St. Innocent of Alaska Monastery
9452 Hazelton, Redford, Michigan
O Heavenly King

By Sister Ioanna
St. Innocent Monastic Community, Redford, Michigan
After the Lord's Prayer, one of the most frequently said/chanted/sung hymns/prayers in the Orthodox Church is “O Heavenly King,” a prayer to the Holy Spirit. This hymn is appointed to be sung in several places for the Divine Services of the Great Feast of Pentecost, a several-day feast celebrating the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The first day of the feast is Trinity Sunday, because with the descent of the Holy Spirit, all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity reveal themselves, for the salvation of the world. The second day of the feast is Holy Spirit Day. For the Orthodox Faith, the revelation and descent of the Holy Spirit and the revelation of the Unity of the Holy Trinity are two aspects of the same reality. May this prayer/meditation on each of the 10 phrases of this magnificent hymn be a source of blessing for you, to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit not just on Pentecost, but every day of the year.


1. O heavenly King – 2. The Comforter – 3. The Spirit of Truth –  4. Who art everywhere –  5.And fillest all things –  6. Treasury of blessings – 7. And Giver of Life – 8. Come and abide in us – 9. And cleanse us from every impurity – 10. And save our souls, O Good One.

1. "O Heavenly King
O gracious Holy Spirit
Who proceeds from the Father,
Come from Your dwelling-place in heaven
And fill our wretched earth
With Your Holy Presence,
For without You we have no hope
Of transfiguring the darkness
Of our souls and our lives.
We make the vanities of this fleeting world

Our king!
Teach us to be the servants
Of God's Kingdom,
Rather that the slaves
Of the kingdom of greed, lust, violence,
Of momentary, but empty-pleasures —
The earth-bound kingdom
Of death and darkness.
Do transform our darkness
By the beautiful light
Of Your heavenly Kingdom!

2. "The Comforter
Fortify us with Your Power
And help us to see
How puny and insignificant
Is what we think is strength.
In our blindness we imagine
That we can find power
In our shadowy existence,
And attribute power to those
Who are most bereft of true strength.
Do empower us with the strength
Of Your Holiness and Wisdom!
When You are the source of our strength,
We are empowered to move mountains —
The mountains of evil
And darkness and corruption.
When You are the source of our strength,
We are empowered to strip away
The lies and deceit of the worldly kingdom
And see Your Beauty and Your Creative Power
In the daily moment.
When You are the source of our strength,
We are empowered to experience
The only true comfort —
That of standing in Your Presence,
Filled with Your Presence,
Empowered by that vision
Of joy and beauty and love
Which only Your Presence can give.

3. "The Spirit of Truth
O the vanity of our world
That seeks to brainwash us
With its deceit and lies
That reverse all true values and realities:
Good and evil, life and death,
Beautiful and ugly, darkness and light —
All are reversed by
The Master of deceit and darkness,
Who even masquerades as
The prince of light.
But You, blessed divine Spirit
Are the Spirit of Truth —
The source of Truth
In Whom no lies nor darkness can exist,
For darkness vanishes
In the Presence of Light Itself.
When Your Holy Light
Illumines our hearts and our lives,
We shall see ourselves as we really are —
See how petty and puny we are,
Grasping after shadows and illusions.
Do illumine our hearts
With the Light of Your Truth,
And drive out all darkness,
So that we may have true wisdom
To see things as they truly are —
To see You and Your Kingdom
As true Reality,
And disregard all the lies of what
The master of deceit and darkness
Wishes us to believe are true.

4. "Who art everywhere
O Holy Spirit
We thank You
That You are everywhere
And that You love us so much
That You fill Your whole creation
With Your Holy Presence.
We fall down before You
And bow our heads to the ground before You,
That in Your great love for us
You do not abandon us
Even when we abandon You.
Do open our eyes,
As You fill our hearts with Your Truth,
To see that You really are everywhere —
To see Your Holy Presence
Even in the midst of our greatest darkness,
Even in the midst of our pain and agony,
Loneliness and self-pity,
When we feel abandoned by all
But our hurt and despair,
Orphaned and bereft of love.
Even then,
Especially then,
Do come to us
And restore our sight
So that we may see that there is no place
Where Your Light cannot reach,
No place where You are not

5. "And fillest all things
Such freedom, power and joy
You hold out to us in Your hand,
Offering Yourself
To fill us with Your own Spirit!
But if You already fill all things,
You have already filled us—
If only we could see truly,
If only we could see the Truth.
If Your Presence truly is everywhere
And fills all things,
There is nowhere we can go
To escape You,
Or escape Your Presence.
We can only lie to ourselves
And pretend that You are not —
That you see not,
That You know not.
Yet what misery we bring upon ourselves
When we choose to believe
The great deceiver—
The spirit of darkness,
Instead of Your Holy Spirit of Truth.
Why do we prefer to love our lies
Rather than to open our eyes
And rejoice in Your Presence
That fills all the universe,
And which is the source
Of all creative outpouring,
Of all inspiration?
Do fill our hearts and minds
Until they overflow
With Your love
And joy
And beauty!

6. "Treasury of blessings
Such delusions we pursue
With such energy and ambition!
Chasing phantoms in our blindness
We barely even comprehend what blessedness is,
And think that clothes, houses, cars,
Prestige and power, fame and "fun"
Are blessings worth spending our lives pursuing.
But the Heavenly Spirit
Is the treasure-house of true blessings---
The blessings that do not have to be traded in
For the latest fashion,
The newest model,
Or thrown on the junk heap.
The Spirit's blessings are not ephemeral
Such as fame and fortune,
But a treasure-chest of joys unsurpassed:
Of profound depths of peace,
Of being filled with love,
Of being empowered to serve God's creation
As His instrument of peace and love;
Of having eyes to see
The Divine Presence
And Activity dancing everywhere;
Of being consumed with joy,
The joy of each present moment—
The joy of Dancing in the Presence!
But we are the ones who have buried
This great golden treasure
Whereby we may become rich.
So we waste our lives
Searching everywhere
For great golden treasure,
When it is buried in our own hearts,
If we would but recognize
Its Presence.

7. "And Giver of Life
O heavenly Spirit —
Spirit of Life,
Giver of Life,
You Who wish to fill us with life,
Rather than see us slink along
The shark-infested shadows,
The alligator-infested alleys
Of darkness and death that we inhabit.
We long for life from our deepest being —
Our heart of hearts —
But are so confused,
Mistaking our shadows for realities.
We have not the slightest conception of life
And constantly kill true life —
In the name of life.
Our shadowy existence
Is empty and meaningless
Unless You fill our empty, cold darkness
With Your life.
When You fill us, we are truly alive!
But we close up our hearts,
Stop up our ears, cover up our eyes:
We know only death.
You offer us Your Life
And we turn our backs
And choose death.
True Life is to know You;
True Life is to be filled with You;
Eternal Life is to know You
And dwell every moment in Your Presence!
True and eternal Life
Is to forever Dance in Your Presence
Without ceasing!

8. "Come and abide in us
Herein is the secret of all life,
The secret of all our heart's desire,
Of all our deepest longings —
Fulfilled when You live in us,
When You take up Your throne in our hearts.
How can You Who fill the heavens
And fill all Your magnificent creation,
Who is so awesome in all Your fearsome power
Dwell in us, so puny and insignificant?
Is this not the greatest mystery of all creation,
That You Who spread out the heavens like a tent,
Pitch Your tent in our hearts —
The secret innermost center of our being?
Is this not the greatest of all paradoxes,
So incomprehensible?
We search everywhere,
In every corner of the earth and outer space,
When the answer to all our strivings
Is already within the inner space.
Divine Spirit, please do come,
And keep on knocking on the door of our hearts
Till we can no longer resist You!
Yea, don't just knock gently,
But hammer away noisily,
Until we finally hear You
And open ourselves up to You.
Yet You come not in the thunder and earthquake,
Not in the noise of the spectacle;
You come upon us quietly, smoothly,
Like a gentle summer breeze —
So in the tumult of our noisy lives
We never notice that all we desperately search for
Is already at hand.
Heavenly King, please do come
And make Your home in us,
For without You we are lost!

9. "And cleanse us from every impurity
Is this not the agony of our lives —
That the pollution of our empty, squalid,
Self-centered existence,
Devoid of joy or bliss,
Rushes in on us like a tidal wave
To sweep us away
In the deluge of despondency?

By ourselves we are powerless
To subdue the stifling storm within us,
Trapped in the tumultuous torrent
Of our passions:
Only You can cleanse us from our pollution.
We turn to You;
We rely on You
To make our hearts pure
So that we may truly see You.
O how our hearts long for You, O Lord!
But how can we see You
When our hollow hearts are so filled
With abominations and impurities
Instead of being filled
By Your Holy Presence,
By Your Holy Spirit
In Whose Presence
All impurity vanishes?
Do come, O heavenly King,
And take a live coal from Your heavenly altar
And purify our mouths, our hearts, our souls
From all the impurities that blind us,
That prevent us from seeing You,
That prevent us from being filled with you,
That prevent us from
Dancing in Your Presence!

10. And save our souls, O Good One."
Out of the agony and turmoil
Of our vacuous, monotonous lives,
Slip-sliding in and out of the pit
Of darksome despair and despondency
Of life lived without You,
We cry out from the depths of our hearts —
"Help us, Lord, lest we drown!" —
Drown in our own self-centeredness,
In our own self-pity, ignorance and blindness.
Save us from our self-deception
That we don't need to be saved.
Again and again, every moment of every day,
Teach us to see that we are
Eaten away by the leprosy of our arrogance,
Paralyzed by our pride,
Blinded by our lack of love and trust in You.
Teach us to cry out constantly till we are healed:
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on me a sinner."
Do daily recreate
Your good and holy Image in us,
For only You are Good,
Only You are Holy.
Do ever mold us to conform to Your Image;
Fill us with Your love and joy, peace and beauty;
Fill us with Your heavenly zeal
And longing to stand in Your glorious Presence!
Do come, O heavenly King, and save our souls,
So that we may be filled to overflowing
By Your awesome Presence,
So that our hearts may be set on fire
With the joy and blessedness of
Dancing in the Presence!

From: Dancing in the Presence, published by St. Innocent/Firebird Videos, Audios & Books