Short Prayer for Enemies

050220-candlesThese two petitions are found in Orthodox Daily Prayers. Both give a model for our prayers on these topics:

Save, Lord, and have mercy on those whom I have caused to stumble, turning them away from the path of salvation and leading them to evil and unseemly deeds. Return them to the path of salvation by thy Divine Providence.

(a prostration is made)

Save, Lord, and have mercy on those who hate me and offend me, and do me harm. Do not let them perish because of me, a sinner.

(a prostration is made)

I often think the prostration is worth at least as much as the words. It is an action in which we can allow the words to sink into our hearts – and by God’s grace – melt them to some degree.

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.





19 responses to “Short Prayer for Enemies”

  1. Karen Avatar

    Dear Father, bless! I can’t help but see this as especially timely given the current struggles in certain quarters of Orthodoxy in America, where plenty of offense is being given and taken right now, and many are being made to stumble! It grieves me no end to see many of my brothers and sisters so abused and the honorable offices of Priest and Bishop being brought into such disrepute by wolves in sheep’s clothing! God forbid that we should manage to sort out the external aspects of what seem like some difficult housekeeping affairs (as necessary as this is), and fail to keep doing the inner housekeeping that ultimately frees us from the snares of the enemy and which is the only thing that can bring full spiritual healing. Thanks for making so accessible these spiritual weapons for this warfare.

  2. mic Avatar

    those are both fantastic prayers, i thought to look last night in my little red prayer book (the pocket prayer book) but then forgot.

    thank you Fr. for posting these beautiful prayers.

    on a completely different topic, you brought up on a different post recently the anniversery of your visit to the Holy Land, do you have any plans on going back?


  3. Cheryl S Avatar
    Cheryl S

    These prayers are very important in our family…but I guess, maybe I use them on a smaller scale? Our daughter has entered the realm of middle school bullying. Each evening she has brough up and prayed for the names of a few girls being repeatedly made fun of. ( I had forgotten how viscious kids can be to each other) She has used the posted prayers to pray for the students doing the bullying…although this took some convincing at first.

    I think it’s so important to remember that while I would like to change the “world” in a large scope, sometimes these profound prayers can be so useful in my everyday “home/school” life also.

  4. Marigold Avatar

    Thanks for posting these prayers, Father. There are a couple of similar ones in the prayer book I use, and they do so much good, no matter how little I feel like saying them!

    Thought you might be interested to hear that this coming Sunday I will be going to my first ever confession; and next Sunday (the forefeast of the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross!), God willing, received into the Church.

    x Marigold.

  5. Ioannis Freeman Avatar

    In like manner, Abba Agathon said: “I never allowed myself to go to bed while I still felt resentment against a person. And as far as I was able, I never allowed anyone else to go to bed either, as long as they still felt resentment against me,”

  6. […] a resounding “no”. If we look back at what it was that kept us together, it’d be prayer, repentance, acts of charity and the Mercy […]

  7. MichaelPatrick Avatar

    I wish I could find these in the little red Antiochian prayer book. Anyone know where they can be found in print or online?

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    They are in the little book, Orthodox Daily Prayers, published by St. Tikhon’s. Perhaps elsewhere, but that’s where I got them.

  9. An Anxious Anglican Avatar
    An Anxious Anglican

    Another prayer on this theme is found (amazingly!) in the 1979 US Book of Common Prayer:

    O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    I have found this prayer to be of no small comfort, especially in the days since 9/11.

  10. George Patsourakos Avatar

    Forgiveness of our enemies is a very important Christian attribute.

    While He was being crucified, Christ said , “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    We need to keep this quote in mind throughout our lives.

  11. geekywife Avatar

    Fr. Stephen,
    Thanks so much for posting this. It brought tears to eyes.

  12. Theodora Elizabeth Avatar
    Theodora Elizabeth

    These prayers are not in the little red Antiochian prayer book. Here’s the link to order Daily Orthodox Prayer from STS’ website:

  13. Wesley J. Smith Avatar
    Wesley J. Smith

    So needed. I too often forget to pray for those against whom I have animus. God forgive my lack of charity and love and hardness of heart.

  14. […] for enemies September 4, 2009 I came across this post from father stephen and it really made me think about people who I may have hurt, even […]

  15. angela damianakis m.s.w Avatar

    I used to think that those who could go to sleep without feeling resentment or offense were either not honest or not deeply hurt. This prayer is wonderful to help heal and recover from offense.

  16. […] Stephen Anderson considers Eastern Orthodoxy a heresy, which is a shame, because I stumbled on this Orthodox prayer for one’s enemies: “Save, Lord, and have mercy on those who hate me and offend me, and do me harm. Do not let […]

  17. […] From Glory Be To God For All Things. […]

  18. […] “Save, Lord, and have mercy on those whom I have caused to stumble, turning them away from the path of salvation and leading them to evil and unseemly deeds. Return them to the path of salvation by thy Divine Providence.” – Fr. Stephen’s Blog […]

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