NOTE: RADICALLY REVISED!!
Fr. Steven Ritter has written a book, (That Your Joy May be Full: Learning from the Authentic Orthodox Theology of the Spirit) recently published by Regina Orthodox Press. So I ordered a copy – mainly because he is my confessor. When I opened it, I was blown away. This is tough reading, so I’m only reading a few pages a day.
Fr. Steven does not follow the Prayer of St. Symeon as an outline, but rather as a taking off point and touchstone for his book. For those who are not Orthodox Christians, you are missing out on one of the most beautiful prayers ever composed:
A Prayer of St. Symeon Metaphrastes
O only pure and sinless Lord, Who through the ineffable compassion of Thy love for men didst assume our whole nature through the pure and virgin blood of her who supernaturally conceived Thee by the coming of the Divine Spirit and by the will of the Eternal Father; O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, Who in Thy assumption of our nature didst suffer Thy life-giving and saving Passion – the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and Death – mortify all the deadly passions of my body.
Thou Who in Thy burial didst spoil the dominions of hell, bury with good thoughts my evil schemes and scatter the spirits of wickedness.
Thou Who by Thy life-giving Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen first Parent, raise me up who am sunk in sin and suggest to me ways of repentance.
Thou Who by Thy glorious Ascension didst deify our nature which Thou hadst assumed and didst honor it by Thy session at the right hand of the Father, make me worthy by partaking of Thy holy Mysteries of a place at Thy right hand among those who are saved.
Thou Who by the descent of the Spirit, the Paraclete, didst make Thy holy Disciples worthy vessels, make me also a recipient of His coming.
Thou Who art to come again to judge the World with justice, grant me also to meet Thee on the clouds, my Maker and Creator, with all Thy Saints, that I may unendingly glorify and praise Thee with Thy Eternal Father and Thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Fr. Steven says that this prayer embodies the Theology of the Orthodox Church throughout the ages.
St. Symeon asks that Christ will permit us to meet Him on the clouds. The word “permit” is of importance. Fr. Steven emphasizes that we cannot “buy” our way into Heaven. We can do nothing to “make ourselves worthy” of redemption. Only by throwing ourselves on the Mercy of the Lover of Mankind will we be able to meet Him on the clouds. If we are going to be able to throw ourselves on God’s Mercy, we will want to try to be closer to Him, to align our wills with His, to become more “like Christ.” Knowing Fr. Steven, I KNOW he did not mean we play “what would Jesus do.” We don’t need to ask this question. The answer is in the Holy Scripture and in the writings of the Holy Fathers. And the answer is in this prayer.
Despite our sinfulness, despite our impurity, despite our impurity, we implore Christ to accept our supplications. We can’t say, “I’ve given this many dollars to the Church or to charities.” We can’t say, “I’ve spent so many hours in prayer.” We can’t “buy” our way into Heaven. These things surely help – but they help us to become more the person we need to be. These things are not the means to the end goal, but are tools we use to change ourselves into a person who is closer to the ideal Image of God – that Image that we were created to be.
Fr. Steven points out there are “… two extremes – those who replace the old law with “new” ones, and those who feel unbound from any sense of discipline at all. Both are equally in error, and both fail to understand what God requires.” 
St. Symeon doesn’t speak of laws. He assumes the person saying this prayer will know that the laws are not where the focus needs to be. Rather, it is knowing and loving, Triune God – wanting to please Him, to be like Him (after all, we are made in His Image – we are living Icons of God) – that he is pointing us toward.
St. Symeon summarizes the entire salvation actions of God – that He, knowing we could not reach up to Him, reached down to us and became incarnate of the Virgin; that the conception of Christ was by the coming of the Divine Spirit and by the will of the Eternal Father – it was not the Father alone, nor the Holy Spirit alone, but both together. Fr. Steven calls the Incarnation THE life-giving event [emphasis added].
The Incarnation means that Paradise has been reopened. As the Orthodox Nativity Hymn – the first in the Vespers of the Nativity – says, “For the express image of the Father, the Imprint of His eternity, takes the form of a servant, and without undergoing change.” Where the Hymn says “without undergoing change,” Fr. Steven reminds us that God “remained God and became man through His love for mankind.” [emphasis in the original]. Fr. Steven remarks that “Our response to this seminal Divine action” [is, should be] “imploring mercy of Him Who is God and man.”
The book continues with exposition of each element of this prayer. Fr. Steven speaks most eloquently – much more eloquently than I can. In the words of Fr. Victor Potapov: “On each page of this important book, he ponders various aspects of Orthodox Christian spirituality in light of St. Symeon’s profoundly rich pre-Communion prayer. His book is a clarion call to the modern world to seek Divine knowledge and wisdom through the most profound kind of theology — the theology of prayer.”
I commend this book to you.
 Ritter, S.E. (2008) That Your Joy May Be Full, Regina Orthodox Press, Salisbury MA, p 15.
 Ibid, p 92 [NOTE: I’ve only gotten this far. But I wanted to begin to “flog” this book right now!]
 Very Rev. Fr. Victor Potapov Author and Editor, Producer and Director of Religion in Our Life, Voice of America – quoted from the Regina Orthodox Press website.