Pentecost Kneeling Prayers


“The Lord Jesus Christ sowed a most precious seed in the field of this world,” writes St Nikolai Velimirovich, “but the power of the Holy Spirit was needed to come upon it, to give it warmth and light, and make it grow.” At Pentecost, Orthodox Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and on the whole of the earth. Towards the conclusion of the Pentecost Divine Liturgy, it is the recent practice that the prayers of the Vespers service for the commemoration of the Holy Spirit on the next day are read. During these prayers, the clergy and the laity kneel for the first time since Pascha fifty days prior.

There are seven prayers which are read during the three times the church kneels. The first two prayers, addressing God the Father, are read together. These two prayers recall all that the Father has done for us through Creation, the Ministry of Christ and the sending down of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In these prayers we seek forgiveness, freedom from oppression and that our prayers may be heard.

The next two prayers are read together with the church kneeling. These implore Christ “as the reflection of the Father” who sent down the grace of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles to also grant us the Holy Spirit. This is asked for our support in the spiritual life and protection from the things of the world.

Finally, the last three prayers are read. These prayers are longer, and focus on life and death in Christ. We remember Christ’s harrowing of Hades and defeat of death, the Judgement which is to come, as well as those who have departed. In concluding these prayers, we are brought back to the present, seeking that our prayers may be answered and that we have a peaceful night.

While the Holy Spirit is not directly addressed in these prayers, it is “present everywhere and filling all things”. What is sought from the Father and the Son is now accomplished after Pentecost through the Grace of the Holy Spirit.


Source: Lychnos June – July 2021