Prayers By The Lake – St. Nicolai

This poem by St. Nicolai Velimirovic reminds me of the cadences of the Song of the Three Young Men. All creation truly gives voice to its praises.


Arise all you creatures and serve the Living Lord who cares about you. Worship Him and serve Him, for no one greater than He has visited you in this vale of fear and tears.

Servants come and make themselves lords. The Lord came and made Himself a servant. Servile lords strive to Lord it over as many people and creatures as possible, while the lordly Servant strives to serve as many people and creatures as possible.1

Arise, O lilies of the field, and give off your fragrance, for His holy mouth mentioned your name.2

Arise, O stone and rock, and worship Him, for His holy feet walked over you.

Arise, O desert, and rejoice, for He sanctified you with His longest and most mysterious prayers.3

Arise, O wheat and grapevine, for He blessed you especially among all created things. Arise and bless Him.

Arise, O fish, and glorify the Lord, for He was hungry and you nourished Him.4

Arise, O water and skies, and serve Him, for by His power He cleansed you and calmed you.5

Arise, O sycamore tree, and clothe yourself in silk, for in you He saw a sinner and saved him.6

Arise, O sheep and oxen, and be filled with awe, for in your lowly stable He was born.7

Arise, O birds, and sing, for He raised you up as an example for men.8

Arise, O oil, and burn before His throne, for when He was anointed with you He felt joyful and saved a sinful woman.9

Arise, O thorns and reed, and be filled with shame, for you caused Him pain.10

Arise, O iron and wood, and repent, for even unwillingly you caused Him torments on the cross.11

Arise, inhabitants of cities, and weep, for you did not believe in Him.12

Arise, O leaders of the people, and sprinkle yourselves with ashes, for you passed judgment over Him.13

Arise, O paupers, and embrace Him, for He is your wealth.14

Arise, O kings, and lay down your crowns before Him, for He alone has taught you true wisdom concerning primacy and leadership.

Arise, O sinners, and start sobbing before Him, for only His hand does not cast a stone at you.15

Arise, O righteous, and be vigilant, for your loader is coming to you.

Arise, all you stars, and begin to dance, for your Lightgiver goes to visit you.

Arise, O universe, and begin to hum the Lord’s hymn, for the living Lord who cares about you has entered you.


1.  Cf. Mt. 20:25-28.

2.  Cf. Mt. 6:28-29.

3.  Cf. Mt. 4:1-11.

4.  Cf. Lk. 24:3-43 and Jn. 21:1-14.

5.   Cf. Mt. 14:22-33.

6.   Cf. Lk. 19:1-10.

7.   Cf Lk. 2:1-20.  

8.  Cf. Mt. 6:26 and Lk. 12:24.

9.  Cf. Lk. 7:3-50.

10.  Cf. Mk. 15:1-20.

11. Cf. Mk. 15:21-32.

12. Cf. Mt. 11:20-24 and 23:37-39.

13. Cf. Mt. 26:1-5 and 57-68.

14.  Cf Mt. 5:3 and Lk. 4:18.

15. Cf. Jn. 8:1-11.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



One response to “Prayers By The Lake – St. Nicolai”

  1. Justin Farr Avatar

    Wow. This is powerful. Especially the part of the stones and of the fish… I love this! I will have to print it out and add it to my prayer book. Thank you!

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