fatherpatrick

33 intercessions to pray, using a 33-knot prayer-rope

In Orthodox Christianity: in general on September 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

As many of you know, we Orthodox frequently use a komboschoini (“kom-bo-SKEE-nee”), or “prayer-rope,” for aid in developing interior prayer of the heart. All prayer which is pleasing to God ascends from a heart which is set upon Him. The use of aids in prayer, such as movements of the body, books, ropes, etc., all provide a ladder upon which we can ascend to heavenly contemplation (theoria). The komboschoini is a woolen rope, consisting of knots of various sizes: as small as 33 (sometimes even smaller) and as large as 300. At each knot, fingered by the left hand, one says the Prayer of Jesus, “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!” This is repeated once for each knot. This is the basic use of the rope.  There is a great volume of spiritual literature about this holy prayer and its practice. But the prayer-rope can be used for other prayers as well, as you will see, below.

There are many kinds of prayer: petition, compunction, confession, worship, contemplation, intercession. It is this last one which is the subject of this post.

Last May, I received from John Tsapos’ list a 33-knot intercession on the komboschoini. It was sent out in Greek. Below is my translation. Perhaps you will find it helpful for your own daily intercessions!

When you begin, take the rope in your left hand, with your forefinger and thumb on the cross of the komboschoini and say, while making the Sign of the Cross with your right hand, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If you like you can say the trisagion (“Holy God…”) and the other customary prayers through the Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father…”). Then, moving to the first knot on the komboschoini, say the first petition given below, and on each knot thereafter, each succeeding petition.  After all 33 are complete, say “Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.”

  1. Be mindful, O Lord, for the peace of the world!
  2. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our Church and our Orthodoxy.
  3. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our Bishop and his clergy.
  4. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on all Orthodox clergy and laity in every land.
  5. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our spiritual father and his community.
  6. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our country and on our armed forces.
  7. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the civil authorities.
  8. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on those who hate us, on those who love us, and those who pray for us.
  9. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our parents, our sponsors, and our teachers.
  10. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our brethren and relatives, according to the flesh and spiritual.
  11. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the elderly and the monastics.
  12. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on infants, the defenseless, and the powerless.
  13. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the youth in schools.
  14. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the adolescent and our youth.
  15. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the drug-addicted, alcoholics, and smokers.
  16. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the marriages of Orthodox families.
  17. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our sisters who are pregnant.
  18. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the widows and orphans.
  19. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our brothers and sisters who are martially separated and tempted.
  20. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the weak in soul and body.
  21. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on those who do works of mercy and labor in the holy monasteries and parishes.
  22. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the pious pilgrims of monasteries and churches.
  23. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on those who journey by sea, by land, or by air, those who are imprisoned and the despairing.
  24. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on the poor and our brethren who are afflicted.
  25. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on our judges and elected representatives.
  26. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on those who are deceived and blaspheme our Orthodoxy.
  27. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and grant peaceful seasons.
  28. O Lord Jesus Christ, guard us from sickness, wrath, and danger, and enlighten our physicians and nurses.
  29. O Lord Jesus Christ, guard us from poverty, danger, and misfortune.
  30. O Lord Jesus Christ, guard us from heat, fire, and earthquake.
  31. O Lord Jesus Christ, guard us from flood, drowning, and frost.
  32. O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest also to the souls of our fathers, mothers, brethren, relatives, grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
  33. O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, the sinner!
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  1. Fr Patrick, thanks for your website and for this latest entry! This is my first time leaving a comment on your blog and I wanted to you know that I will print out this intecessory list and use it. But first, I need a new prayer rope as I seem to not be able to hang on to one for long…I end up giving them away or losing them. Perhaps I should learn to make my own rope?

  2. Father Bless.

    Fr. Patrick,

    I like these 33 prayers to be used with the prayer rope. Other than the Jesus prayer, I have tried to name people, especially my immediate family, as I have prayed, i.e. “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on Tori”

    One of the things I have come to realize in the last couple months in how the Orthodox Church really does pray for everybody. We did an Akathist hymn in Compline for the repose of the departed some time ago, and that caught my attention at how prayers are offered up for everyone.

    Two lines from that Akathist:

    Ekos 2: “The words of St. Isaac the Syrian are recalled: The heart of the merciful offereth prayers with tears every hour for people and animals and all creation, that they may be preserved and purified…”

    Ekos 7: “The universal Church of Christ offereth prayers every day for the reposed; every hour the sins of the world are washed away by the Most-pure Blood of the Divine Lamb; from death to life, and from earth to Heaven the souls of the departed ascend through the power of prayers for them before God’s altars…”

    Evening prayers, and the intercessions offered during them have also been a reminder. Now, these prayers for use with the prayer rope.

    There is something beautiful and right about this. “God so loved the world…” but how often do we as Christians fail to pray “for all.” This is one of the things I have come to love about Orthodoxy, even those who have no one else to pray for them are prayed for by countless Orthodox Christians – every hour and every day by faithful men and women.

    Thanks for this – the only problem is remembering all 33 intercessions 🙂

    Asking your prayers,

    Shawn

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