A Prayer for a Church Building


My weekend is spent in and around a Church building (as is most of the rest of the week). We do not care for these great gifts nearly as we ought, nor do they play the role in our culture that the Orthodox faith teaches. It is an area where we can pray for great growth. I have spent time worshipping in a warehouse (when St. Anne’s was just beginning) and in rented commercial space – both of which became the throne of heaven as we gathered for prayer. I am yet more grateful for the building we now own, and for the building we hope to build. But in them all the following prayer is of great use. I found it in Father Sophrony’s little book on prayer:

O Lord our God, whose might upholdeth all creation: Stablish the work of our helpless hands; And make this lowly church a place for the showing of Thy glory; and for all peoples a house of prayer pleasing in Thy sight. We pray Thee: Hear us and have mercy.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





9 responses to “A Prayer for a Church Building”

  1. Fr John Bostwick Avatar
    Fr John Bostwick

    Father – just a quick note to tell you that I both enjoy and benefit from your reflections. I’m a Roman Catholic priest in NE Wisconsin and, for a variety of reasons, feel very close to Orthodoxy. Thank God for your ministry.

  2. Jakob Smith Avatar

    Now, that looks like All Saints Church near The Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Maldon, Essex, England. I was there this summer; my first visit to a monastery. Did gardening work in the cemetary/garden around All Saints Church.

  3. Fr Stephen Avatar
    Fr Stephen


    You correctly identified this delightful little Church. I spent a week there this summer. The Church is an early Norman construction, though, the porch looks like an addition from the Tudor period. My best guess. But it is a place filled with wonderful memories for me and I thought of the many generations who must have worshipped there.

    You have a good eye!

  4. Meg Lark Avatar
    Meg Lark

    Well do I recall my first visit to a neighboring parish, when it was still a little mission meeting in a condemned factory building (I guess the store-fronts weren’t condemned, but the rest of the place was). Ratty lime-green shag carpeting, and a *very* grubby store-front window; the connecting wall between the church portion of the store-front, and the store-front next to it, had been broken through so that the second store-front became the Trapeza room. Oh, it was *bad.* Then the Liturgy began, and suddenly, around the time of the Lord’s Prayer, it occurred to me that *not once,* since the beginning of the Liturgy, had it occurred to me how ugly the building was; I was in the House of God, and He was being worshipped as He ought. That ugly little place had been sanctified, therefore, it was beautiful.

  5. Jonathan Bush Avatar

    What a beautiful prayer. So few words; yet, so far-reaching in its intent. As with so many Orthodox prayers, it seeks nothing more than that God would bless us with His presence inspite of our unworthiness. God have mercy.

  6. Thea Pollock Avatar
    Thea Pollock

    I appreciated what thee wrote about the “House of God” being transformed into a place of beauty!
    In Christ, Thea Pollock

  7. Tom Sneed Avatar
    Tom Sneed

    This is a very thoughtful prayer. I pray that our new sanctuary will fulfill all the needs your words imply. Thank you

  8. Michael Flack Avatar


    Would it be okay to do two things? The first, is to add an URL Link to this Webpage on my Website. The other is to use your Prayer in a Church prayer Guide. I look forward to your reply.

    In Faith & Prayer,

  9. fatherstephen Avatar

    Such links and uses are fine, so long as there is no advertising on the site/Guide.

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