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Daily Devotion for August 21, 2016
“Sunday on Mount Athos”
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The music comes from the Simonpetra (“Peter's Rock”) Monastery, first erected as a stone building in the 13th century (early monasteries were built of wood). Readers might want to read the English version of Psalm 95 (under Scripture) as the chant plays.
Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming week in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all.
In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.
Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.
Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.
the Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in serving You, while serving others;
the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;
the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself, and thus grow in holiness;
the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;
the Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;
Teach me to be Your faithful disciple. Animate me with Your Spirit in every aspect of my life.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
St. Peter Monastery (Simonpetra), one of twenty Orthodox monasteries on the holy Mt. Athos, an independent state in Greek Macedonia.
A fresco from one of the monasteries.
Notes on the Devotion for Today
Psalm 95 sung by the monks of Simonopetra Monastery, Mt. Athos
We thought it would be a nice change of pace to shake things up and have “Mount Athos Orthodox Sunday.” (If you are by some chance a first-time visitor — this isn't the normal sort of devotion on Daily Prayer!)
Mount Athos is a peninsula in Greece, inaccessible from the land, owned and governed (as an autonomous Greek protectorate) by the monks of 20 Orthodox monasteries. Although Greek Orthodox for the most part, there are also a Russian, a Serbian, and a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery. Even more isolated are twelve communities of monastic hermits, called sketes. Historical documents on ancient Mount Athos history are very few. It is certain that monks have been there continuously since the fourth century, and possibly since the third.
No person other than the monks is permitted to live or sleep on Mt. Athos, although a restricted number of male visitors are accommodated each day.
If you want to experience God in a new way, take 7 minutes of your life and do this. Empty your mind. Play today’s music. Thinking of nothing else, read one verse of Psalm 95 for each verse sung by the monks; they are separated by Alleluiah. (When you reach the end of the psalm, return to verse 1.) It’s only seven minutes! You will know Psalm 95 as you never have before.
Psalm 95 (ESV)
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”