Prayer Before Death

1. When, exhausted by illness, I sense that the end of my earthly existence is approaching: Lord, have mercy upon me.

2. When my poor heart, beating its last, is languishing and pining in the pangs of death: Lord, have mercy upon me.

3. When for the last time, my eyes fill with tears at the thought that with sins throughout my life I have offended Thee, O God: Lord, have mercy upon me.

4. When my rapid heartbeat speeds the departure of my soul: Lord, have mercy upon me.

5. When my face‘s deadly pallor and my cooling body strikes fear into those dear to me: Lord, have mercy upon me.

6. When my vision darkens, my voice is cut off, and my tongue is petrified: Lord, have mercy upon me.

7. When awful ghosts and visions cause me to despair of your mercy: Lord, have mercy upon me.

8. When my soul, startled by memories of past transgressions and fear of Thy judgment, flags in the battle with the enemy of my salvation, an enemy struggling to lure me into the realm of the dark of tortures: Lord, have mercy upon me.

9. When my body is covered with a deadly cold sweat, and my soul, painfully suffering, begins to leave the body: Lord, have mercy upon me.

10. When the darkness of death closes off from my darkened sight all of the things of this world: Lord, have mercy upon me.

11. When all sensation ceases in my body, when my veins and sinews are benumbed, and my muscles petrified in death: Lord, have mercy upon me.

12. When human speech and earthly sounds no longer reach my ears: Lord, have mercy upon me.

13. When my soul stands before Thy Face, O God, awaiting Thy ruling on my fate: Lord, have mercy upon me.

14. When I stand to receive the righteous sentence of Thy Judgment, that will determine my fate: Lord, have mercy upon me.

15. When my body, abandoned by my soul, becomes a quarry for worms, and a mass of corruption, and finally, my entire body turns into a handful of dust: Lord, have mercy upon me.

16. When at Thy Second Coming the sound of the trumpet awakens all, and the book of my deeds is opened: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon Thy sinful servant [name]. Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit. Amen.

— Hieroschemamonk Partheny of Kiev’s Prayer Before Death

Taken from the parish newsletter (2/2011) of The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Washington DC.

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