St. Symeon’s Invocation Prayer To The Holy Spirit

The following prayer from the Orthodox tradition is one I’ve used for a number of years. It breathes life into me, and into many contemporary worship settings. I’m looking at putting it to music soon, but many friends are asking for it after a recent gathering in Denver. Here it is, with the book reference.

The prayer can be read by a celebrant, all together, in “repeat after me” form, or responsively (one line read by the leader/celebrant, the next by the community, etc.)

INVOCATION PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
From the book by Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1979).
Excerpts from An Invocation To The Holy Spirit by St. Symeon (949-1022 A.D.)

Come, true light.
Come, life eternal.
Come, hidden mystery.
Come, treasure without name.

Come, reality beyond all words.
Come, person beyond all understanding.
Come, rejoicing without end.
Come, light that knows no evening.

Come, unfailing expectation of the saved.
Come, raising of the fallen.
Come, resurrection of the dead.
Come, all-powerful, for unceasingly you create, refashion and change all things by your will alone.

Come, for your name fills our hearts with longing, and is ever on our lips.
Come, for you are yourself the desire that is within me.
Come, my breath and my life.
Come, the consolation of my humble soul.

Come, my joy, my glory, my endless delight.

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The Complete Prayer

While more complex, there are some other precious gems of phrases in the prayer in its entirety. The above is provided for corporate use.

Come, true light.

Come. life eternal.

Come, hidden mystery.

Come, treasure without name.

Come, reality beyond all words.

Come, person beyond all understanding.

Come, rejoicing without end.

Come, light that knows no evening.

Come, unfailing expectation of the saved.

Come, the raising of the fallen.

Come, the resurrection of the dead.

Come, all-powerful, for unceasingly you create, refashion and change all things by your will alone.

Come, invisible, whom none may touch and handle.

Come, for you continue always unmoved, yet at every instant you are wholly in movement; you draw near to us who lie in hell, yet you remain higher than the heavens.

Come, for your Name fills our hearts with longing and is ever on our lips; yet who you are and what your nature is, we cannot say or know.

Come, eternal joy.

Come, unfading garland.

Come, purple vesture of our great God and King.

Come, belt of crystal set with precious stones.

Come, sandal that none dares to touch.

Come, royal robe and right hand of true sovereignty.

Come, for my wretched soul has ever longed and ever longs for you.

Come, Alone to the alone, for as you see I am alone: you have separated me from all things and made me to be alone upon the earth.

Come, for you are yourself the desire that is within me, and you have caused me to long after you, the wholly inaceessible.

Come, my breath and my life.

Come, the consolation of my humble soul.

Come, my joy, my glory, my endless delight.

I give you thanks, for you have become one spilt with me, in a union without confusion. Unchanging and unaltered, God over all, you have yet become all in all to me: food inexplicable, freely bestowed, ever nourishing my soul; a fountain springing up within my heart, a garment of light consuming the demons, purification that washes me clean through the immortal and holy tears that are granted at your coming to all whom you visit.

I give you thanks, for to me you are a light that knows no evening, a sun that never sets. You cannot remain hidden, for you fill all things with your glory. You never hide yourself from anyone, but we are always hiding from you, not wishing to come near you. For where could you hide yourself, since you have no place in which to take your rest? Or why should you hide, since you turn away from no one and are afraid of none?

Pitch your tent within me, gracious Master; take up your dwelling in me now and remain in your servant unceasingly, inseparably, to the end. At my departure from this life and afterwards, may I be found in you and reign with you, who are God over all.

Stay with me, Master, do not leave me alone. My enemies, who seek always to devour my soul, when they find you dwelling in me, will be put to flight; they will have no power at all against me, when they see. you, who are more powerful than all, lodging in the house of my humble soul.

You did not forget me, Master, when I was in the world and sunk in ignorance, but you chose me and separated me from the world and set me in the presence of your glory. Keep me constant and unshaken in the interior dwelling-place that you have made within me, Though dead, I live when I gaze upon you; possessing you, though poor, I am for ever rich, more wealthy than any ruler. Eating and drinking you, clothing myself in you from day to day, I shall be filled with blessings and delight beyond all telling. For you are every blessing and all splendour end joy, and to you is due glory, to the Holy, Consubstantial and Life-giving Trinity, worshipped and confessed by all the faithful and adored in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.

Amen.

[from Christian Peoples Of The Spirit, trans. by Kallistos Ware]