Prayer for Enemies ~ St. Nikolai of Zhicha

Prayer for Enemies by St Nikolai

Lord Jesus Christ,

Who didst command us to love our enemies,

and those who defame and injure us,

and to pray for them and forgive them;

Who Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies,

who crucified thee:

grant us, we pray,

the spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness,

that we may heartily forgive every injury

and be reconciled with our enemies.

Grant us to overcome the malevolence and offences of people

with Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor.

We further beseech Thee,

O Lord, to grant to our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins;

and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion.

And help us repay evil with goodness,

and to remain safe from the temptations of the devil and from all the perils which threaten us,

in the form of visible and invisible enemies.



When praying to God…

“When praying heedfully, guard yourself with great caution, so as to pray in Psalms and to chant prayers with fear, joy, firm zeal, and a low bow to the divine icon. For you will find in the Psalms both instruction and prayer. Let us not pronounce the words only with the tip of the tongue, but pray with our whole heart. Join into one the body, the soul, and the mind.”

~St. Paisius Velichkovksy.


“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.” ~ Psalm 30:2

“Until we have acquired true prayer, we are like those who introduce children to walking. Make the effort to raise up, or rather, to enclose your mind within the words of your prayer; and if, like a child, it gets tired and falters, raise it up again. The mind, after all, is naturally unstable, but the God Who can do everything can also give it firm endurance. Persevere in this, therefore, and do not grow weary… “ ~  St. John Climacus

“Disciplined piety feeds the soul on holy thoughts. What can be more blessed than to imitate on earth the chorus of the angels; to begin the opening day with prayer, honouring the Creator with hymns and songs; and when the sun is up to turn to work, always accompanied by prayer, and to season one’s labours with singing? Cheerfulness and freedom from sorrow are the gifts which the soul received from the singing of hymns.” ~ St. Basil the Great.

“Prayer and praying make men temples of God. As gold, precious
stones and marble adorn the palaces of kings, so do prayers adorn the
temples of Christ – the souls of believers.”
~ Monks Callistus and Ignatius

“For when we [call to] mind and think the same things, and offer up the same prayers on behalf of each other, no place can separate us, but the Lord gathers and unites us together.  For if He promises, that `when two or three are gathered together in His name, He is in the midst of them,’ it is plain that being in the midst of those who in every place are gathered together, He unites them, and receives the prayers of all of them, as if they were near.” ~ St. Athanasius the Great.

“When we pray and God delays in hearing (our prayer), He does this for our benefit, so as to teach us longsuffering; wherefore we need not become downcast, saying: ‘We prayed, and were not heard.’ God knows what is profitable for a man. Rejoice in the Lord, leave off all your cares, and pray for me, O my beloved brother, one in spirit (with me).” ~ Saints Barsanuphius & John, Guidance.

“Do not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases; then you will be undisturbed and thankful in your prayer.” ~ St. Nilus of Sinai

There is yet another reason that may cause our prayer to go unanswered: namely, that though we pray we yet continue in sin. ~ St. John Chrysostom

“All who ask and do not obtain their requests from God, are
denied for one of the following reasons; because they ask at the
wrong time, or because they ask unworthily and vaingloriously, or
because if they received they would become conceited, or finally
because they would become negligent after obtaining their request.”
~ St. John Climacus

“Whatever you may be seeking, seek it with all your strength, but do not expect your own search and efforts to bear fruit of themselves. Put your trust in the Lord, ascribing nothing to yourself, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” ~ St. Theophan the Recluse.

“But since we say that God is plenteous in  mercy, why is it that when amidst temptations we unceasingly knock and pray, we are not heard and He disregards our prayer? This we are clearly taught by the Prophet when he says, `The Lord’s hand is not little, that it cannot save; nor is He heavy of hearing, that He cannot hear; but our sins have separated us from Him, and our iniquities have turned His face away, that He doth not hearken.’ Remember God at all times, and He will remember your whenever you fall into evils.” ~ St. Isaac the Syrian.

“God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil – for the devil is cold – let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance.” ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov.

“Pray simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable
gift of prayer. Consider yourself unworthy of it. Then you will find
peace. Use the empty cold dryness of your prayer as food for your
humility. Repeat constantly: I am not worthy; Lord, I am not worthy!
But say it calmly, without agitation.”
~ St. Macarius of Optina

“Let us then not lose heart, nor be slothful or timid in prayer. Even if we have been brought down to the depths of evil, prayer can speedily draw us back.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

“As the earth, long awaiting moistening and at last receiving it in abundance, suddenly is covered by tender and bright greenery, so also the heart, exhausted by dryness, and afterwards revived by tears, emits from itself a multitude of spiritual thoughts and feelings, adorned by the common flower of humility. The labor of weeping, being inseparable from the labor of prayer, requires the same conditions for success as prayer requires. Prayer needs patient, constant dwelling in itself; weeping requires the same. Prayer needs wearying of the body, and brings about exhaustion of the body; this exhaustion produces weeping, which must be born in the troubling and wearying of the body.” ~ St. Ignaty Brianchaninov.

“At the times when you stand before your Lord in prayer, do not start off in a languid fashion, otherwise you will perform your entire prayer in a lax and lazy way. Rather, when you stand in prayer sign yourself with the cross, collect your thoughts together and prepare yourself properly; concentrate on Him to Whom you are praying, and take care that your thought does not depart from Him until your prayer has reached its conclusion.” ~ St. John of Kronstadt.

“When already well advanced in years, David offered thanks to God for choosing him, and he said this about the final fruits of God’s blessing: ‘Now has Thy servant found his own heart, so as to offer this prayer’ (2 Sam. 7:27. LXX). This he said to teach us that a great effort and much time are needed in prayer, before through struggle we can reach a state in which our mind is no longer troubled, and so attain the inward heaven of the heart where Jesus dwells. As the Apostle says, ‘Do you not know that Jesus Christ dwells within you?’ (cf. 2 Cor. 13:5).” ~ St. John of Karpathos

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” ~ 1 Peter 4:7

“To acquire prayer is to acquire eternity. When the body lies
dying, the cry ‘Jesus Christ’ becomes the garment of the soul; when
the brain no longer functions and other prayers are difficult to
remember, in the light of the divine knowledge that proceeds from the
Name our spirit will rise into life incorruptible.”
~ Archimandrite Sophrony

“Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should
practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus
Christ, mentally saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy
upon me a sinner.”
~ St Seraphim of Sarov

“When the mind and heart are united in prayer and the soul’s
thoughts are not dispersed, the heart is warmed by spiritual warmth in
which the light of Christ shines, making the whole inner man peaceful
and joyous.”
~ St Seraphim of Sarov

“Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country;
whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present
at drinking parties, do not stop praying. When you are able, bend your
knees, when you cannot, make intercession in your mind, `at evening
and at morning and at midday’. If prayer precedes your work and if,
when you rise from your bed, your first movements are accompanied by prayer, sin can find no entrance to attack your soul.”
~ St Ephrem the Syrian

“From the fact of our praying it so happens that we are with God;
and whoever is with God is well away from the enemy: prayer thus
preserves chastity, it beats down anger, it drowns pride, it gets rid
of resentment, it destroys envy, it causes evil to vanish, it reforms
wicked ways. Prayer, then, is the seal of virginity, the firm basis
of marriage, the armor of those who travel, the protection of those
who are asleep, the source of confidence for those who are awake. In
brief, prayer is talking to, and encountering, God.”
~ Anonymous
[from The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life]

“Whether you pray with brethren or alone, try to pray not simply
as a routine, but with conscious awareness of your prayer. “Conscious
awareness of prayer is concentration accompanied by reverence,
compunction and distress of soul as it confesses its sin with inward
~ Evagrius the Solitary

“When you pray with prayers to which you have grown accustomed –
from praying them over and over again – remember that the Lord is from all eternity the same. Your heart may change and grow cold, but the same words of the same prayer still have the same power with the Lord, Who Himself is the same, “yesterday, today, and forever.”
~ St. John of Kronstadt

“Perseverance in prayer cleanses the intellect, illumines it, and fills it with the light of truth. The virtues, led by compassion, give the intellect peace and light. The cleansing of the intellect is not a dialectical, discursive and theoretical activity, but an act of grace through experience and is ethical in every respect. The intellect is purified by fasting, vigils, silence, prayer, and other ascetic practices.” ~ St. Isaac the Syrian.

“Persevere with patience in your prayer, and repulse the cares and
doubts that arise within you. Try to make your intellect deaf and dumb
during prayer, you will then be able to pray.” ~ Evagrios the Solitary

“You should not make long prayer, for it is better to pray little
but often. Superfluous words are idle talk.”
~ St. Theophylact

“Upon awakening, first give praise to God and, having asked His
intercession, begin your most important work, that is, to pray in the
heart, purely and without distraction… We are commanded to bring
the first and best as offering to God, that is our first thought
which we must direct straight to our Lord Jesus Christ in a pure
prayer of the heart…”
~ Monks Callistus and Ignatius

“If you do not feel like praying, you have to force yourself. The
Holy Fathers say that prayer with force is higher than prayer
unforced. You do not want to, but force yourself. The Kingdom of
Heaven is taken by force.” (Matt. 11:12).
~ St. Ambrose of Optina (+1891)

“Through the prayer of faith we can obtain from the All-merciful
and All-bestowing God all spiritual and indispensable earthly
blessings besides, if only the prayer is fervent and the desire to
obtain these blessings sincere. And what prayers the Church puts into
our mouths! Such, that by means of them we can easily incline the Lord
to be merciful to us and to bestow upon us every good gift. The enemy,
knowing God’s goodness and the power of prayer, endeavors by every
means to deter us from it, or during the prayer tries to distract our
minds, to hinder us by various passions and attachments to earthly
things, or by hurry, disturbance, etc.”
~ St. John of Kronstadt

“In response to our abandoning our prayer rule, the Lord abandons
our soul.”
~ Venerable St. Nilus of Sinai

“Do not neglect prayer. Pray fervently. Say these prayers: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” “Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy
Spirit.” “We venerate Thine immaculate icon…” “The Cross, the guardian of the whole oecumene…” The Creed and the Lord’s Prayer… “O All-Holy Lady Theotokos (the light of my darkened soul, my hope and protection)…” And whatever other prayers you know.”
~ Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos