Presanctified Liturgy Prayers

This past Wednesday night I served the Presanctified Liturgy for the first time this Great Lent. The usual practice here is to rotate between my parish and St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church here in town. However, because of some renovations here in our hall we had the first three at St. Nick’s. So Wednesday night as I was serving I read the prayers for what seemed like the first time! I have been a priest now for three years and I guess I never felt comfortable enough with what I was supposed to be doing to actually pray the prayers. So I thought I would print them here and perhaps comment on them. The first three come from the priest’s silent prayers from Vespers. The faithful usually never hear these prayers but in the Presanctified the priest only prays the last four silently.

O compassionate and merciful Lord, abounding in Patience and clemency: Attend to out entreaty and hear the sounds of our prayer! Show us some sign of your favor; teach us your ways that we may walk the path of your truth. Give joy to our hearts that we may always revere your holy name, for you are great and you work wonders; you alone are God and there is no other to compare with you, O Lord. You are powerful in mercy and gracious in strength, able and ready to help and comfort and save all those who place their trust in You.

Do not rebuke us, Lord, when you are displeased with us, nor chastise us in your anger with us! Rather, deal with us according to your loving kindness, O healer and physician of our souls. Lead us to that haven of safety wherein we do all that you wish of us. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know the truth and let us pass the rest of this day, and indeed, the rest of our life, in peace and without sin, by the prayers of the Theotokos and all your saints.

Lord our God, be mindful of us, your sinful and unprofitable servants, who call on your holy name, and do not disappoint us in our expectations or mercy. Instead, grant us what we need for salvation and count us worthy of loving you with all the reverence of our hearts, and of doing your will in all things.

These prayers set the stage for what we seek from God, an answer to our prayers and salvation. We recognize that we are sinful and ask God to forgive us for all that we have done or not done. We ask for illumination of our hearts for understanding and ask for understanding of the truth. We now fast forward in the service to the prayers just before the entrance with the presanctified gifts.

O great Lord and God! You have led us from corruption to imperishable life through the life-giving death of your Christ. So, now, deliver our senses from the mortal tyranny of our passions and place them under the safe and able guidance of our inner reason. Let not our eyes wander in search of evil sights, nor our ears indulge in listening to idle talk. Cleanse our tongues of unbefitting speech, O Lord, and purify our lips that they may praise you. Keep our hands from evil deeds and make them ever ready to do only the things that please you. Do this, Lord, by strengthening our
understanding, and, indeed, our entire being, by your grace.

O infinitely good and holy master, rich in mercy! We entreat you to be merciful with us sinners and make us worthy of receiving your only Son, our God, the King of glory. For behold, his most pure body and life-giving blood are about to be ushered in and placed upon this mystic altar, escorted invisibly by a great host of heaven. Let us share in them without fear of punishment, that the eyes of our understanding may be filled with light and we may become children of the light and day.

In these two prayers, called the prayers of the faithful, we plead our case before God and ask that our passions be held in check. This is the goal of Lent is to modify and change our behavior and make us more, dare I say, Christ-like! We acknowledge that we are sinners and we are in need of His mercy and Grace, and ask that we be made worthy by receiving the Body and Blood of His Son in this very Liturgical service.
These prayers are awesome and we often do not get to hear them as we should. Next, the prayers from what is called, the office of communion. But that is for another post.
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