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.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west;
I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who were in the day that the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.
For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; there was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; for I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts.
‘For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.’
“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I would not relent,
so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.
These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,’ says the LORD.”
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities;
the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ” Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.”
Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ‘ “
The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and Onesimus; Philothei the Righteous Martyr of Athens; Niketas the Younger