“Many Church Fathers taught the use of the “arrow prayer”, deliberately short prayers for personal devotion that were easily remembered, and could communicate one’s love for God, while seeking His help.

Saint Sophia Cathedral
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Topic of the Week – Arrow prayersMany Church Fathers taught the use of the “arrow prayer”, deliberately short prayers for personal devotion that were easily remembered, and could communicate one’s love for God, while seeking His help. They were like arrows being shot into the air, wholeheartedly demonstrating our sincerity in asking God’s help.
One of my personal favorites is an arrow prayer attributed to Saint Gregory Palamas.
Lord enlighten my darkness, Lord enlighten my darkness, Lord enlighten my darkness…..
This is the perfect prayer when seeking God’s help in keeping His commandments, and doing battle with habitual sins. By this prayer we are asking that grace abound and transformation take place… a prayerful plea for God’s mercy, and that He makes us holy by coming quickly to our aid…. a prayer in which we confess before God that we are living in a state of darkness, and asking Him to dispel all that darkness which keeps us from attaining holiness, and communing with Him.” (Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering)
What other arrow prayers can we pray? Read below for some suggestions, or use scripture and your own needs to create some of your own.
Adult/Family – 
Lord bless, enlighten, and illumine my children. (Archimandrite Sergius Bowyer)
From Saint John Chrysostom’s Prayers for Each Hour of the Night:
(2) O LORD, deliver me from eternal torments.
(4) O LORD, deliver me from all ignorance, heedlessness, cowardice and hard indifference.
(7) O LORD, I, being human, have sinned: being God, forgive me in your compassion for you know the weakness of my soul.
(9) O LORD, Jesus Christ, inscribe me, your servant in the Book of Life and grant me a peaceful end.
(10) O LORD, though I have done nothing good in your sight, grant that through your grace I may now make a good beginning.
From Saint John Chrysostom’s Prayers for Each Hour of the Day:
(1) O LORD, accept me in repentance.
(2) O LORD, do not leave me.
(5) O LORD, grant me tears, remembrance of death and humility.
(6) O LORD, grant me mindfulness to confess all my sins.
(7) O LORD, grant me humility chastity and obedience.
(8) O LORD, grant me patience, courage and meekness.
(9) O LORD, implant in me the root of blessings – the fear of you in my heart.
(11) O LORD, deliver me from evil men, from the devil, from bodily passions and from all unlawful things.
(12) O LORD, I know that you act according to your will; may your will also be in me, a sinner, for you are blessed unto all ages. Amen.
Read all of St. John Chrysostom’s 24 Prayers for Each Hour of the Day here.


“…consider praying very simple prayers aloud while performing daily tasks. Those simple prayers could include:

* While washing up before or cleaning sticky fingers after a meal, 
“I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about Your altar, O Lord.” (Ps. 26:6)
* While bathing: 
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) 
(or “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7))
* When brushing teeth, 
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14)
*While putting on clothes or a coat, 
“…he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness…” (Is. 61:10)
*While turning on a light or lighting a candle, 
“O Lord, enlighten my heart, which evil desires have darkened.” (St. John Chrysostom’s hourly prayers)
*While watering plants, 
“Oh Lord, sprinkle my heart with the dew of Thy Grace.” (St. John Chrysostom’s hourly prayers)
*When planting or gardening, 
“O Lord, plant in me the root of all blessings, the fear of Thee in my heart.” (St. John Chrysostom’s hourly prayers)
*When locking a door, 
“O Lord, protect me from certain people, from demons and passions, and from every other harmful thing.” (St. John Chrysostom’s hourly prayers)

For more ideas, read On Practical Reminders to Pray

Middle School:

From Saint John Chrysostom’s prayers for each hour of the night:

 (3) O LORD, lead me not into temptation.

 (4) O LORD, grant me good thoughts.

 (8) O LORD< send your mercy to help me so that I may extol your glorious Name.

 (10) O Lord, grant that I may love you with all my mind and soul and that I may do your will in all things.

From Saint John Chrysostom’s prayers for the hours of the day:

(1) O LORD, deprive me not of your heavenly blessings.

(3) O LORD, if I have sinned in mind, in thought, in word or in deed, forgive me.

(5) O LORD, deliver me from all temptation.
(11) O LORD, shower upon my heart the dew of your grace.

Find the printable here.

High School:

The classical form of the Jesus Prayer is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The actual words of our short prayers can vary. We might say the classic version of the Jesus Prayer, or we might say, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” We may say, “Lord Jesus, have mercy.” Or, we might say a Psalm verse, or a Bible quote, or some other prayer.
Monks of old said, “Lord, make haste to help me. Lord, make speed to save me,” all day long.
The history of the Jesus Prayer goes back, as far as we know, to the early 6th century, with Diadochos, who taught that repetition of the prayer leads to inner stillness. Even earlier John Cassian recommended this type of prayer. In the 4th century in Egypt, in Nitria, short “arrow” prayers were practiced.
Abba Macarius of Egypt said there is no need to waste time with words. It is enough to hold out your hands and say, “Lord, according to your desire and your wisdom, have mercy.” If pressed in the struggle, say, “Lord, save me!” or say, “Lord.” He knows what is best for us and will have mercy upon us.”

Read the entire article here.

Purchase and read The Way of a Pilgrim here.


A Message from Maria Spanos

I am passionate about our Orthodox Christian faith and seek to help others learn as much as they can about it. My purpose here is to share online resources that help strengthen our relationship with Christ and bind us closer to His Church. I believe they are invaluable in learning about our precious Orthodox Tradition, and are a great aid for teaching family members, friends and others about Orthodoxy. ~Maria

Two of my favorite quotes:

“A true Christian behaves in this life so that it may be a preparation for the future one and not only a life here below. In his actions, he does not think what will be said of him here but of what will be said there in heaven; he represents to himself that he is always in the presence of God, of the angels and all the saints, and remembers that someday they will bear witness of his thoughts, words, and deeds.”  — Saint John of Kronstadt


Of all the holy works, the education of children is the most holy.”
— St. Theophan the Recluse