From the St. Nicholas monthly bulletin…
On the Christian Life
On Prayer, or the Rule of St. Pachomius
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
The Rule of Saint Pachomius
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.
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.
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.
The Jesus Prayer:
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.∎