A Cautionary Tale for All Us Solitary, Bookish Types

From The Prologue from Ohrid:

As a monk Nicetas was disobedient to his superior, left the monastery and closed himself in a cell. Because of his disobedience, God permitted great temptations to befall him. Once, when Nicetas was at prayer, the devil appeared to him under the guise of a radiant angel and said to him: “Do not pray anymore; rather read books and I will pray for you!” Nicetas obeyed and ceased to pray and began to read books. He only read the Old Testament. He was unable even to open the Book of the New Testament, for the power of the devil prevented him from doing so. With the help of the devil, Nicetas prophesied only crimes, thefts, arson and other evil deeds which are known to the devil and in which he [the devil] participates. Finally, the holy fathers of the Caves realized that Nicetas had succumbed to the temptation of the devil, and they began to pray to God for him. Nicetas returned to the monastery, realized the destruction which plagued him, and directed himself on the right path. After prolonged repentance and many tears, God forgave him and bestowed upon him the gift of miracle-working. He died in the year 1108 A.D.

Study and prayer must necessarily go together. And with that in mind, here are some important prayers for students:

Prayer of a Student

Christ my Lord, the Giver of light and wisdom, who opened the eyes of the blind man and transformed the fishermen into wise heralds and teachers of the gospel through the coming of the Holy Spirit, shine also in my mind the light of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Grant me discernment, understanding and wisdom in learning. Enable me to complete my assignments and to abound in every good work, for to Thee I give honor and glory. Amen.

Prayers Before Study

Most blessed Lord, send the grace of Thy Holy Spirit on me to strengthen me that I may learn well the subject I am about to study and by it become a better person for Thy glory, the comfort of my family and the benefit of Thy Church and our Nation. Amen

Christ, the true light, who enlightens and sanctifies every person coming into the world, let the light of Thy countenance shine upon me (us) that I (we) may see Thine unapproachable light; and guide my (our) steps in the way of Thy commandments, through the intercessions of Thy all-holy Mother and of all the Saints. Amen.

Prayer After Study

I thank Thee, Lord our God, that again on this occasion Thou hast opened my eyes to the light of Thy wisdom. Thou hast gladdened my heart with the knowledge of truth. I entreat Thee, Lord, help me always to do Thy will. Bless my soul and body, my words and deeds. Enable me to grow in grace, virtue and good habits, that Thy name might be glorified, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Before Studying the Bible

Master who loves us, shine Thy eternal light in our hearts that we may better know Thee. Help us to fully understand Thy gospel message. Instill in us respect for Thy holy commandments, that by overcoming our worldly desires we might life a spiritual life of thoughts and deeds which pleases Thee. We ask this of Thee, O Christ our god, for Thou art the light of our souls and bodies and Thee we glorify with Thine eternal Father and Thine all-holy good and life-giving Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Shine within my heart, loving Master, the pure light of Thy divine knowledge, and open the eyes of my mind that I may understand Thy teachings. Instill in me also reverence for Thy blessed commandments, so that having conquered sinful desires I may pursue a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to Thee. For Thou, Christ my God, art my light, and to Thee I give glory together with Thy Father and Thy Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.