Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture
O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.
For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?
“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
“Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.
“But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and be drunk,
“the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware; and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
“And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
“But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Erastus, Olympas, Rodion, Sosipater, Quartus, and Tertios, Apostles of the 70; Orestes the Martyr of Cappadocia; Holy Father Arsenius of Cappadocia; Our Holy Father Gregory, Bishop of Assa
Sayings of the Holy Fathers
“If your intellect is still distracted during prayer, you do not yet know what it is to pray as a monk; but your prayer is still worldly, embellishing the outer tabernacle. When you pray, keep close watch on your memory, so that it does not distract you with recollections of your past. But make yourself aware that you are standing before God. For by nature the intellect is apt to be carried away by memories during prayer. While you are praying, the memory brings before you fantasies either of past things, or of recent concerns, or of the face of someone who has irritated you. The demon is very envious of us when we pray, and uses every kind of trick to thwart our purpose. Therefore, he is always using our memory to stir up thoughts of various things and our flesh to arouse our passions, in order to obstruct our way of ascent to God.”
☦Evagrios the Solitary, on Prayer
Categories: Nativity Fast