Oh Lord, I know not what to ask of thee.
One life’s ironies: the times when I need God’s help and guidance most are when I don’t know how to ask for them. “I know not what to ask” doesn’t mean I have no specific outcome in mind: it’s the recognition that another outcome may very well be holier than the one I’m requesting.
O Lord, I know not what to ask of thee. Thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on thee. My heart is open to thee. Visit and help me, for thy great mercy’s sake. Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence thy holy will and thine inscrutable ways. I offer myself as a sacrifice to thee. I put all my trust in thee. I have no other desire than to fulfil thy will. Teach me how to pray. Pray thou thyself in me. Amen. (From A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1991, p.24)
About the Author of this prayer:
Metropolitan Philaret was the son of a Russian Orthodox priest who became a priest himself. He taught at St. Petersburg Theological Academy, and eventually became the Metropolitan of Moscow – a ranking somewhere between archbishop and patriarch. Not quite on par with the pope, but awfully close. He worked for offering scripture and other teachings in Russian so more people could read them. He wrote a catechism that is still in use. I suspect Philaret was a very busy man who had his share of difficulties.