The great saint of Moscow and Kolomna, St Philaret was born in 1782 in the suburban town of Kolomna, east of Moscow, to a clergyman’s family. He studied at the local seminary, but his intellectual and literary talents were extraordinary, and in 1817 he was consecrated a bishop. By 1826 he was Metropolitan of Moscow, which was the chief hierarchical position in Russia during that period when there was no Patriarchate there.
St Philaret left a voluminous inheritance of what can be truly called patristic works. He also composed prayers, one of which has become a part of many people’s morning prayers. It is a prayer not for what we want, but for what God wills—that He would always be before us, working in us His Holy will.
O Lord, I do not know what to ask of Thee. Thou alone knowest what I need. Thou lovest me more than I know how to love myself. O Father, grant Thy servant what I myself do not know how to ask. I do not dare to ask a cross of Thee, nor consolation; I only stand before Thee with my heart open; Thou seest the needs that I myself do not know. Look, and work in me according to Thy mercy; smite and heal me, cast me down and raise me up! I am reverent and silent before Thy holy will and ways that are unfathomable to me. I offer myself as a sacrifice to Thee; teach me to pray. Do Thou Thyself pray in me. Amen.