"Thou hast brought me into life as into an enchanted paradise. We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue, where in the azure heights the birds are singing. We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest and the melodious music of the streams. We have tasted fruit of fine flavour and the sweet-scented honey. We can live very well on Thine earth. It is a pleasure to be Thy guest." ~from Akathist Hymn of Thanksgiving: Glory to God For All Things, Ikos 2
Amanda has recently written two amazing posts that have worked their way deeply into my soul and have made a profound impact upon my prayer life. I tend to be a melancholic spirit and slip quite easily into depressive episodes, but Amanda has shown me an effective antidote for my moodiness.
In her post, My Portion is the Lord, which was featured on Dr. Anthony Lilles contemplative blog, Beginning to Pray, Amanda reminds us to sing hopefully when all seems dark:
"I hope when my mind says I shouldn’t. I hope while the tears run down my cheeks. I hope when I cannot hold back the sobs of disappointment, grief and exhaustion. Even when I doubt, my souls sings “my portion is the Lord." I cling to this truth."
I encourage you to read it all and to remain hopeful. And on her own blog, Amanda shares a post that not only encourages the virtue of hope, but also the virtue of gratitude. In Singing Alleluia Through Our Tears, Amanda introduces her readers to a magnificent Orthodox prayer, an Akathist Hymn of Thanksgiving, written in 1934 by an Orthodox Metropolitan while he was held in a Russian prison camp. I am startled each time I consider a man held captive, enduring the horrors of a prison camp, who can conjure up a prayer to magnify the Lord with such glorious words of praise. I have since printed out the Akathist Hymn, Glory to God for All Things, and have been praying with it every day. I encourage you to pray with it yourself and see if you, too, aren't amazed by the beauty of this prayer and uplifted to give glory to God for all things, even in the darkest of times.
"Glory to Thee for the Feast Day of life
Glory to Thee for the perfume of lilies and roses
Glory to Thee for each different taste of berry and fruit
Glory to Thee for the sparkling silver of early morning dew
Glory to Thee for the joy of dawn's awakening
Glory to Thee for the new life each day brings
Glory to Thee, O God, from age to age"
~from Akathist Hymn of Thanksgiving: Glory to God For All Things, Ikos 2