Written by Princess Ileana of Romania (Mother Alexandra)
A brave and bold woman, she spent her early years caring for war wounded and organizing hospitals by collaboration with friend and foe. At the age of 52, after raising her six children, she entered the monastic life, becoming a novice at the Monastery of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God in Bussy, France. Professing monastic vows there in 1967, she then returned to the U.S. to embark on a new mission – to found an Orthodox monastery for women. She had a vision and a conviction for the monastery: Pan-Orthodox, all services in English, new calendar and open to women of all ethnic backgrounds.
Even before becoming a nun, she was respected for her spiritual insight and depth. She was a prolific author as well as a noted speaker and lecturer – often invited to speak by Christian churches as well as political, educational and social groups throughout the United States. We are pleased to offer here one of her works, “Our Father.” First written and published in 1960, it is our hope that this little meditation on the Lord’s Prayer and its twice-daily use will help mark your week with communion with God in prayer.
As you pray these prayers pray also for the soul of Mother Alexandra, pray for the monastery she founded and remember to give thanks to God for all the blessings you have been given and His mercy on all people of all nations.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven
being, I dedicate this day. To Thee, to whom I owe
my life in all its forms, I give myself wholeheart-
edly. From Thee come my thoughts, my power to think,
to rationalize and put my ideas into action. To Thee
I owe my body and my feeling; from Thee I have my hands
and feet, my eyes and my tongue. I yearn this day to
use all that I am to that purpose for which Thou hast
Thy child I long to be in thought and word and
deed, to love Thee with all my heart, with all my
soul, and with all my mind.
Father, Thou art everywhere and yet nothing encompasses,
nameless because no name is worthy of Thee, Thou infinite
One, who in Thy heavenly glory can yet comprehend my
finite need and boundless longing, hear my prayer: let
this bring me closer to Thee.
Hollowed be Thy Name
From the depth of my grateful heart I thank Thee for
all the opportunities of this day. Thy Holy Name
have I sought ever to hold within my heart. Forgive
me wherein I have failed in worthily bearing witness
to Thy glory.
Thy Name I dare not utter, too holy is It for my
sinful lips, yet upon It do I dwell. In Thy Name
have I found the strength and the patience to love
and to laugh, to sorrow and to cry with my fellow
Thy Name to praise has been my goal. Though
far short I have fallen of this my desire, yet to it
again I turn.
Foot weary and sore at heart, my comfort lies in
the Name of Jesus as in It also now I find my rest.
I pray Thee, let the Holy Name, even as I sleep,
dwell within my loving heart.
Thy Kingdom come
before me, Thy humble servant, let me never forget
Thy Kingdom. Send me, I pray Thee, as one of Thy
emissaries, that, there where I am, Thy Kingdom may
have a staunch witness.
Such as I am full of fault and ineptitude, take me,
use me, where most I can be of use. Let me, like the
rain worm, do my share of moving some grain of soil
in Thy vineyard; that I may partake in some small way
in Thy redeeming work. Let me, O Lord, bring that
particle of soil upon which my shadow falls back into
Thy Kingdom, because I am Thine.
Throughout this day let me not look hither and yon in
vain search, but make me conscious, I pray Thee, O Lord,
that Thy Kingdom is within me through Jesus Christ, my
Lord and my God.
Thy Will be done
willing instrument have I tried to be. Both joy and
sorrow, recompense and penalty, have I done my
utmost obediently to accept, and gratefully have lived
each hour such as it has come to me, seeking to react
as Thou of me wouldst want.
I sorrow over these moments when I have let my
own willfulness triumph over Thy demand. Pardon,
I pray Thee, the temptation I had to shirk the unpleasant
to dodge the issue. The spirit is truly willing, but the
flesh is weak.
O Lord, Thou, Who knowest so well how weak
we are, strengthen me to do Thy will in all things
and let no lesson in obedience pass me by.
Let not this night’s rest, O Lord, be to my shame
or my weakness, but to my strengthening so that in
all things, and at all hours of night or day I Thy will
undertake let this be my guiding motif – Thy will
on earth to carry through in what I say and what
I do. Help me to help others and so to forget myself.
Teach me to make this earth more pleasing in Thy
sight. Help me to be brave and patient, loving and
understanding; yet let none of these virtues divert
me from doing on earth as in heaven would be done to
Let me, dear Lord, judge myself and my motives
correctly so that I can make right decisions in
Thy sight. Let me seek no selfish aim. Let nothing
come between me and Thee, neither those I love nor
my loyalties. Let me first seek what to Thy Glory is,
O Lord, then can I but be fair to all and even to myself.
Let me not put off what today is to be done, for
now and here is the appointed time and place; every
hour, every minute is the golden opportunity, to know
and to fulfill on earth Thy will. This earthly day
I dedicate to Thee, O Christ!
As in Heaven
to heaven for each day, each hour more of Thee I
learn. Patiently having striven to be true to Thy
word have I seen Thee reflected in all things, in the
sun and rain, in the smile of a child, in the fresh
breeze, in the stillness of heavy air, in my work, in
my contact with other men. Everywhere is the work
of Thy hands, all we have wrought we have made out
of Thy material. For all these things I bless and
glorify Thy Name. As the shadows close around me and
night covers the earth, and all things turn to their
rest, I close my eyes in utter thankfulness for all
that life has given me up to this hour. My soul over-
flows with gratitude for all Thy loving kindness.
In peace and confidence I lay me down to rest fearing
no hurt, for this very ground upon which I lie is Thy
footstool and thus blessed of Thee and a foreshadowing
of heavenly bliss.
Give us this day
strength for the hours as they come one by one. For
my sustenance let me ask for that only which I need,
Thy will to fulfill. Let me have enough of the
spiritual and the material so that I may help all who
knock at my door and send none empty away. Show
me how to share the blessings of this day with my
neighbor. Teach to fear neither the good nor the
bad, to bravely live them both to the full, through
both working out Thy will. Let no lack of generosity
hamper my actions. Let my heart never be so small
that it cannot love and forgive. Let me have the
humility truly to rejoice over every minute and what
it brings. I know full well how undeserving I am;
yet let me seize every opportunity to turn every hour
to Thy glory. Walk with me this day as Thou didst
with Luke and Cleopas to Emmaus. Let Thine Angel
guide me and show me what Thy demand of me is for
Our daily bread
O Lord. At no time has my need been left unsatisfied;
only in those hours in when I turned from Thee have I
known want. I thank Thee, dear Lord and Master, for
all that this day my brethren have shared with me. I
thank Thee for sun and air, for house and food, for
dear ones and friends, for every hour that has been mine.
I thank Thee, also, for the hours of pain and stress that
have widened my understanding. I thank Thee for the
darkness that has made me see the light more clearly. I
thank Thee for the enmity that has taught me to forgive.
How rich I am! How much hast Thou given me! Each day
is added to all I already have. How generously hast
Thou dealt with me! From the hour of my birth to this
evening hour so much hast Thou given me I cannot count
it, I can but humbly thank Thee for Thyself: my daily
Glory be to Thee, O Christ our God.
Forgive us our trespasses
out Thy debtor in every way. I strive to keep straight
but ever and again I fall. My hope lies in Thy mercy.
Yet, O wonder, were it not for sin I would not have
known Thy loving kindness, the power of Thy forgiving
love through Jesus Christ, my Lord.
As I start out upon this day seeking to come closer
to Thee in all I do, it is the knowledge of Thy power
to turn even my faults to good purpose that gives me
strength to go forth and do my work. In my past lie
many transgressions I cannot of myself put right. The
weight of them lies heavily upon me, But Thou hast said:
‘Come unto me all that are heavily burdened and I will
refresh thee.’ To Thee I come, O Lord, humbly praying
that this day may pass without sin and that I may make
retribution, ever remembering the pain Thou didst suffer
for me and all mankind, and thus keep me to that true
and only path that leads to Thee.
As we forgive those who trespass against us
(think of the person you most dislike), how little
mercy I deserve, for how little am I able myself to
forgive! Were I to be judged as I judge others, what
hope do I have?
O Lord, move my heart to love and forgiveness. Teach
me true compassion, with kindliness to look upon my
neighbors’ faults. Still within me the aggravations
of this day and my unjust criticisms, let me see myself
as I truly am, help me to judge my own reactions rather
than dwell upon those of others. Help me to banish
from my heart and memory all resentment, anger and
annoyance. Even there where my dislike is justified,
temper my feelings with charity and contrition for
my own share in the world’s sin. My I this night
and at all times forgive seventy times seven and be
worthy of Thee and not have to fear Thy judgment, for
Thou art faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lead us not into temptation
fall victim to the whiles of the enemy who stands
ever ready to guide me amiss. Let me distinguish
the pearl without price and not be dazzled by the
tinsel and the gold. Teach me to guard my tongue
from useless words. Help me to always ask myself:
is this of good report? Am I by saying or doing
this working for the kingdom of heaven? Or am I
serving Satan and his angels? Give me clear eyes
and judgment that I may throughout this day make
the right choice. Where there is darkness, let
me see light; in the midst of turmoil let me find
the core of stillness. Let no fear enter my soul,
but teach me bravely to face every problem and all
enmity and never let me compromise with evil. Let
me never forget that man does not live by bread
alone, but by Thy word. Let me owe no man anything
but love so that in loving one another we may
fulfill Thy law and set temptation at naught.
But deliver us from evil
to have a hold on me, neither waking nor sleeping.
In this world of tribulation I shall have no fear
because Thou hast overcome the world and its prince.
I trust myself under the guardianship of Thine Angel;
let him cover me this night with the feathers if his
protection that I may rest secure from any assault of
the enemy. I shall not fear the terror that walks in
the darkness. As through this day Thy loving kindness
has shielded, even so this night be my safeguard, O
my gentle Lord.
I thank Thee and bless Thee for all the good things of
this day, for the protection of my dear ones, for the
numerous blessings that we, all Thy creatures, have
experienced this day, especially for those moments when
we have overcome the wiles of the evil one.
I entrust my nearest and dearest to Thy loving care.
Because the Lord is my light and the strength of my life,
of whom shall I be afraid? Glory be to Thee, O Christ.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
and glorify. All that is, is Thine. Thou has
made it all: all life, all things, all thoughts
reflect Thee. Thy loving kindness, Thy mercy
lay upon all things. Yet none of these things
hold Thee who art beyond thought or comprehension.
Only Thy love transcends all unknowing and reaches
me who am but one of Thy humble children. How
grateful am I to the Grace that made me one of
the human race! Let me be worthy of my brethren
and of Thy saints.
This day hast Thou set aside for rest because on
this day Thou lookest upon Thy creation and found
it good. We, only we, have misused our blessing
and brought sorrow and death into our lives. But
Thou art Love and Light and Life and through the
resurrection of Thy Son hast given back to this day
its holiness and wholeness. Holy, holy, holy art
Thou, O Lord, God of Hosts!
Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
and the end, Thou, who art the inn on the road and
the end of the road, bless me at the close of this
day. If it is to be my last, dear Lord, forgive what
I have done amiss, for in Thy mercy do I trust. Of
myself naught am I, Finite and small, I lay me in Thy
hand to hold and shield me and, if Thou wilt, take me
to Thee. Only this have I to recommend me, that Thou
hast made me; nothing have I to give Thee, for all I
have has come of Thee; only my love is mine own to
give or withhold. Lord, our Father, accept my love,
the truest and purist that I can give. Love Thou
Thyself art; herein lies my own link with eternity
that I love Thee and so am part of Thine own, Thou
who wast, art and ever shall be.
Glory be to Thee, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, both
now and ever and unto ages of ages.