In this video from Saddleback Church’s YouTube channel, Pastor Buddy Owens offers some helpful advice about how to pray when you’re going through a time of turmoil and crisis and you feel like you don’t have a prayer.
Turning to Psalm 77 as an example of how to pray when you’re going through a season of darkness and confusion, Pastor Owens lists 5 important steps:
Crying out to God
Admitting your feelings and your fears (groaning in prayer)
Appealing to God’s faithfulness (meditating on the many ways in which God has blessed you before, thinking about the things that God has already done for you, how He saved you, how He got you out of a tight spot in the past, what you were facing, what His timing was, what difference it made etc.)
Turning your complaints into praise (switching from “God, are you finished being kind?” to “God, You’re amazing!”)
5. Following fearlessly (follow God into the unknown)
I hope this will help you if you ever find yourself in a season of confusion when praying and remaining faithful to God look like difficult tasks.
From the belief that I have to earn Your love … Deliver me, Jesus. From the fear that I am unlovable … Deliver me, Jesus. From the false security that I have what it takes … Deliver me, Jesus. From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute … Deliver me, Jesus. From all suspicion of Your words and promises … Deliver me, Jesus. From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You … Deliver me, Jesus. From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will … Deliver me, Jesus. From anxiety about the future … Deliver me, Jesus. From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past … Deliver me, Jesus. From restless self-seeking in the present moment … Deliver me, Jesus. From disbelief in Your love and presence … Deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of being asked to give more than I have … Deliver me, Jesus. From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth … Deliver me, Jesus. From the fear of what love demands … Deliver me, Jesus. From discouragement … Deliver me, Jesus.
That You are continually holding me sustaining me, loving me … Jesus, I trust in You. That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me …Jesus, I trust in You. That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You … Jesus, I trust in You. That you are with me in my suffering … Jesus, I trust in You. That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next …Jesus, I trust in You. That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church …Jesus, I trust in You. That Your plan is better than anything else … Jesus, I trust in You. That You always hear me, and in Your goodness always respond to me …Jesus, I trust in You. That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others …Jesus, I trust in You. That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked …Jesus, I trust in You. That my life is a gift … Jesus, I trust in You. That You will teach me to trust You … Jesus, I trust in You. That You are my Lord and my God … Jesus, I trust in You. That I am Your beloved one … Jesus, I trust in You.
Litany Of Trust by Sister Faustina Maria Pia from The Sisters Of Life
Here is a short Orthodox prayer I have translated from Romanian into English:
Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord, God of all mercifulness and graciousness, Who have immeasurable mercy, unspeakable and unending love of people, falling now to Your glory, with fear and trembling, I thank you for the blessings you have given me, Your unworthy servant. I glorify You, I praise You and I sing about You as my Lord, Master and Benefactor. And again, falling before You, I thank You and I humbly pray to your immeasurable and unspeakable mercifulness for You to continue giving me good doings, so that I may increase in love for You and for my brethren. Deliver me from all evil and trouble. Give me peace. And make me worthy, so that all the days of my life I may give thanks to You and speak and sing all that is good to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.
There’s an ancient prayer that Catholics recommend us to pray before reading The Bible in order to make of our hearts fruitful soil for the Word of God to take root.
The prayer is commonly attributed to St. John Chyrsostom, and can be prayed each time you open up the Bible. While it doesn’t guarantee divine inspiration, it can help prepare the ground so that your soul is ready to receive exactly what God wants to communicate to you.
Here is the prayer:
O, Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart that I may hear your Word, and understand and do your will, for I am a sojourner upon the Earth. Hide not your commandments from me, but open my eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of your Law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of your wisdom. On you do I set my hope, O my God, that you shall enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of your knowledge; not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them;For you are the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from you comes every good deed and every gift. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, sweet Savior of my soul, on this day of Your crucifixion, when You suffered on the cross and accepted death for our sins, I confess before You that I myself have crucified You with my many sins. But I beseech Your indescribable goodness: Grant me Your grace, O Lord, so that I may endure suffering for the sake of the faith, hope and love that I have for You, just as You, in Your long-suffering, endured the passion in order to save me. Strengthen me, O Lord, that from this day forth I may bear Your cross with joy and repentance, and that I may thus hate my wicked thoughts and desires.
Instill sadness in my heart at Your death, allowing me to grieve just as Your beloved Mother, Your disciples and the myrrh-bearing women did as they stood near Your cross. Illumine the senses of my soul so that they may awaken and comprehend Your death, just as you brought comprehension to the lifeless creation at the time of Your crucifixion, and it trembled; just as the faithful thief understood, repented, and confessed You, and with that confession, You led him into paradise. May Your grace, which You then granted to him, now forgive my sins, for the sake of You holy passion; and as I truly turn and repent, may that same grace place me together with the thief in paradise, for You are my God and Creator.
I bow down before Your cross, O Christ, and because of Your love for us, I cry out to it: Rejoice, honored cross of Christ, upon which He was lifted and affixed with nails for the salvation of the world; Rejoice, blessed tree, for you held the Fruit of life Who has saved us from the death of sin; Rejoice strong bar which has shattered the gates of hell; Rejoice, royal key, which has opened the door of paradise.
O, my crucified Christ, how You suffered for us! How many wounds, spitting, mockery and insults You endured because of our sins, giving us an example of true patience in times of suffering and troubles which we must endure in this life?! Since God sends these to us because of our sins, that we may correct ourselves and draw near to Him, He thus chastises us for our own good during this life. Therefore, I pray to You, O Master: during times of troubles, temptations and pain that come upon me, grant that I may increase in patience, strength and gratitude. For I confess that I am helpless if You do not strengthen me; blind, if You do not illumine me; bound if You do not set me free; fearful, if You do not make me brave; lost, if You do not seek me; a slave, if You do not redeem me with Your abundant and divine power and with the grace of Your holy cross, which I venerated and glorify, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
I’ve recently come across a beautiful Orthodox prayer that I’d like to share:
My most merciful and all-merciful God, O Lord Jesus Christ! In Thy great love, Thou didst come down and become flesh in order to save all. Again, I pray Thee, save me by Grace! If Thou shouldst save me because of my deeds, it would not be a gift, but merely a duty. Truly, Thou aboundest in graciousness and art inexpressibly merciful! Thou hast said, O my Christ: “He who believes in me shall live and never see death.” If faith in Thee saves the desperate, behold: I believe! Save me, for Thou art my God and my Maker. May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt find no deeds to justify me. May my faith be sufficient for all. May it answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory; and may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that He has torn me from Thy hand and fold. O Christ my Savior: save me whether I want it or not! Come quickly, hurry, for I perish! Thou art my God from my mother’s womb. Grant, O Lord, that I may now love Thee as I once loved sin, and that I may labor for Thee without laziness as once I labored for Satan the deceiver. Even more, I will labor for Thee, my Lord and God Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
What I particularly like about this prayer is the way in which it glorifies God and presents the struggles of a Christian who is convicted by The Holy Spirit for his/her sins and who wants to repents while also having to deal with the constant fight against the desires of the flesh.
The petition, “Save me whether I want it or not!” is a request that can be found in the prayers of several Orthodox Elders (priests, monks, hermits). I have heard it from an Orthodox priest in the following form: “Please save me whether I want it or not, O, God! Please help me whether I know how to pray or not, O, Lord!”.
I hope that you like this prayer just as much as I do and more, and I pray that it helps you. Share your opinions in the comments section below.
Father Protosyncellus Gherontie Puiu was one of the most representative Romanian Orthodox priests of the past half a century. The founder of the Caraiman monastery, which is situated at the feet of the Caraiman mountain, in the Buşteni resort, near the river Prahova, Fr. Gherontie spent his later years in a humble cell within the monastery.
Fr. Gherontie Puiu was born in 1933, in Todireşti, not far away from Paşcani. His mother died at birth in the hospital of Ruginoasa, his father had abandoned his family some time before his birth, and the midwife who helped deliver him, thinking that the baby would not survive, abandoned him in a washing bowl among the trash piles on the shore of a nearby river. A woman from the village, who was passing by, having discovered the child, felt compassion and decided to take him home. He was adopted by the woman and her husband (Puiu Petrache), named “Gheorghe” and raised with love as if he was their own child.
When World War II started, Ilie Petrache, the family’s eldest son, was drafted. Around this time, the child (Gheorghe) had a dream. A young woman appeared to him in the dream, dressed in shining monastic clothes (later identified as the Holy Blessed Virgin Mary) and told him that he would be protected and that his father would return home after a a long period spent in captivity. The child didn’t understand this word, but he took it to heart. After almost twelve years, time during which he had been a war prisoner in Russia, brother Ilie returned home. After having married, Ilie adopted Gheorghe when the latter was almost 20 years old. It was also around that age that Gheorghe was baptized.
The priest recalled said moment in later interviews and writings: “When I put on the fiery clothes of the Baptism, I felt like another person. I was overwhelmed by an immeasurable joy, one which I was attempting to understand. While exiting the holy place, on the porch steps, I saw that wonderful being once again. She was standing near the gate and looking me straight in the eyes. No one but me could see her! This time it wasn’t a dream, but a real apparition. She spoke to me, with a heavenly voice: Have faith and go to the monastery. I will guide you. You are chosen for a mission. The ageless Reverend Mother (nun) had the most beautiful face I had ever gazed upon. Starting from that moment I understood that it was the Holy Mother Of God.”
Straight away, young Gheorghe embraced the monastic life, becoming an apprentice of Father Pâslaru, the Reverend Father from the Neamţ Monastery. Until the year 1959, the young man was a mere monk, as the Communist regime prohibited monastic tonsures. After 1959, when many monks were taken out of monasteries, brother Gherontie (a.n.: he had changed his name from Gheorghe to Gherontie, a common practice in Orthodox monasticism) had managed to flee by using the window as an escape route. Later, having been caught by the Communist secret police officers, he was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor in the concentration camp in Periprava.
From the Periprava camp, Fr. Gherontie escaped once more, with the help of a brigadier, who sent him to Tulcea, so that he may find it easier to get away. The Father recalled that moment as follows: “While I was on a pretty crowded street, I thought I saw the Holy Mother Of God on the other sidewalk. I heard her voice very clearly: Start walking right this moment, cross the street and get inside the truck. Truly, a large car stopped, without me having hailed or anything. He got off the car in Timişul de Sus, from where he hiked towards the Bucegi mountains’ upland. There, he spent ten years in self-imposed austerity, taking refuge in a cave, praying and fasting.
While living as a hermit, looking up at the cross at the top of the Caraiman peak, the Father made a promise to the Mother Of God – that he would build a monastery in her honor. The Father recalls this: “I swore to the Holy Mother Of God that, if I were to return into the world safely, I would build a monastery dedicated to the Ascension Of The Holy Cross; from its yard people will be able to see the cross at the top of the Caraiman mountain peak.”
In 1970, after ten years of living as a hermit, Fr. Gherontie returned home. Meanwhile, having assumed that he had died, his (adoptive) mother had made a grave in his memory and had prepared the traditional Orthodox memorial services for him.
After 1989, Fr. Gherontie returned to the Neamţ monastery, where he received his monastic tonsure and entered the Seminary of Theology despite the fact that his previous education consisted of only elementary school. Then, in 1992, after having served as a deacon for a week, he was ordained a priest. He served the required forty Holy Liturgies in the Neamţ monastery, after which he was sent to serve in the Baiceni skit, where he was promoted to Reverend Father (abbot).
In 1995, while he was sitting in the confessional, at the Cetăţuia monastery in Iaşi, Fr. Gherontie suffered a stroke, falling down due to temporary paralysis. After being taken to the Tătăraşi hospital, the priest often heard the Holy Mother’s voice telling him: You have one more toll-house. After three months, the priest was sent to a sanatorium in Sinaia. According to the tests and investigations they performed on him, the medical team concluded that he would need several years to make a full recovery.
However, the priest stayed only one day in the Sinaia sanatorium. The Holy Mother Of God appeared to Him and told him: I’ve brought you here with a mission! Remember that! Rise, for you are not sick! After she said those words three times, The Holy Mother added: You will find a fir with six branches near a stream, on a land from where the great Cross, at which you made the oath, can be seen. That’s where you have to build the monastery! The next day, getting out of bed, the priest could move freely, without any sign of paralysis.
After much research, the mayor of Buşteni told the priest that he can offer him some space in the Palanca glade. A fir with six branches was in the middle of the glade and the Cross at the top of the Caraiman peak could be seen from there in all its beauty. The Holy Mother Of God showed the priest that that was indeed the correct spot and that he should build the promised monastery there.
In 1996, the priest first build a wooden house in the glade, then a small church. With God’s mercy and the Holy Mother’s intercession, Fr. Gherontie Puiu built a great, beautiful monastery there. The priest used to teach everyone who came seeking his advice to say the following prayer:
Lord, bring all my enemies back to goodness and prayer! Amen.
This prayer was revealed to him on a piece of paper in a night. The story of how it was revealed to him is told in the following video, which I have translated in English below:
“One night, I woke up with a small piece of paper in my hand. I never found out who wrote it and how I came into its possession. It was written on a regular piece of paper, but the writing was not very legible. I could hardly understand what it said, as if it had been written with Chinese characters. After I managed to decipher it, I realized that it contained a prayer. This one: God, bring all my enemies back to goodness and prayer! Amen. It also said that it should be said in faith 30 times a day, for 40 days, and that it would grant any wish to the person who does so. Please, all of you who have any kind of troubles, say this prayer 30 times a day for 40 days, and the Holy Mother Of God will accomplish miracles.”
The word “creed comes” from the Latin credo, which means “I believe”. In the Orthodox Church, the Creed is usually called the Symbol of Faith, which means the “expression” or “confession” of the faith.
The Creed is as follows:
I believe in one (1) God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one (1) Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-be-gotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all Ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became Man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and He suffered and was buried.
And He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
And He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; His kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son, is worshiped and glorified; Who spoke through the Prophets.
I believe 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.
In the Orthodox tradition, The Creed’s recitation is ended with “Amen”, which should be said in a loud cry.