Prayers by the Lake – XXIX

This xxix prayer of St. Nicholai of Zicha from Prayers by the Lake. This echoing of the prayers of Pentecost should give us all hope in our sins as we seek the merciful God.

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.1

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 Merciful2 Lord, for they know not what they do. 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!”


1. For the parable of the wheat and the tares, see Matt. 13:24-30.

2. Cf. Luke 23:34.

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12 Responses to “Prayers by the Lake – XXIX”

  1. Tweets that mention Prayers by the Lake – XXIX « Glory to God for All Things -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ζωντανό Ιστολόγιο, Fabio Leite. Fabio Leite said: Prayers by the Lake – XXIX: This xxix prayer of St. Nicholai of Zicha from Prayers by the Lake. This echoing of th… […]

  2. NW Nikolai Says:

    St. Nikolai’s perspective and his ability to communicate it continues to amaze me. He is my name saint and I’m appreciating the fact that he chose me and has been praying for me. He reposed just a few years before I was born and I’m thankful his intercessions gave my life direction into the Church even in my ignorance.

    The portion of the prayer concerning thieves especially resonates as someone hotwired my work truck yesterday and made off with it and some of my tools. Yet, in my frustration I realize that like this thief, I essentially have nothing with which to go forth before God, unless He extend His grace.

    Prayers for recovery and the ability to regroup would be much appreciated.

    So, Father Stephen thank-you for this post, it is an encouragement to me.

  3. Margaret Says:

    Thank you, Fr. Stephen!

  4. The aroma of Orthodoxy « Tipsy Teetotaler Says:

    […] aroma of Orthodoxy I can almost smell the incense as I read this prayer by St. Nicolai […]

  5. Mark of the Vineyard Says:

    It seems I find such language – of one repenting for the sins of others, for the sins of ALL – more in the East than in the West. Is this due to the Easts reliance on monasticism?

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  8. Brantley Thomas Says:


    I think it’s as much about removing the planks from our own eyes in order to be able to help our brothers.

    Though it may sound abstract and contrived, I like to think about the surface of a pond. What if some parts of the pond refused to ripple. When disturbances come, they stay stationary instead of following the lead of those around them. If all of the pond did that, there would never be disturbance.

    When we pray in a way such as this, we are not only refusing to be disturbed, but we’re actively dampening such disturbances in those around us.

    Pray for me a sinner.

  9. Mark of the Vineyard Says:


    What I meant was I wonder why such a view is apparently more prevalent in the East rather than in the West. Though a Latin Catholic, I find it a bit saddening/disturbing that I do not hear so much about this kind of prayer, where one identifies with the mass of sinners. But then, I guess this is somewhat do to the Eastern theology of icons as well.

  10. Considering Ravens Says:

    This is still so hard for me to embrace, especially as it touches very near to a matter that is troubling me right now.
    I know I am ignorant, sinful, and wretched, but to take upon myself all the sins of others in addition to my own, this seems more burden than I can hope to bear. It becomes harder to accept when I know a person who uses the concept that “we are all one and belong to each other,” to treat me and my family as if this person owns us. This causes a great deal of stress that is detrimental not only to me but to my marriage and children. I know better, kinder, more loving people can deal with this kind of situation compassionately, but I struggle so much. It makes this kind of prayer so much harder for me to understand. All I can do is pray “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner”

  11. fatherstephen Says:

    Pray what you can pray…and may God give you grace. This is not an easy or light thing.

  12. Considering Ravens Says:

    Fr. Stephen,
    Thank you, I will.
    I am also trying to work on my relationships with others. I’m trying to see if there are ways I have misunderstood the person I mentioned and whether the problems I see stem from my reactions rather than the other person’s actions, if that makes sense…

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