember. Almost all prayers and services start the same way: O Heavenly King, Holy God (the Trisagion), O Holy Trinity, and Our Father. This is called the Usual Beginning, and is easy to memorize. Because we hear the hymn, It is truly meet, and the Creed (I believe) at every Liturgy, we should have them already memorized. Next we wish to memorize the 50th Psalm (Have mercy on me, O God). And finally, the Jesus Prayer, O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

When we know all these we can say the Rule of St Pachomius, which we give below. The rule was given by an angel to the Saint, a fourth-century monastic father in Egypt, and it was meant to be said at each hour of the day. It can therefore be used in situations where it is impractical to use a Prayer Book. We can add prayers to it from Morning or Evening Prayers, as we have memorized them, or ask God for specific intentions.

In any case, if this is also too much, we can at least say the Jesus Prayer at any time and in any circumstance. Let no one say, I have no time to pray.

Fr George Lardas, Rector
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Stratford, CT


The Rule of Saint Pachomius

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.
Amen. Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Thrice.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake.

Lord have mercy. Thrice. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in the Heavens, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. Amen.

Lord, Have mercy. Twelve times. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O come, let us worship God our King.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.

Psalm 50:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee, that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged. For behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother bear me. For behold, Thou hast loved truth; the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom hast Thou made manifest unto me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be made clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; the bones that be humbled, they shall rejoice. Turn Thy face away from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit establish me. I shall teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall turn back unto Thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; my tongue shall rejoice in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I had given it; with whole-burnt offerings Thou shalt not be pleased. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise. Do good, O Lord, in Thy good pleasure unto Zion, and let the walls of Jerusalem be builded. Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.

The Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.

The Jesus Prayer:
O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 100 Times.

The Dismissal:
It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most blameless, and Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Thrice. O Lord, Bless.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, and all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Amen.