St. Philaret of Moscow: Daily Prayer and Prayer of the Prisoner

Today
we commemorate the great saint of Moscow, Metropolitan
Philaret (Drozdov)
of Moscow and Kolomna. St.
Philaret was born in 1782 in the suburban town of
Kolomna, east of Moscow, to a clergyman’s
family. He studied at the local seminary, but his
intellectual and literary talents were extraordinary,
and in 1817 he was consecrated a bishop. By 1826 he
was Metropolitan of Moscow, which was the chief
hierarchical position in Russia during that period
when there was no Patriarchate there.

St. Philaret left a voluminous inheritance of what can be
truly called patristic works. He also composed
prayers,1 one of which has
become for many a part of many people’s morning
prayers
. It is a prayer not for what we want, but
for what God wills—that He would always be before
us, working in us His Holy will.2

Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of
Moscow

O Lord, I do not know what to ask of Thee. Thou alone
knowest what I need. Thou lovest me more than I know how
to love myself. O Father, grant Thy servant what I myself
do not know how to ask. I do not dare to ask a cross of
Thee, nor consolation; I only stand before Thee with my
heart open; Thou seest the needs that I myself do not
know. Look, and work in me according to Thy mercy; smite
and heal me, cast me down and raise me up! I am reverent
and silent before Thy holy will and ways that are
unfathomable to me. I offer myself as a sacrifice to Thee;
teach me to pray. Do Thou Thyself pray in me. Amen.

Another prayer attributed to the illustrious hierarch was
written for prisoners,
who although they have been incarcerated for crimes
committed, especially need held from the Lord to bear the
difficulty of their penitentiary life. But aren’t we
are all seemingly prisoners of circumstances that surround
us—family troubles, job loss or difficulty, rocky
relationships, poverty, and any other thing that makes us
feel like there is no way out? But we can pray to God with
these words, that He would give us comfort and the
strength to endure everything for the sake of cleansing
our own sins, which have most likely brought us to these
situations.

Prayer of the Prisoner

O my Lord God and Savior, blessed be Thy holy name!

Thanksgiving and praise be to Thee O Lord, for all the
blessings I have received from Thee in this life. Sorrow
and sickness have overtaken me, and I call upon Thy name.
Reproach has fallen upon me. Thou hast laid me in the pit
of hades, in the darkness and house of the dead. I sorrow
for this, and I understand that I have this sorrow because
I have sinned before Thee, and for my sins have these
afflictions come upon me. For Thy righteous ones were not
downcast, and even in prisons called out to Thee, and
rejoiced in sufferings.

For if Thous shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, O Lord, who
shall stand? For there is no man that hath not sinned. But
Thou, O Lord, dost bear the sins of the world and
cleansest through repentance. I believe, for thou hast not
turned even me, a sinner, away from Thy Face. Thy Only
Begotten Son didst pour out His blood for the whole world.
I believe that He can cleanse even me from my sins, and
desires this.

Therefore with David I say: I will confess mine iniquities
before the Lord against myself. And Thou forgavest the
ungodliness of my heart. I fear the judge and judgment of
man, but even more do I fear Thy irrevocable judgment and
eternal condemnation. For unrighteousness has risen up
against me; I make bold to pray to Thee with David’s
words: Hearken O Lord unto my righteousness, and hear my
judgment, and deliver me by Thy righteousness.

For although I have committed unrighteousness, heal my
unrighteousness by Thy mercy. Do not allow my heart to
incline to deceitful words, to hiding the truth, and false
justification. Help me to understand and to hate my
unrighteousness, to love righteousness, and in truth
surround my soul with comfort. Ease the burden of my
afflictions. Endure also me, the condemned, that I may
endure with patience for the sake of cleansing my sins and
for the sake of Thy merciful, righteous judgment.

For if shame has covered me before certain people, may I
endure it with humility; may I receive They mercy, O Lord,
and may I not be put to shame before the face of the world
at Thy Dread [Last] Judgment.

I come to Thee woeful and sorrowful; deprive me not of Thy
spiritual consolation. I come to Thee darkened; show me
the light of hope for salvation. I fall down before Thee
in exhaustion; raise me up and confirm me in Thy grace.

And above all grant me the desire and help me, O Lord, in
everything to do Thy will; that in peace I may glorify Thy
holy name, of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

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