Armodoxy for Today: Words for Prayer (for Artsakh)
Ever since Nagorna Karabagh, Artsakh, was violently taken over by the Azeris, Armenians the world over have been searching for words and expressions to share with others, and with God, their frustration, disappointment, anger, and acceptance of the hideous crime on the road to genocide.
The Armenian Law Students Association organized a vigil at the Loyola Law School here in Los Angeles to honor the lives lost during the Artsakh Genocide. An open invitation was sent to the student body as well as the entire community. They assembled, with candles they prayed. I wish to share their prayer here, for those searching for words, especially in a world that keeps adding wars and new sufferings on people. This, they adapted from a prayer written for Armenia and Artsakh in the Eastern Diocese (November 13, 2020).
Blessed are you, O Lord we come to you in a supremely difficult time for the Armenian people. With broken hearts and tears filling our eyes, we are united in grief over the loss of the ancestral holy lands of Artsakh. The Armenian people are forced to leave behind their sacred temples of worship and silence their joyful prayers within their glorious churches. In this state of unbearable pain, we appeal to you, O Lord, to hasten to their aid in your divine mercy and love.
Dispel their deep sorrow; heal their wounded spirits; pull them back from the error of hopelessness and despair. Help them to find strength and refuge in your loving arms, and to unite the Armenian nation under the warm and caring wings of your Holy Church. Grant us the humility and wisdom to accept the things we can no longer change; and give us courage to effect needful change where we still can.
In a time of unrest and turmoil in Armenia, give the people the peace you granted to all your followers: breathe into them, too, your life-giving Holy Spirit, so that they too may find peace from worldly commotion, worry, and fear. Help them to work together in love, directing their sincere efforts toward the recovery of our society. Guide them in rebuilding their broken homes, and heal their wounded families who lost loved ones during these bitter days of war.
Remember with love, Lord, as our Creator, the souls of the heroic soldiers and brave civilians who sacrificed their lives in your name. For those who have now lost their lifelong homes and must flee to safety. Remember them, bless them, and receive them into your Kingdom. Comfort their loved ones by the grace of your Holy Spirit.
Lord, today we are overwhelmed by the sense of loss and tragedy that has come upon the Armenian people. But we know that you are always near to the brokenhearted, and you rescue those who are crushed in spirit [cf. Psl. 34:18 2]. We trust that all things are possible through you [cf. Philip. 4:13 3]. Help us realize that even when matters lie beyond our understanding, you still know the plans you have for us—plans to help us prosper and not come to harm; plans to give us hope for the future [cf. Jer. 29:11]. We cast our anxiety to you, lean not on our mortal understanding, and trust in you with all our heart [cf. Prov. 3:5]. For we have faith that in all things, you work for the good of all who love and honor you [cf. Rom. 8:28].
We are humble, Lord, and you are our glory; your very name is wondrous, triumphant, and holy. Surrounded by the great cloud of our newly martyred witnesses to you, we praise you along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and unto the ages and ages. Amen.
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