A Prayer of St Peter of Damaskos

"How to Acquire True Faith"

The Philokalia

Palm Pilot Version

"I became as a beast before Thee; yet I am continually with Thee" (Psalms 73:22 - 23).

If Thy desire is that I should be at rest in Thy knowledge, I shall not refuse.

If it is that I should experience temptation so as to learn humility, again I am with Thee.

Of myself, there is absolutely nothing I can do. For without Thee I would not have come into existence from non- existence; without Thee I cannot live or be saved.

Do what Thou wilt to Thy creature; for I believe that, being good, Thou bestowest blessings on me, even if I do not recognize that they are for my benefit. Nor am I worthy to know, nor do I claim to understand, so as to be at rest: this might not be to my profit.

I do not dare to ask for relief in any of my battles, even if I am weak and utterly exhausted: for I do not know what is good for me. "Thou knowest all things" (John 21:17); act according to Thy knowledge.

Only do not let me go astray, whatever happens; whether I want it or not, save me, though, again, only if it accords with Thy will.

I, then, have nothing: before Thee I am as one that is dead; I commit my soul into Thy pure hands, in this age and in the age to be. Thou art able to do all things; Thou knowest all things; Thou desirest every kind of goodness for all men and ever longest for my salvation.

This is clear from the many blessings that in Thy grace Thou hast bestowed and always bestowest on us, visible and invisible, known to us and unknown; and from that gift of Thyself to us, O Son and Logos of God, which is beyond our understanding.

Yet who am I that I should dare to speak to Thee of these things, Thou searcher of hearts?

I speak of them in order to make known to myself and to my enemies that I take refuge in Thee, the harbor of my salvation. For I know by Thy grace that "Thou art my God" (Psalms 31:14).

I do not dare to say many things, but only wish to set before Thee an intellect that is inactive, deaf and dumb.

It is not myself but Thy grace that accomplishes all things. For, knowing that I am always full of evil, I do not attribute such things to my own goodness; and because of this I fall down as a servant before Thee, for Thou hast found me worthy of repentance, and "I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid" (Psalms 116:16).

But do not allow me, my Lord Jesus Christ, my God, to do, say or think anything contrary to Thy will: the sins I have already committed are enough. But in whatever way Thou desirest have mercy on me.

I have sinned: have mercy on me as Thou knowest. I believe, Lord, that Thou hearest this my pitiable cry, "Help Thou my unbelief", (Mark 9:24) Thou who has granted me, not only to be, but also to be a Christian.

"It is a great thing," St. John of Karpathos has said, "for me to be called a monk and a Christian." As Thou has said, Lord, to one of Thy servants, "It is no light thing for you to be called by My name" (Isaiah 49:6).

This is more to me than all the kingdoms of heaven or of earth. Let me always be called by Thy most sweet name. O Master, full of compassion, I give thanks to Thee.

St. Peter of Damaskos, "How to Acquire True Faith", from G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, "The Philokalia: Vol. III," (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), pp. 164 - 167





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