There is an ancient prayer still commonly prayed in Eastern Orthodox Churches, which I include in my own daily devotions:
Some may wonder and ask ~ and I say this because I have! ~ “Is this needless liturgical repetition?” The answer is, “ No, hardly!”O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us.
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins.
O Master, pardon our transgressions.
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities.
We begin by praying for mercy, for it is only out of the mercy of God that God hears and answers us … and, well, actually extends his love, mercy and grace.
|Царю небесный (распев 6 гласа) |
Вокальный квартет "Притча"
"Учимся петь молитвы" (2001 г.)
The first petition, then, is for cleansing. We have polluted and poisoned ourselves by sin. We cannot save ourselves, nor can we cleanse and purify ourselves. So the first petition is like walking into the doctor’s office and asking the Great Physician to purge us and purify us from disease and save us from the death to which sin inevitably leads.
The second petition is for pardon, juridical pardon. If the first petition is like walking into the doctor’s office, then the second is like walking into the courtroom. We see both aspects in Scripture. We not only need the ministry of the Great Physician, because we are sick; we also need the Great Judge to pardon us, because we are legally guilty.
The third petition may seem like a repetition of the first, since it involves healing, but I think it actually goes further. We not only need to be purged of the poison, the cancer, the sickness of sin; we also need to be healed of everything in us ~ defects, weakness, faults, shortcomings, etc. ~ that lead to sin and, thus, to sickness and death.
I suppose, then, if the first is like walking into the doctor’s office and the second like walking into the courtroom, then the third is like walking into the repair shop. In other words, it’s almost as if we’re saying, “Look at our vehicles (read: our lives) and please repair us.”
So, the above prayer is not needless repetition, some pointless part of liturgy; it actually covers everything. It is holistic and serves as a daily reminder that I am, indeed, wholly saved by the grace of God alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and that not of myself… It a gift, an invaluable and precious gift, of God alone.