In honor of the Feast of the Theophany today and the synaxis of St. John the Forerunner (the Baptist) tomorrow, I offer the following.

It is inspired by reflecting on an interesting disparity in the Gospel accounts of the baptism of Christ (which we celebrate in the Theophany). In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the voice of the Father booms from the heavens, declaring Jesus his beloved Son. In the Gospel of John, however, no voice is mentioned. That is, no voice is mentioned other than John the Baptist, who responds to the Pharisees that he is neither the Prophet, nor the Christ, but, quoting Isaiah 40, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” In the Fourth Gospel, John is the voice of God. This curiosity was confirmed to me by a hymn for the feast of the finding of the head of St. John the Baptist (which is in the summer) that refers to him in just this way: as the voice of God. Thus, the following petitions are addressed to John, through whom the voice of God spoke, witnessing to the central confession of the Gospel: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

40 Petitions
To the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Answered prayer of the infertile,
O God-given gift, given to God!

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Born of your father’s silence,
Named by Gabriel before God’s face.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who prepared the way before the Lord,
Yourself an angel of his countenance.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who ate locusts and wild honey
For your daily bread.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who wore a camel’s garment
And carried us through the desert.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who cried out in the desert:
“In the desert prepare the way.”

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who went before the Lord,
A testament to our salvation.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who told your disciples, “Behold!
“The Lamb who takes away all sin!”

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who turns the hearts of fathers to their sons
By showing them the Son of the Father.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who declared yourself unworthy
Yet baptized in humility.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who untied the sandals in the water
Of him who walked upon the sea.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who in the living water of the Jordan
Washed the font of living water of our souls.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who saw the ancient serpent trampled
By the Son of Adam’s heel.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who baptized in the Jordan him
Who baptizes us with fire.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who saw the Spirit rest on him
Through whom the Spirit rests on us.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who with the spirit of Elijah
Beheld the Holy Spirit as a dove.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
To whom the Trinity was revealed
As you obeyed the Lord’s command.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Son of Aaron’s priesthood who
Anointed our Melchizedek.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Friend of the Bridegroom
And friend of God.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who stands and listens
And rejoices at the Bridegroom’s voice.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Whose joy was fulfilled
That we might enter our Lord’s joy.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who though of the earth
Spoke to us of heavenly things.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who saw and heard and testified
To those who heard but did not believe.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who received from God his witness
And witnessed to the Truth.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who believed in the Son of God
And for his faith witnessed the Life.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who when in doubt received the news
That his bold witness had been blessed.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Most blessed born of women,
Yet not least in the kingdom of God.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who while fasting sang a dirge,
Though the people did not weep.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who is our fast and preparation
For the eating and drinking of the Lord.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Exemplar of monastics
Yet minister to all.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who decreased so that the Word
Of God himself could increase.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Persecuted for righteousness sake,
To whom belongs heaven’s kingdom.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who having revered the King of Kings
Did not fear the tyrant’s malice.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who kept yourself chaste and pure
And rebuked the tyrant’s impurity.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Imprisoned for your Lord
That others might visit him in you.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who cried out and then was silenced
To fulfill the Lord’s righteousness.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Forerunner even into Hades
Preparing its captives for their freedom.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who in visiting the prisoners of death,
Visited your Lord in them.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Who stands at the Lord’s left hand
And warns of his winnowing fork.

Pray for us, O Voice of God,
Whose soul shines with heaven’s treasure,
Who forsook all things upon the earth.

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