The lines of the prayer I share today are attributed to either Protopresbyter Gregory Petrov or Metropolitan Tryphon, both part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. They both lived at the turn of the 20th century, although Tryphon preceded Petrov by a few years. Petrov died in a Siberian labor camp in 1940, during the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.

The following excerpt is part of a larger prayer and was published in the collection titled Earth Prayers. It is a prayer that expresses a deep and delighted thankfulness toward God, whose glory is reflected throughout creation.

May the words of the prayer lend you words that deepen the voiced and voiceless praise of your own mouth and heart.

green leaf frog on green leaf in macro photography

Glory to God for All Things

O Lord, how lovely it is to be your guest.
Breeze full of scents; mountains reaching to the skies;
Waters like a boundless mirror,
Reflecting the sun's golden rays and the scudding clouds
All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing depths of tenderness.
Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of your love.
Blessed are you, mother earth, in your floating loveliness,
Which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last forever
In the land where, amid beauty that grows not old,
rings out the cry: Alleluia!

What sort of praises can I give you?
I have never heard the song of the cherubim,
A joy reserved for the spirits above.
But I know the praises that nature sings to you.
In winter, I have beheld how silently in the moonlight
The whole earth offers you prayer,
Clad in its white mantle of snow,
Sparkling like diamonds.
I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in you,
How the song of the birds is a chorus of praise to you.
I have heard the mysterious mutterings of the forests about you,
And the winds singing your praise as they stir the waters.
I have understood how the choirs of stars proclaim your glory
As they move for ever in the depths of infinite space.

You have brought me into life as if into an enchanted paradise.
We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue,
Where in the 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 flavor and sweet-scented honey.
We can live very well on your earth.
It is a pleasure to be your guest.

Glory to you for the feast-day of life.
Glory to you for the perfume of lilies and roses.
Glory to you for each different taste of berry and fruit.
Glory to you for the sparkling silver of early morning dew.
Glory to you for the joy of dawn's awakening.
Glory to you for the new life each day brings.
Glory to you O God, from age to age.

Published in Earth Prayers, © HarperOne, 2009, edited by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, attributed to Gregory Petrov.

This is an excerpt of a longer prayer, which can be found in its entirety here.

Whose World is This?

The prayer reminds us that this world is God's. We are here at God's invitation and are not owners of the marvelous place we have been brought into through birth. It is God who sets the table of this earth for us. Everything we enjoy is made by God and comes to us through God's generosity. What we see, what we taste, what we hear, what we smell, what we touch—all this has been set in front of us by a God who created a world for all of earth's inhabitants to enjoy and participate in.

In a time of human egotism, it is important for us to remember our identity as guests. This enables our voices, hearts, and actions to give the praise that is due to the maker and owner of this "enchanted paradise."

Learning to Praise

The prayer leads into an honest and humble acknowledgement that although human praise is called for, it is inadequate. To a being accustomed to the praise of cherubim, our praise is certainly imperfect. God's glory is far, far greater than we can adequately acknowledge. Without even the example of the cherubim, where can we learn the language of praise?

river surrounded with trees during daytime

As the prayer indicates, such tutors are all around us. We are surrounded by those who give praise to the Creator: the moonlight, the birds, the stars, the winds, the water. Some of this praise is audible—such as the "mysterious mutterings of the forest" and the "melodious music of the streams." But it is not just the audible voice that is capable of praising God. Other parts of creation express their praise by the mere imprint of God's love upon them or by the beauty inherent in them through God's making. In this world, praise spills out of every crevasse, rises from every direction, and soaks into every corner of the earth. Even without a face-to-face encounter with those great masters of praise, the cherubim, we have fine teachers all around us.

Our task is to pay attention to these teachers, pay attention to the gift of this earth, and let our praise join the praise that echoes all around us. I hope that this prayer will help you join more fully in the praise of the Creator today.

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