Walking on Stormy Waters, Reaching for the Hand of Christ

Matthew 14:22-34

Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And  Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

 Archimandrite Sophrony  (d. 1993) well known in Orthodox circles for his own spiritual life and writings and disciple Sophronyof St. Silouan of Athos  (d. 1938) wrote in his book ON PRAYER a prayer incorporating the  Gospel lesson of Peter walking on water.    

O LORD JESUS CHRIST , our SAVIOR…Stretch forth Thy hand to us who are tossed about in this world as Thou didst to Peter sinking in the sea, and with Thy strength fortify us against the devil that doth contend with us. Feed us, with Thine ineffable wisdom governing all creation. Kindly refuge for the storm-tossed, the one true course, show us the way, and therein will we walk, for unto Thee have we delivered our souls. Bestow on our foolishness Thy spirit of true understanding. Bless our every work with the breath of Thy fear, that at all times guided and sustained by Thy Holy Spirit we may in all things work Thy holy and all-perfect will. Make us to be servants of Thy New Testament which is in Thy Blood, O Jesus our Savior. Grant that we may be servants of Thy holy mysteries. Of Thy great mercy accept us, that we may be worthy to offer unto Thee a spiritual sacrifice for our sins; and vouchsafe that without iniquity we may serve Thee all the days of our life, that we also may receive the reward of Thy faithful servants and wise workers in the dread day of Thy righteous judgment.”