Repentance for the World – Prayers by the Lake XXIX

This XXIX prayer of St. Nicholai of Zicha from Prayers by the Lake, echoes the kneeling prayers of Pentecost, or perhaps, the Prayer of Manasseh… The “collective” voice that characterizes its petitions echo St. Silouan’s prayers for the “Whole Adam.” In a time of trouble (such as our days), we do well to learn this manner of prayer. It allows us to care, to love and reach out to God without darkening our hearts with judgment and condemnation. 


For all the sins of men I repent before You, Most Merciful Lord. Indeed, the seed of all sins flows in my blood! With my effort and Your mercy I choke this wicked crop of weeds day and night, so that no tare may sprout in the field of the Lord, but only pure wheat. (Matt. 13:24-30.)

I repent for all those who are worried, who stagger under a burden of worries and do not know that they should put all their worries on You. For feeble man even the most minor worry is unbearable, but for You a mountain of worries is like a snowball thrown into a fiery furnace.

I repent for all the sick, for sickness is the fruit of sin. When the soul is cleansed with repentance, sickness disappears with sin, and You, my Eternal Health, take up Your abode in the soul.

I repent for unbelievers, who through their unbelief amass worries and sicknesses both on themselves and on their friends.

I repent for all those who blaspheme God, who blaspheme against You without knowing that they are blaspheming against the Master, who clothes them and feeds them.

I repent for all the slayers of men, who take the life of another to preserve their own. Forgive them, Most Merciful Lord, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) For they do not know that there are not two lives in the universe, but one, and that there are not two men in the universe, but one. Ah, how dead are those who cut the heart in half!

I repent for all those who bear false witness, for in reality they are homicides and suicides.

For all my brothers who are thieves and who are hoarders of unneeded wealth I weep and sigh, for they have buried their soul and have nothing with which to go forth before You.

For all the arrogant and the boastful I weep and sigh, for before You they are like beggars with empty pockets.

For all drunkards and gluttons I weep and sigh, for they have become servants of their servants.

For all adulterers I repent, for they have betrayed the trust of the Holy Spirit, who chose them to form new life through them. Instead, they turned serving life into destroying life.

For all gossipers I repent, for they have turned Your most precious gift, the gift of speech, into cheap sand.

For all those who destroy their neighbor’s hearth and home and their neighbor’s peace I repent and sigh, for they bring a curse on themselves and their people.

For all lying tongues, for all suspicious eyes, for all raging hearts, for all insatiable stomachs, for all darkened minds, for all ill will, for all unseemly thoughts, for all murderous emotions–I repent, weep and sigh.

For all the history of mankind from Adam to me, a sinner, I repent; for all history is in my blood. For I am in Adam and Adam is in me.

For all the worlds, large and small, that do not tremble before Your awesome presence, I weep and cry out: O Master Most Merciful, have mercy on me and save me!”

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

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.



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16 responses to “Repentance for the World – Prayers by the Lake XXIX”

  1. Catherine P Avatar
    Catherine P

    There are no words to say except I, too, repent. Thank you, Father.

  2. Dee of St Hermans Avatar
    Dee of St Hermans

    Dear Father,
    “For all the history of mankind from Adam to me, a sinner, I repent; for all history is in my blood. For I am in Adam and Adam is in me.”

    This is beautiful and so true. I too ask forgiveness and repent for our sins.

  3. Walter Kennick Avatar
    Walter Kennick

    Forgive me a sinner.

  4. Esmée La Fleur Avatar
    Esmée La Fleur

    Profoundly perfect for the beginning of Great Lent.

  5. Jolene Avatar

    Forgive me a sinner

  6. Santosh John Samuel Avatar
    Santosh John Samuel

    Such a beautiful prayer Father. Have a feeling that praying this on a regular basis might reduce my eagerness to often find fault with others. Thank you.
    Farher, are St. Nicholai of Zicha and St. Nikolai of Velimirovich the same person?

  7. Esmée La Fleur Avatar
    Esmée La Fleur

    Santosh John Samuel – Yes, Nikolai Velimirovich and Nikolai of Zicha are the same man.

  8. Esmée La Fleur Avatar
    Esmée La Fleur

    Saint Nikolai is also called “of Ohrid” and “of Serbia.”ć

  9. Santosh John Samuel Avatar
    Santosh John Samuel

    Thank you Esmée.

  10. Fr. Stephen Freeman Avatar

    Yes. They are.

  11. Joanna Avatar


  12. Kenneth Avatar

    “The seed of all sins flows in my blood! … There are not two lives in the universe, but one… For all the history of mankind from Adam to me, a sinner, I repent; for all history is in my blood.”

    This “communion of all” strikes me as so beautiful, I think because it is profoundly true and also so alien to the modern worldview and even my prior experience as a Protestant Christian.

    Father Zossima says the same thing in Brothers Karamazov: “There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all.”

    Fr. Stephen, my impression is that this theme runs all through the Scriptures, from Adam & Eve to “Am I my brother’s keeper?” to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Are there other classic texts where Orthodox Christianity especially draws this strong belief in the communion of all (which is often lacking in other traditions)? Are there other terms for this belief that are more commonly used? Thank you for posting this beautiful prayer.

  13. Santosh John Samuel Avatar
    Santosh John Samuel

    Thank you Father.

  14. Diana Christina Avatar
    Diana Christina

    ☦️Forgive me Father a sinner.

  15. hélène Avatar

    P.Stephen, how can I thank you enough for this prayer! What an offering !
    Oh ! St. Nikolas of Ohrid, let all the depth of your love and knowledge penetrate our hearts and souls !

  16. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    The simple exchange of the Forgiveness Sunday: “Forgive me. I forgive and God forgives.” does wonders for my hardened heart. Even with a scintilla of humility it allows the Holy Trinity access. So the fulfillment of Jesus call to us recorded in Mt 4: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” begins in my heart. A micron at a time.

    Simple, but judgement and condemnation comes much more easily to me when someone does not meet the desires and expectations of my will which is exactly the way of the Nihilist World.

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