“Be at my right side when I am in danger.
Make your voice heard in my time of need.
Grant me life with your hand in the hour of my death.
Intervene with your finger in my time of alarm…
With the cloud of your will, miraculously protect me.
Calm my stormy seas with your tree of life, the cross.
By your command, bridle my earthly impulses.
For if your mercy wills it, Lord,
the fluid waves of the sea will become harder than stone.
But if you abandon me on dry land, Lord,
the earth upon which I stand will move
and crumble beneath me.
Jesus, accept with favor
the supplications I make to you,
and turn my gnawing apprehensions into solid faith.
In the time of the great flood that destroyed everything,
those who lived carelessly without fear
upon the steady plains of earth
were destroyed, bereft of your mercy,
while those who trusted in your name, savior,
stood on the rocking deck
of the covered ark made of logs
and were saved.
Even so, rescue me with your love of humankind,
though I forever sway this way and that, and
deliver me to the harbor of your peace, I pray you.”
- St. Gregory of Narek, Prayer 85
In the heartfelt prayer 85 of St. Gregory of Narek, there is a pulsating urgency that echoes across time and space, touching each one of us in our unique situations as well as in our collective struggle as a people. These words are more than a simple affirmation of faith; they encapsulate a deep longing for God's presence amid turmoil, doubt, and fear.
"Be at my right side when I am in danger. Make your voice heard in my time of need.” It is an urgent call for divine help, where hope clings to faith and faith seeks the intervention of the Almighty. The prayer does not romanticize the suffering but insists on God's miraculous hand to "calm my stormy seas with your tree of life, the cross.”
When St. Gregory prays for God to "make your voice heard in my time of need," he is seeking the divine whisper that reassures, offers wisdom in uncertainty, and drowns out the cacophony of life’s distractions. Many of us lose the ability to hear this voice amid the clamor of our worries and plans. The prayer here is a call back to that divine stillness that comforts and informs.
The most captivating lines might be: "For if your mercy wills it, Lord, the fluid waves of the sea will become harder than stone. But if you abandon me on dry land, Lord, the earth upon which I stand will move and crumble beneath me." This vivid imagery brings forth a stark reality: without God, even the most stable grounds can falter, and the fiercest waters can become gentle at His will. St. Gregory is reminding us that our sense of control is merely an illusion; it is God who governs the cosmos, the nature of elements, and the intricacies of our lives.
The prayer concludes by evoking the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark, symbolizing salvation and God’s providence. Just as the ark provided refuge from a flood that consumed the world, so too does faith in Jesus offer shelter from the storms of life. It teaches us that when we are lost at sea when the waves seem too high and the wind too strong, it is faith that becomes our ark, steering us toward the harbor of divine peace.