Compiled by Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs
Penguin Books, 1959
Monday: God our Father
The Lord’s Prayer
The Glory of God
God the Creator
The Sovereignty of God
The Love, of God
God’s revelation of Himself to Man
“God be in my head”
Tuesday: Jesus Christ our Lord
The Light of the World
The Majesty of Lowliness
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
The humility of Christ
The Way of the Cross
The Imitation of Christ
The Second Coming
The Name above every other name
Wednesday I & II: The Way of Life
The Wisdom of Life
The True Riches
A Prayer attributed to King Solomon
Wednesday III: The Giver of Life
The Holy Spirit
The Indwelling Lord
Thursday I: The Church: The Family of God
The Church Universal
The Ministry of all Christian People
The Unity of the Church
The Communion of Saints
Thursday II: Nature: The Handiwork of God
The Glory of Creation
The Lessons of Nature
An Act of Praise
A General Thanksgiving
Friday I: Prayer and Forgiveness
Friday II: Sin and Redemption
Confession of Sin
The Cross of Christ
The Cross of Christ’s Disciples
Friday III: The Spread of the Kingdom
The Peace of the World
Thanksgiving for Missions
Parables of the Kingdom
Saturday: Worship and Service
Acts of Praise
Worship in God’s House
Worship in Truth
The days of our Pilgrimage
The Life Everlasting
Prayers Which May Be Used After Any of the Preceding
The Christian Year
Prayers for Various Occasions
The Queen and Commonwealth
Parliament: Civic Authority
Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen
Before or after Scripture Reading
Schools and Colleges
Writers, Speakers, Teachers
A Bidding Prayer
Before a Christmas Carol Service
Prayers of Famous Men and Women
Doxologies, and Other Endings
Appendix. On the Form and structure of Prayers
Index of Subjects (omitted for web
Index of Sources (omitted for web)
Daily Prayer is arranged by subjects. In schools it provides a supplement from which the teacher can draw; but we hope that it may be found equally suitable for private and family devotion.
The choice of prayers is wide. No book can omit the strong collects of the old Latin Sacramentaries, especially those nationalized in our own tongue. The Greek Liturgies supply material less familiar but hardly less valuable. But our chief source has been the prayers of our own countrymen, for our great tradition goes back to Bede and Alfred. Above all others, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century divines, from Erasmus and Cranmer to Andrewes and Jeremy Taylor, were notable writers of prayers. Nor was the inspiration confined to theologians. Statesmen and courtiers wrote prayers as they wrote verse. Kings and queens no less; the boy king Edward VI; Mary of England, at the age of eleven; Mary of Scots, as her final testament; the unhappy Lady Jane Grey, not a crowned queen, but set up as claimant to the Crown; and most of all Elizabeth, at the various crises of her reign. Even a rough sailor like Drake, though he composed no formal prayer, went very near it. The standard varied then as now; but it is a rich mine to dig in.
With the eighteenth century the habit of writing prayers almost lapsed. Samuel Johnson and Bishop Wilson were among the few who preserved it; even the Wesleys wrote hymns by the thousand, but not prayers. Religious men either accepted the written prayers which they had inherited, or, if they had the creative impulse, employed it extempore. This does not necessarily mean that the latter disparaged written prayers. With the Wesleys this would be unthinkable; and even that stout nonconformist Isaac Watts, the champion of extempore prayer, pointed out its limitations. “We must avoid”, he wrote, “these two extremes :I. a confining ourselves entirely to precomposed forms of prayer; II. an entire dependence on sudden emotions and suggestions of thought.”
The revivals of the nineteenth century brought a new stream of written prayers; and today it flows more freely than ever. The Free Churches have lost their old suspicion of the written form, as the Church of England has learnt the value of free prayer. The principle of Isaac Watts is now generally accepted. It is indeed nothing novel: for it is as old and catholic as Christendom.
All modern editors adapt or abbreviate our English prayers, notably the Elizabethan. Adaptation is not a new thing, for the Elizabethans themselves made free use of Augustine and Aquinas, and did not scruple to alter Erasmus. Abbreviation is necessary; for our forefathers were somewhat long-winded, and we have learned to appreciate afresh the simple dignity of the old Latin Collect. Some abbreviated forms have become traditional, being copied from book to book. As far as possible we have corrected these by reference to the originals. There are some prayers, common to all collections, which it is almost impossible to trace; and the authorship itself may be traditional.
Where no prayers existed to cover the necessary subjects, we have ventured to supply them. For these we claim no other originality than the attempt to employ for prayer not only the phrases of the Bible, the greatest of all store-houses, but also those of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century divines whose devotional writings rank among the treasures of English Christianity.
The book ends with the historic prayers of famous men and women, chiefly of our own race. It has become evident that our national history might almost be written in terms of prayer.
Thanks are due to the following authors, copyright owners, and publishers for their permission to use their prayers as follows:
The Cambridge University Press; The Rev. A. Campbell-Fraser and Messrs Basil Blackwell & Mott Ltd, Oxford (from Book of Prayers); The Rev. J. C. Chute; Mr J. N. Comper; Mr H. C. Cooksey; The Rev. C. Dunlop; The Independent Press Ltd (from School Worship); King’s College, Cambridge; Messrs Longmans Green & Co. Ltd (from The Cambridge Bede Book); Messrs A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd, publishers of Memorials upon Several Occasions (quoted as “Memorials”); Dr W. E. Orchard; Mr Lloyd Osbourne; Mr Alec Paterson; Mrs Armitage Robinson; Mrs D. B. Rossetti; The Headmaster, Rydal School; The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; Archbishop William Temple.
Extracts from the Prayer Book as proposed in 1928 have been reprinted in this publication by permission of the Prayer Book Copyright Committee of the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.
The debt which the Compilers owe to Dean Vaughan’s Family Prayers is evident on many pages. This is a typically English book of devotion which ought not to be forgotten. The prayers in it are too long for modern use, but their manner and matter are of high worth, and extraction is not difficult.
The Venerable Bede’s prayer “Open our hearts”, Jeremy Taylor’s “Grant, O Lord, that in thy wounds”, and Bishop Ken’s “To God the Father” can be found in the Rev. Canon F. B. Macnutt’s War Primer, published by the S.P.C.K.
Thanks are also due to the Rev. Dr W. Robinson, Principal of Overdale College, Birmingham, and to the Rev. Canon F. E. Hutchinson, of Worcester Cathedral, for valuable suggestions.
If the Compilers have unwittingly transgressed any copyright, they make sincere apologies and will acknowledge any such oversight in future editions.
GOD OUR FATHER
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.
THE GLORY OF GOD
Te Deum Laudamus: Part 1
We praise thee, O God:
We acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee the Father everlasting.
To thee all angels cry aloud: the Heavens and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim, and Seraphim: continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full: of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles: praise thee;
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets: praise thee;
The noble army of Martyrs: praise thee;
The holy Church throughout all the world: doth acknowledge thee;
The Father: of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true: and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost: the Comforter.
Probably by Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (c. 410)
Preface and Sanctus
It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.
Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts; heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord most High. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer: from the ancient liturgies
Blessed be thou, Lord God, our Father, for ever and ever.
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness
and the might and the glory
and the victory and the majesty;
for all that is in the heaven
and in the earth is thine;
thine is the kingdom,
and thou art exalted as head over all.
King David (1 Chronicles 29)
Before the glorious throne of thy majesty, O Lord, and the awful judgement-seat of thy burning love, we thy people do kneel with cherubim and seraphim and archangels, worshipping, confessing, and praising thee, Lord of all, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for ever.
Chaldean Liturgy (shortened)
Worthy of praise from every mouth,
of confession from every tongue,
of worship from every creature,
is thy glorious Name, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost :
who didst create the world in thy grace
and by thy compassion didst save the world.
To thy majesty, O God, ten thousand times ten thousand bow down and adore,
Singing and praising without ceasing, and saying
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of thy praises;
Hosanna in the highest.
Nestorian Liturgy (shortened)
Lord God Almighty and All-merciful, whom angels and archangels worship, and all the host of heaven: In thy loving-kindness accept the praises of thy servants, who are not worthy to praise thee, but for thy mercy’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOD THE CREATOR
O God, who hast created man to be immortal, and madest him to be an image of thine own eternity: Lift our eyes, we pray thee, above earthly things, that we may claim, and by thy grace attain, our heavenly inheritance; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God of time and eternity,
who makest us creatures of time
that, when time is over,
we may attain thy blessed eternity;
With time, thy gift,
give us also wisdom to redeem the time,
lest our day of grace be lost;
for our Lord Jesus’ sake.
Christina Rossetti (1830–94)
O Almighty God, without beginning and without end, the Lord of thine own works: We praise and bless thee that thou gavest a beginning to time, and to the world in time, and to mankind in the world; and beseech thee so to dispose all men and all things that they may be gathered up in thee and thine endless heaven; through him who is the first and the last, thine everlasting Word, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Confidence in God
O God, who hast made us, and through countless generations hast brought us on our way: Give us faith to rest in thy sure keeping, confident that thou wilt sustain us to the end; to the glory of thy Name.
The image of God
O God our Father, who hast created us in thine own image, with a mind to understand thy works, a heart to love thee, and a will to serve thee: Increase in us that knowledge, love, obedience, that we may grow daily in thy likeness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The thirst for God
O God, thou art my God;
Early will I seek thee.
My soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh also longeth after thee,
in a barren and dry land,
where no water is.
O God, the living God, who hast put thine own eternity in our hearts, and hast made us to hunger and thirst after thee: Satisfy, we pray thee, the instincts which thou hast implanted in us, that we may find thee in life, and life in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who hast called us to open our hand, and thou wouldest fill it, and we would not: Open thou not only our hand, but our heart also; that we may know nothing but thee, count all things loss in comparison of thee, and endeavour to be made like unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From Jeremy Taylor (1613–67)
Dispel, O Lord, O Father of Lights, all clouds of doubt and the darkness about our earthly course; that in thy light we may see light, and come both to know thee as we are known, and to love as we are loved; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Occasional Prayers Reconsidered (S.P.C.K.)
O God, who art from everlasting to everlasting, with whom a thousand years are but as yesterday: Hallow the life which thou hast given to us; that, living with thee in this passing world, we may live with thee, and in thee, to all eternity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who hast created us to be immortal, and hast made us an image of thine own eternity: Lift our eyes, we pray thee, above the narrow horizons of this present world, that we may behold the things eternal in the heavens, wherein is laid up for us an inheritance that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The things eternal
Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leonine, trans. William Bright
The presence of God
O God that art always a Father at hand and not a Lord far off, that changest not but art the same yesterday, today, and for ever: Govern thou the thoughts of our mind, the words of our mouth, the works of our fingers, and the desire of our hearts, until thy love and thy likeness be perfected in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The single heart
O God, whom the pure in heart alone can see: Give us such singleness of eye and of heart that we may truly seek thee; and seeking, find thee; and finding, grow in the knowledge of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Eternal God, who hast made all things subject to man, and man for thy glory, sanctify our souls and bodies, our thoughts and our intentions, our words and actions, that whatsoever we shall think or speak or do, may be by us designed for the glory of thy name. Let no pride or self-seeking, no covetousness or revenge, no mean ambitions or low imaginations, desecrate what thou hast hallowed: but let our body be the servant of our spirit, and both body and spirit servants of Jesus: that doing all things for thy glory here, we may be partakers of thy glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jeremy Taylor (1613–67)
God and our good
Thou, O Lord, art our king and our God; thou only hast the wisdom to know what is best for us, the love to bestow it, the power to effect it, and the eternity to continue it: Give us but grace to believe, to seek, to receive, and to apply these gifts by thy free bounty in thy free service unto our life’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
George Wither, 1588–1667 (adapted)
The Beginning and the End
O Lord, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, who wast with us in our birth, be with us through our life; thou who art with us through our life, be with us at our death; and because thy mercy will not leave us then, grant that we die not, but rise to the life everlasting with thee and in thee; who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, one God, world without end.
Cambridge Bede Book
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
The purpose of God
Almighty God, whose sovereign purpose none can make void: Give us faith to stand calm and undismayed amid the tumults of the world, knowing that thy kingdom shall come and thy will be done, to the eternal glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The individual purpose
Lord God Almighty, whose eternal counsel ordereth all things, who hast ordained thy gracious purposes in the life of every man: Teach us to understand, and with glad heart to obey, thy will concerning us; knowing that without thee there can be at the last no success, and with thee no failure; for thy Name’s sake.
Fellow workers with God
O GOD, who workest all things, who hast called us to be fellow workers with thee, and dost assign to every man his separate task: Teach us, in our several callings, what thou wouldst have us do, and make us faithful to do it, in thy Name and in thy strength; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
The changelessness of God
Eternal God, who changest not, as men change; who, though we be faithless, yet abidest faithful: Increase both our faith in the unchanging love of thy purpose, and our stedfastness in the doing of thy will; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Almighty and merciful God, who holdest our souls in life, and wilt not suffer our feet to slip: Give us the faith which can never be moved, that even in the darkest hour we may still hold fast by thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Eternal God, who tarriest oft beyond the time we hope for, but not beyond the time appointed by thee; from whom cometh in due season the truth that cannot lie, the counsel that cannot fail: Make us faithful to stand upon our watchtower, and to wait for what thou wilt say to us; that by our faith we may live, and at the last behold thy righteousness prevail; to the glory of thy Name.
Lord, who alone art God, the gracious and merciful; who commandest them that love thy Name to cast away all fear and care, and to lay their burden upon thee: Receive us under thy protection, and give us now and evermore that everlasting rest, which thou hast promised to them that obey thy word; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Primer of 1555
Guide us, O Lord, in all the changes and varieties of the world, that we may have evenness and tranquillity of spirit: that we may not murmur in adversity nor in prosperity wax proud, but in serene faith resign our souls to thy divinest will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After Jeremy Taylor
Lord, who dost lead us by ways we know not, through joy and sorrow, through victory and defeat, beyond our understanding: Give us faith to see thy guiding hand in all things; that being neither lifted up by seeming success, nor cast down by seeming failure, we may press forward where thou leadest, to the glory of thy Name.
A school for learning
Our Father in heaven, who hast ordained our life on earth to be a school of learning for the larger life beyond: Give us grace to obey, and to rejoice in, thy fatherly discipline; that when our earthly course is ended, we may be meet to enter into thy heavenly kingdom; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
The righteous judge
God, who art righteous, and judgest all men without respect of persons: Keep us, we beseech thee, true of heart; that in the day of thy judgement we may be able to stand in the light of thy countenance; for thy mercy’s sake.
Be not far from us, O God; and in thy mercy guide our footsteps, that we wander not far from thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
THE LOVE OF GOD
Almighty God, who thyself art love: Fill us with the spirit of thy holy love; that our hearts being kindled by thee, we may for ever and ever love thee, and each other in thee, and all men for thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Offices and Orisons
Almighty Father, whose mercy is as thy majesty: Fill us with reverence, as we come before thee, for thine exceeding glory: and with love, for thine exceeding love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God, who art love, wherein whoso dwelleth, dwelleth in thee: Teach us to love thee above all things, who hast first loved us; and first loving thee, to love all thy children, for whom Christ died and whom he calleth his brethren; for his Name’s sake.
Based on 1 John 4
The children of God
O God, who hast shown us by thy beloved Son Jesus Christ that thou art the Father of us all: Give us grace to love and obey thee as sons, to run to thee in our needs and difficulties, to open to thee all our wants, to seek thy support in all our temptations, to confess to thee all our sins, and to thank thee for all thine unspeakable goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, the God of all goodness and grace, who art worthy of a greater love than we can either give or understand: Fill our hearts, we beseech thee, with such love towards thee that nothing may seem too hard for us to do or to suffer in obedience to thy will; that so we may become daily more like thee, and dwell more and more in the light of thy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Farnham Hostel (adapted)
Teach us, O Lord, to fear thee without being afraid; to fear thee in love that we may love thee without fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After Christina Rossetti
O God, who art love, giving all things freely, and bearing with longsuffering the ingratitude of thy children: Draw us near to thee, not through fear of thy displeasure, nor through hope of reward, but through the love wherewith thou hast loved us; in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast bidden us call thee Father, lest we be dazzled by thy majesty: Cease not to be patient with us as sons; and, though we provoke thee daily, to hold us fast in the arms of thy pardon; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Sovereign Lord, thou lover of men’s lives, whose incorruptible Spirit is in all things: We bring to thee ourselves, our sins and failures, as to a merciful Father; who understandest all, and forgivest all; for thy mercy’s sake.
GOD’S REVELATION OF HIMSELF TO MAN
O God, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us, what things thou didst in their days, and in the time of old. Continue, we pray thee, thy loving-kindness to us their children; that being faithful to thy word and obedient to thy will, we may, with all who have passed before us, laud and magnify thy holy Name.
O God, who art the portion of our inheritance,
Be thou unto us all in all,
Our light in darkness,
Our strength in weakness,
Our only desire, and our sure reward;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
The call of Abraham
O Lord God, who hast called thy servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown: Give us faith to go out with a good courage, not knowing whither we go, but only that thy hand is leading us, and thy love supporting us; to the glory of thy Name.
Abraham. The sacrifice of Isaac
O God, who dost ask of thy servants but this one thing, that they should obey thy commandments, as they are able to understand them; and dost look with mercy upon our dull understanding of thy will: Open our eyes to the wider vision of thy gracious purposes; and give us ever obedient hearts to do the things which we know, that by our obedience we may advance to fuller knowledge; to the glory of thy Name.
O God, who art enthroned on high, yet hast thy dwelling place among the sons of men: Grant that in all the perplexities of life we may see the ladder which stretches from heaven to earth, and the angels of thy presence ascending and descending on it; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, whose counsels fail not, who never forsakest them that trust in thee, turning their shame into glory, and their house of bondage into a kingdom: Give us the faith, whatever befall, to cleave unto thee, who wilt not let us go, our hope and salvation, world without end.
O God, who art in every place, and every place where thou art is holy ground: Fill our hearts with awe and wonder as we pass along the common ways of life; that in them we may behold thee, and beholding bow down before thy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord of all might, who art the only giver of victory, in whom alone men are made strong: Give us faith and courage in all things to walk according to thy law, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, confident that thou art for ever with us; to the glory of thy holy Name.
Speak, Lord, and make thy children hear thy still small voice, that we may obey it without doubtfulness and without fear; and open our eyes, that we may see the glory of thy Spirit round about us, to strengthen our hands and hearts in the way of thy commandments; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray not, O Lord our God, that thou shouldest reveal thyself by outward signs of mighty works, but in the quiet solitude of our inmost heart; not by the thunder and the lightning, but by the still small voice; and when thou speakest, give, we beseech thee, to thy servants the hearing ear, and a heart to obey; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, whom the world seeth not and knoweth not, who revealest thyself to them that humbly seek thee: Open our eyes, that we may see the invisible, and in the midst of our perplexities behold the mountains about us filled with horses and chariots of fire; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord God Almighty, who hast given to us the vision of thy holiness, and therewith of our unworthiness to be thy witnesses: Touch, we pray thee, our lips with thy cleansing fire; that so cleansed and hallowed, we may go forth amongst men as those whom thou hast sent; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Almighty Father, before whom we are but as children, without knowledge and without strength: Endue us with thy wisdom, thy power; that we may go forward in thy name, confident that thou hast called us, and that thou, wilt uphold; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, who hast called us to labour in thy vineyard: Keep us faithful in thy service, whether the harvest be plentiful, or the soil seem barren and our labour unprofitable; knowing that the harvest is thine, and thou wilt reap in thine own appointed time; to the glory of thy holy Name.
Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose Spirit we live and move and have our being: Help us never to confess an unknown God, nor bow down to a false; but to worship and obey thee whom we have heard and seen and known in the beauty of the same thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
O God, who art nigh to all them
that call upon thee in truth;
who art thyself the Truth,
whom to know is perfect knowledge:
Instruct us with thy divine wisdom,
and teach us thy law;
that we may know the truth and walk in it;
through him in whom the truth was made manifest,
even Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
From Christian Prayers, 1578 (after St Augustine)
O Lord God,
perfect in us that which is lacking of thy gifts;
of faith, to increase it
of hope, to stablish
it of love, to kindle it
and make us to fear but one thing only,
the fearing aught more than thee,
our Father, our Saviour, our Lord, for ever and ever.
After Bishop Andrewes (1555–1626)
O Lord my God,
Rescue me from myself, and give me to thee;
take away from me everything which draws me from thee; give me all those things which lead me to thee;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
From the Latin of Precationes Piae, 1564
O Thou who art the light of the minds that know thee,
the life of the souls that love thee:
and the strength of the wills that serve thee:
Help us so to know thee that we may truly love thee,
so to love thee that we may fully serve thee,
whom to serve is perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After St Augustine (353–430), Bishop of Hippo
Thyself, O my God, thyself for thine own sake, above all things I love.
Thyself as my last end I long for.
Make me therefore in this life present alway
to love thee before all things,
to seek thee in all things,
and at the last in the life to come
to find and to keep thee for ever.
Thomas Bradwardine, Archbishop of Canterbury for five weeks
God, be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.
Sarum Primer, 1558
JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD
The Light of the World
O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the very bright Sun of the world, ever rising, never going down: Shine, we beseech thee, upon our spirit, that the night of sin and error being driven away by thy inward light, we may walk without stumbling, as in the day. Grant this, O Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost for evermore.
Primer of 1559; from Erasmus
The Majesty of lowliness
O Lord Jesus Christ, in all the fullness of thy power most gentle, in thine exceeding greatness most humble: Bestow thy mind and spirit upon us, who have nothing whereof to boast; that clothed in true humility, we may be exalted to true greatness. Grant this, O Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Spirit, one God for evermore.
Adapted from the Primer of 1559, after Ludovicus Vives
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said that thou art the way, the truth, and the life: Suffer us not at any time to stray from thee, who art the way; nor to distrust thy promises, who art the truth; nor to rest in any other thing than thee, who art the life; beyond which there is nothing to be desired, neither in heaven, nor in earth; for thy Name’s sake.
Christian Prayers, 1578; from Erasmus
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hast sent thy Son to take upon him our nature, and hast made him to become the Son of man, that we might become the sons of God: Grant that we, being conformed to his humility and sufferings, may be partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
After Jeremy Taylor
O Christ, Son of the living God,
through whom the invisible and most high
became visible to mortal men:
Grant that by the grace and power of thine immortal Spirit
we may live on earth
as those whose true house is in heaven;
where thou livest and reignest with the Father and the same Spirit,
one God, world without end.
To thee, O Christ, O Word of the Father, we offer up our lowly praises and unfeigned hearty thanks: Who for love of our fallen race didst most wonderfully and humbly choose to be made man, as never to be unmade more, and to take our nature, as never more to lay it off; so that we might be born again by thy Spirit and restored in the image of God; to whom, one blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, and dominion, now and for ever.
Almighty and eternal God, who didst send thine only-begotten Son that our eyes might see, our ears hear, and our hands handle the Word of life, the everlasting Christ: That which the Scriptures openly declare, grant us most joyfully to believe; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Based on 1 John 1
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast deigned to be made like unto men; the sharer of our sorrows, the companion of our journeys, the light of our ignorance, the remedy of our infirmity: So fill us with thy Spirit, and endue us with thy grace, that as thou has been made like unto us, we may grow more like unto thee; for thy mercy’s sake.
Freely adapted from Jeremy Taylor
O God our Father, who didst ever receive the upright in heart to dwell with thee, as men with God; and of thy great love hast deigned, in Jesus Christ thy Son, to dwell as man with men: Make us worthy, we beseech thee, both to become thy guests, and to receive thee as ours; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Based on Ps. 15 and John 1:14
Lord Jesus, Child of Bethlehem, for love of men made man: Create in us love so pure and perfect that whatsoever our heart loveth may be after thy will, in thy Name and for thy sake.
O Thou who art the light of the world, and the life of men: Be thou only our light, thou only our life; and so shine within us and through us that men may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven; for thy Name’s sake.
The Birth in the stable
Lord God Almighty, Father of every family, against whom no door can be shut: Enter the homes of our land, we beseech thee, with the angel of thy presence, to hallow them in pureness and beauty of love; and by thy dear Son, born in a stable, move our hearts to hear the cry of the homeless, and to convert all sordid and bitter dwellings into households of thine; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The visit of the Magi (Epiphany)
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast made known the Incarnation of thy dear Son by the testimony of a glorious star, which when the wise men beheld, they adored thy majesty with gifts: Grant that the bright shining of thy truth may lead us always to lay the gifts of our obedience and love at thy feet; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, who gavest to wise men of old a glorious star to lead them to Christ: Grant that we to whom thou hast given a yet more glorious sign, even his holy Cross, may follow and be led by it the whole way to our salvation and thy heaven; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Among the doctors
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst sit lowly in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions: Give unto thy servants that humility of heart, and willingness to learn, without which no man can find wisdom; to the glory of thy holy Name.
O God, whose holy and beloved Son chose to be born as we are born, to live as we live, to suffer as we suffer, and to be tempted in all points like as we are: Strengthen us both by his example and by his succour, that in the multitude of our temptations we may be found like him, without sin; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost world without end.
O Lord God, who knowest that we have many temptations to conquer, many evils to shun, many difficulties to overcome, and as many opportunities of good: So order our goings that we may observe in all things the perfect rule of Christ, and set ourselves to serve thee first, others next, and ourselves last; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE MINISTRY OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS DISCIPLES
Christ the Healer
Almighty God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people: Continue, we beseech thee, that his gracious work among us [especially in ...]; cheer, heal, and sanctify the sick; to doctors and nurses grant skill, sympathy, and patience; and send down thy blessing on all who labour to prevent suffering, and to forward thy purposes of love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer Book of 1928 (modified)
The mission of the disciples
O LORD Jesus Christ, who didst send forth thy first disciples to proclaim thy kingdom, and to teach thy commandments: Give to us, thy disciples this day, such an understanding of the word, that we may teach to others what we have been taught of thee; to the glory of thy Name, and the spread of thy Kingdom.
Christ our example
O God, who gavest thy beloved Son, the holy one and just, the meek and lowly in heart, to be the pattern of our living: Help us, who must be measured by his measure and compared with his beauty, both to long and to strive after his likeness, that all men may know that we have been with Jesus; to the glory of thy Name.
The mind of Christ
Grant, O Lord, that this mind may be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus, who left the heaven of thy holiness and of thy glory that he might take upon him our sins and our sorrows, and seek and save that which was lost. Stir the hearts of thy people that they may multiply their labours in the cause of charity and love, that they may minister to the wants of others, and by their good works lead many to glorify our Father who is in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dean Vaughan (1816–97)
O Lord God, give us grace to set a good example to all amongst whom we live, to be just and true in all our dealings, to be strict and conscientious in the discharge of every duty, pure and temperate in all enjoyment, kind and charitable and courteous toward all men; that so the mind of Jesus Christ may be formed in us, and all men take knowledge of us that we are his disciples; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
The faith of Christ
O Lord Jesus Christ, who in the days of thy flesh didst reveal by thine own faith the sure victory of faith: Grant us by thy Holy Spirit the same faith, steadfast and unconquerable, that we also may do the works of God, with whom all things are possible; to the glory of his holy Name.
The serene faith of Christ
Set before our minds and hearts, O heavenly Father, the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when he was upon earth, found his refreshment in doing the will of him that sent him, and in finishing his work. When many are coming and going, and there is little leisure, give us grace to remember him who knew neither impatience of spirit nor confusion of work, but in the midst of all his labours held communion with thee, and even upon earth was still in heaven; where now he reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit world without end.
The love of Christ
O Lord Christ, who by thy love for mankind hast taught us the power of love: Implant this love within us, that, loving thee with all our heart, we may love all men for thy sake; to the glory of thy Name.
The zeal of Christ
O Christ, the everlasting Son of the Father, the catholic King: Enthrone thy presence in our hearts, that the hatred of sin, the love of thy will, the light of truth and the joy of the Holy Ghost may be ours as thine, and thou rule in thine own Kingdom for ever and ever.
George Wither on Ps. 97 (adapted)
The compassion of Christ
O Lord Jesus Christ, who wast moved with compassion for all who had gone astray, with indignation for all who suffered wrong: Inflame our hearts with the burning fire of thy love, that with thee we may seek out the lost, with thee have mercy on the fallen, and with thee stand fast for truth and righteousness; both now and always.
“The gracious words”
O Lord our Saviour, full of grace and truth: Fill us thy servants with thine own divine compassion; that we may not only bear witness with thee to the truth, but, speaking the truth in love, may speak to the heart and conscience of men; to the glory of thy Name.
Jesus the Friend
O Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, friend of all men, who hast called us to be thy friends: Grant us so to follow thy example that we may show kindliness to all, and foster all the good within and about us, by the power of thine unselfish love; who livest and reignest, world without end.
H. C. Cooksey
THE HUMILITY OF CHRIST
Lord Jesus Christ, who hast taught us that the greatest of all is the servant of all: Cast out from us all false ambitions, and make us to reign by serving our brethren; for thy Name’s sake.
See also “Among the doctors” above.
Take away out of our hearts, O Lord God, all self-confidence and boasting, all high and vain thoughts, all desire to excuse ourselves for our sins or to compare ourselves proudly with others; and grant us rather to take as master and King him who chose to be crowned with thorns and to die in shame for others and for us all, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Jesus the Carpenter
Almighty God, who didst ordain that thy Son, Jesus Christ, should labour with his hands to supply his own needs, and the needs of others: Teach us we pray thee, that no labour is mean, and all labour is divine, to which thou dost call us; to the glory of thy holy Name.
Christ the Servant
O Son of God,
who by thy lowly service hast made manifest the royalty of service:
Teach us, O Lord,
that it is better to give than to receive,
better to minister than to be ministered unto;
after thine own example, who now livest
and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity,
world without end.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who wast not ashamed to call us brethren, and to be made man: Move us to desire not our own but thine, and to serve not ourselves but thee, that we may become the sons of God; for thy Name’s sake.
“Follow thou me”
The beginning of the fall of man was trust in himself. The beginning of the restoring of man was distrust in himself, and trust in God.
O Saviour Christ, who dost lead them to immortal blessedness, who commit themselves to thee: Grant that we, being weak, presume not to trust in ourselves, but may always have thee before our eyes, to follow thee, our guide; that thou, who only knowest the way, mayst lead us to our heavenly desires. To thee with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory for ever.
Primer, 1545 (adapted)
“As little children”
O Saviour, meek and lowly of heart, let not our pride refuse thy bidding, to become as little children, in joy and simplicity, in trustfulness one toward another, in lowliness of heart; and by this thine own glory, bring us unto ours; for thy majesty and thy mercy’s sake.
Cambridge Bede Book
The likeness of Christ
Grant, O God, that we be not conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of our mind, unto the likeness of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
O Lord Jesus Christ, that wouldest have all lights lit at thee, the only Light: Set up the lamps of our mortal life that they may shine out before men and before thee with the light of truth and faith, the light of purity, humility, and love, after thine own brightness; who livest in the glory of the eternal Trinity God for ever and ever.
The standard of Christ
Give us thy grace, O Lord, to see as thou seest, judge as thou judgest; that, following in thy footsteps, we may become like unto thee, who art exalted above all, for ever and ever.
For courage and sacrifice see “The Way of the Cross” above
O Almighty God, vouchsafe so to reign in our souls that Christ may have the sole dominion there, that we may sincerely embrace him with our whole hearts, honour him with all our faculties, confess him with our tongues, and glorify him by our works, together with thee, O Father, and the blessed Spirit, now and for ever.
George Wither, Psalms of David 10 1632
O eternal Son of God, who camest from the Father, the Fountain of light, to enlighten the darkness of the world: Shine thou upon this day, that in whatsoever we shall do or suffer we may be acceptable to thy Divine Majesty; for thy Name’s sake.
From Jeremy Taylor
Christ with us
Jesus, our Master, do thou meet us while we walk in the way and long to reach the heavenly country; so that, following thy light, we may keep the way of righteousness, and never wander away into the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Light art shining within us; for thy mercy’s sake.
Mozarabic (trans. Bright)
Christ in us
Lord, who hast warned us that without thee we can do nothing; and by thy holy Apostle hast taught us that in thy strength we can do all things: So take and possess us, that our weakness may be transformed by thy power; that we be no longer our own, but thine; that it be not we who live, but thou who livest in us; who now reignest with the Father and Holy Spirit, world without end.
Christ walking on the sea
O Saviour Christ, we beseech thee, when the wind is boisterous, and our faith weak, and we begin to sink even as we would fain come to thee on the water, stretch forth thy hand, O Lord, as of old to thy fearful disciple, and say to the sea of our difficulties, Peace be still; for thy holy Name’s sake.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS
O God, whose beloved Son once moved amongst men and they would not know him: Number us not, we entreat thee, amongst them to whom still he cometh and they receive him not; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
O Heavenly Father, who hast taught us in thy word that an honest name is a treasure most precious: Grant, if it be thy will, that we may preserve a good name in the sight of all men. Nevertheless, if for thy sake we are called to suffer reproach, make us valiant to abide still in thy commandments; through Jesus Christ, who also himself, when he walked on earth, was reviled and evil spoken of; who now reigneth with thee in glory, world without end.
Adapted from the Primer of 1559
Taking up the Cross
Almighty God, whose beloved Son, for our sake, willingly offered himself to endure the Cross, its agony and its shame: Remove from us all coldness and cowardice of heart, and give us courage to take up our cross and follow him; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
The discipline of pain
O Son of God, who, though a son, didst learn obedience through suffering: Give us thy grace gladly to bear whatever of suffering it may please our heavenly Father to ordain for us; if thereby we may grow in knowledge, and in obedience to his will; to the glory of his holy Name.
The Last Supper
We yield thee hearty thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for thine unutterable love in vouchsafing to redeem mankind by thine own death; and we beseech thee, suffer not thy blood to have been shed in vain for us; that we, growing up in thee by continual increase of heavenly strength, may become fit members of thy mystical body, which is the Church, and never swerve from that most holy covenant which thou madest with thy chosen disciples in thy last supper, by distributing the bread unto them, and by reaching them the cup; and through them with all those who through baptism are grafted unto thy company.
Christian Prayers, 1578; Erasmus, slightly altered
Gethsemane. “Thy will be done”
O Christ our Master and Lord, who in an agony, holy and terrible, didst choose the costliest following of the Father’s will: Set thy law plainly within our hearts, that we may be content fearlessly to do it; for thy sake, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.
Following afar of
Lord Jesus, who hast called us to follow thee, whose call we have answered, and striven to obey: Grant that our love grow not cold in thy service, lest we cease to follow; nor that we follow afar off, lest in the hour of trial we deny thee; for thy mercy’s sake.
The denial and repentance of Peter
O Lord Jesus Christ, look upon us with those eyes of thine, wherewith thou didst look upon Peter in the hall; that with Peter we may repent, and, by thy same love, be forgiven; for thine endless mercies’ sake.
Bishop Andrewes (adapted)
Behold the Man
O God, the Father of mankind, who didst suffer thine only Son to be set forth as a spectacle despised, derided, and scornfully arrayed, yet in his humiliation to reveal his majesty: Draw us, we beseech thee, both to behold the Man and to worship the King, immortal, eternal, world without end.
The Condemnation of Christ
O Lord Jesus Christ, whose unjust condemnation we justly condemn: Save us from all malice and uncharitableness in accusing our brethren, lest what we do unto others, we do unto thee, and crucify thee afresh, our Saviour, our Lover, our Lord, for ever and ever.
Jesus, our Lord and our God, who gavest thy cheek to those who smote thee and wast for our sake filled full with reproach; Grant that after the example of thy sufferings, we may be valiant in bearing our own, and learn of thee, the meek and lowly of heart; who now reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
The silence of Christ
Lord Jesus, who wast silent when men nailed thee to the Cross, and by pain didst triumph over pain: Pour thy Spirit, we beseech thee, on thy servants when they suffer, that in their quietness and courage thou mayest triumph again; who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God, world without end.
O God our Father, whose blessed Son, being falsely accused, answered nothing; being reviled, reviled not again: Give us faith, when men accuse us falsely, to go quietly on our way, committing ourselves to thee, who judgest righteously, after the pattern of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Crown of Thorns
O Christ who by the thorns pressed upon thy head hast drawn the thorns from the sorrows of this world, and given us a crown of joy and peace: Make us so bold as never to fear suffering, nor to suffer without cheerfulness, in thy service; to the glory of thy holy Name.
The Death on the Cross
Blessed by thy name, O Jesu, Son of the most high God; blessed be the sorrow thou sufferedst when thy holy hands and feet were nailed to the tree; and blessed thy love when, the fullness of pain accomplished, thou didst give thy soul into the hands of the Father; so by thy Cross and precious Blood redeeming all the world, all longing souls departed and the numberless unborn; who now livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity for ever and ever.
Memorials: from Jeremy Taylor
See also Good Friday below under “The Christian Year”
THE IMITATION OF CHRIST
O Lord God, keep ever in our remembrance the life and death of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Make the thought of his love powerful to win us from evil. As he toiled and sorrowed and suffered for us, in fighting against sin, so may we endure constantly and labour diligently, as his soldiers and servants, looking ever unto him and counting it all joy to be partakers with him in his conflict, his Cross, and his victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord Jesus Christ, engrave upon our hearts the awe of thy Passion and the image of thy Cross, to soften our bitternesses, to quell our complaints, to hearten us in our duties, and to brighten our hope; for thine honour who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, now and for ever.
O God, whose beloved Son, choosing the paths of earth, went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, nor to his glory before embracing a Cross: Plant his Cross in our hearts, that in its power and love we may come to the joyful end of our faith, and a heavenly crown; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God the Son, highest and holiest, who didst humble thyself to share our birth, and our death: Send us the help and light of thine infinite compassion that we may rise from our failures and sin to share thy majesty; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God everlasting.
O Christ, whose wondrous birth meaneth nothing unless we be born again, whose death and sacrifice nothing unless we die unto sin, whose resurrection nothing if thou be risen alone: Raise and exalt us, O Saviour, both now to the estate of grace and hereafter to the state of glory; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, God for ever and ever.
Cambridge Bede Book
Lord, who didst give all for us, help us to give all for thee.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, to joy and rejoicing unspeakable and full of glory in him; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Spirit, one blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, and dominion, now and for ever.
Memorials, from 1 Peter 1
O God of peace,
who didst bring again from the dead
that great Shepherd of the sheep
with the blood of the eternal covenant,
even our Lord Jesus :
Make us perfect in every good thing
to do thy will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in thy sight through Jesus Christ;
to whom be the glory for ever and ever.
O God, the living God, who has given unto us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Grant that we, being risen with him, may seek the things which are above, and be made partakers of the life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O GOD, who by thy marvellous majesty didst after thy Resurrection from the dead ascend into heaven in the presence of thine apostles: Grant us the aid of thy loving-kindness, that according to thy promise thou mayest ever dwell with us on earth and we with thee in heaven; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou reignest God for ever and ever.
THE SECOND COMING
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who once in lowliness didst come to thy people, and wilt come again in majesty as judge: Have mercy on us, sons of men, who delivered the guiltless to death, and still crucify thee afresh; and in thy mercy condemn us not, who, though we be blind and sinful, confess thee our God; that livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, world without end.
Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall stand at the door and knock, he may find us, not sleeping in carelessness and sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Christ, most pure and merciful and just, who camest into our darkness to be our Saviour: Make us at all times and in all things to love and do only that which will appear merciful, just and pure in the bright light of thy coming again to be our judge; who livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, world without end.
THE NAME ABOVE EVERY OTHER NAME
Eternal Father, who didst give thine only Son the Name most dear to thee and needful for mankind, betokening not his majesty, but our salvation: We pray thee to set the Name of Jesus high above every name, and to plant in every heart the love of the only Saviour; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Cambridge Bede Book
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou has borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly:
For ever and ever.
St Richard of Chichester (c. 1197–1253)
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ before me, Christ beside me.
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Attributed to St Patrick (c. 372–466)
I. & II. THE WAY OF LIFE
THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Lord, give us wisdom
Early to know thy will,
Steadfastly to do it:
For Jesus Christ’s sake.
O God, from whom cometh all wisdom for ever; Give to us the true and everlasting wisdom which cannot be gotten for gold, but only by departing from evil, and by fearing, obeying, and loving thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Make us wise, O Lord
To know what it befits us to know,
That we may do what thou wouldest have us do,
And be what thou wouldest have us be;
For Jesus Christ’s sake.
The Law of God
O Lord God, our merciful Father, who knowest that ignorance of thy law is the cause that we neither love nor believe it, and want of love and belief is the occasion of all our errors: Give us, we pray thee, that knowledge, that belief, and that love of thy word, which may keep us in thy paths safely and joyfully all our life long; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
The Wisdom of the Cross
O God, our salvation and truth: Grant that we thy children, rejecting the proud wisdoms of the world, may come to the Cross of thy dear Son, to walk in its light, to rest under its covering, to worship the majesty of its mercy, and to embrace its scorn; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE TRUE RICHES
O God, whose word is better than gold, and thy counsels than precious stones: Grant us wisdom to seek the true riches, to know thee and possess thee, and to be known and possessed of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Teach us thy wisdom, O Lord Christ,
To lay up our treasures
not upon earth, but in heaven;
To set our hearts
not on things which pass away,
but on things which abide for ever.
O God of all goodness, whose greatest gifts are thy simplest gifts, bestowed on men of all estates:
Give us thy blessings,
Love and peace, and gladness of heart,
Health of body and mind,
And the joy of serving thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, whose we are and whom we serve: Keep us ever in thy faith and fear, and in obedience to thy commandments; confident that, being thine, none can pluck us out of thy hand: and, fearing thee, none can make us afraid; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray not, O Lord, that our path may be smooth, but that thou wouldest give us faith to tread it without fear; not that we may always behold the heights, and measure the depths on either side, but that thy lamp may light up the way before our feet, so that we falter not; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord our God, in whose hands is the issue of all things, who requirest from thy stewards not success, but faithfulness: Give us such faith in thee, and in thy sure purposes, that we measure not our lives by what we have done, or failed to do, but by our obedience to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who endured the Cross, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever.
O God, who hast willed that the gate of mercy should stand ever open to the faithful: Mercifully bestow on us the grace of perseverance that we may never turn aside from him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
For faithfulness to the end
Look upon us and hear us, O Lord our God; and assist those endeavours to please thee which thou thyself hast granted to us; as thou hast given the first act of thy will, so give faithfulness to the end, that we may be able to finish what thou hast granted us to wish to begin; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Old Galilean Missal
O Lord God,
who hast revealed in holy Scripture
what conquests faith hath made
both in doing, and in suffering:
Grant us no smaller faith
than that which overcometh the whole world,
that Jesus thy Son is God,
very God from the beginning,
the First and the Last,
who liveth and reigneth
with thee and the Holy Ghost,
world without end.
Faith in God
God, who hast made us, heirs of all the victories of faith, and joint-heirs with Christ of thy glory, if so be that we suffer with him: Arm us with such trust in the truth that is invisible, that we may ask no rest from its demands and have no fear in its service; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Bede Book
The Holy War
O God, the Lord and leader of the hosts of the blessed: Instruct us in the spiritual warfare; arm us against all foes visible and invisible; subdue unto us our own rebellious affections; and give us daily victory in the following of him who vanquished sin and death, and now goeth forth with us conquering and to conquer, even thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
After George Wither
The Armour of God
Arm us, O Lord, with the whole armour of God,
with the shield of faith,
the sword of the Spirit,
the helmet of salvation,
the girdle of truth,
the breastplate of righteousness,
that we may be able to stand in the evil day;
And let our feet be shod
with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
that, having done all, we may stand in the same,
now and for ever.
The Captain of our Salvation
O God, the Son of God, who camest to earth to start us on our heavenly race, and reignest eternally to receive us at our end: Enable us both to set forth with thee and to hold out beside thee, to obtain after thee and to attain unto thee, the Captain of them that run and prize of them that prevail, now and for ever.
Cambridge Bede Book
The courage of the Cross
Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake didst endure the Cross, and hast bidden us to follow thee: Take away from us all fear, all coldness of heart, all unwillingness to suffer; that we, glorying in thy Cross, may glory also that thou hast called us to bear it with thee; for thy Name’s sake.
O God, help us to be masters of ourselves that we may become the servants of others, and thus follow in the path of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Preserve us, O Lord, from idle pleasures which profit nothing; and more especially from those which leave behind but shame and bitterness; for thy mercy’s sake.
The Sign of the Cross
O God, who at our baptism didst mark us with the sign of the holy Cross: Grant us in the hour of temptation to be mindful of its might, to vanquish the enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For right choice
O Lord the only wise, the God and Father of all, who hast shewn unto man light and darkness, right and wrong, that he may choose freely between them: Grant us both generosity and courage to choose the good and to refuse the evil, that we may be numbered among thy sons in whom thou art well- pleased, and who dwell in thy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Use of time
Eternal God, who by the life of thy dear Son hast shown us that there is no minute of our own but we may be doing thy will: Help us to use our time aright, that howsoever we be engaged, in work or leisure or play, we may stand before thee with a pure conscience, acting, speaking, and thinking as in thy presence; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Defend us, O Lord, against idleness and the misuse of time which can never come back; lest our lives be unprofitable to thee, mischievous to others, and without honour or joy to ourselves; for the sake of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Make us careful, O Lord our God,
to consider our doings before we do them,
and our words before we speak them,
whether they be good or bad,
kindly or cruel,
honest or deceitful,
generous or mean;
that there be none
that thou wilt not approve,
and we shall repent;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O God Almighty,
by whom and before whom we all are brethren:
Grant us so truly to love one another,
that evidently, and beyond all doubt we may love thee;
through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord and brother.
Lord, grant us faith,
the mother of love,
the mother of peace,
the mother of blessedness,
now and for ever.
Obedience and love
Give us grace, O God our Father, to keep this day and always the new commandment and the great commandment and all the commandments, by loving thee with all our mind and soul and strength, and one another for thy sake; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
if we love thee
for the pleasure that we receive
then we but love ourselves;
But if we love thee
to do thee pleasure again,
then let us rejoice to obey thee,
and, for thy sake, to love our brethren,
them that are good
to support them in goodness,
them that are ignorant or careless or evil
to draw them to good,
to be unto all our neighbours
as Christ unto us;
for his mercy’s sake.
O Lord God, our strength, our salvation and our song: Let us never be shaken in our constancy toward thee, in our strictness toward ourselves, and in our charity toward others; for Christ’s sake.
Give unto us, O most blessed Lord, the grace to be patient as thou wast patient; that we may gently bear with the faults of others, and strive at all times to root out our own; for thy mercy’s sake.
Rydal School Hymnal (Trood)
Courtesy and consideration
Lord Jesus, make us this day courteous, considerate and kind one towards another, after thine example towards all; for thy Name’s sake.
O God, who art the God of peace, mercifully grant that, as much as lieth in us, we may live at peace with all men; and if our outward peace be broken, yet do thou preserve peace in our hearts; through him who is the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, who hast provided for us many friends, giving to us freely and without thought of return: Grant that we, remembering that we are debtors, may render to others the kindnesses which we ourselves have received; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O Lord God, whose will and joy it is that thy children love one another: Bless our friendships, that they may be made happy and kept pure by thine unseen presence, now and at all times; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grant us, O Lord, loyalty of heart, that as we demand that others should be faithful to us, we also may be faithful to them; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Lord God, make us watchful to benefit, and not to injure the minds and souls of those with whom we have to do this day; and give us grace, by word and influence and good example, to promote their happiness and their good; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Relations and friends
O God who by the grace of the Holy Ghost hast poured the gifts of love into the hearts of thy faithful people: Grant unto them, whom thou hast given us most dearly to love, health of body and soul, that they may love thee with all their strength, and in happiness perform all thy good pleasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bless, we beseech thee, O Heavenly Father, all whom we love and who love us; all to whom we are indebted for any help in our lives; all who are set over us in Church or State (or school); all who are under our charge or influence; any who have injured us, and any whom we have injured; and this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy precept and example hast taught us that the greatest of all is the servant of all, and that the humble shall be exalted: Make us content to take with gladness the lower place; and if it shall please thee to call us higher, do thou preserve within us a simple and humble heart; to thy great glory.
O Lord God, we pray thee to keep us from all self-confidence and vainglory, and to bestow upon us thy great grace of humility and self-forgetfulness: To thee may we look up, in all that we do, alike for the will and for the power; and to thee may we ascribe with a sincere heart all the praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, who resistest the proud but givest grace unto the humble: Grant that we be not cast down from our chief happiness by the swellings of pride, but rather that we ascend into heaven by the steps of humility; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leonine and Mozarabic
O Thou high and lofty one that inhabitest eternity, whose name is Holy, who hast promised to dwell with those that are of a contrite and humble spirit: We pray thee to cleanse our hearts from every stain of pride, and vain-glory, that though the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, yet thou wouldest consent to abide with us for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
See also Tuesday, “The Majesty of lowliness” and HUMILITY OF CHRIST
Set a watch, O Lord, upon our tongue
that we may never speak the cruel word
which is untrue;
or, being true, is not the whole truth;
or, being wholly true, is merciless;
for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God of mercy, who art the Giver of all good things: Keep the door of our heart, that only love may enter therein; and of our lips, that only love may speak through them; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O God in whose holy Kingdom there is nothing that worketh evil or maketh a lie: Help us, we pray thee, to guard our words, to keep our promises and to speak the truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God who hast sent the Spirit of truth unto us to guide us into all truth: so rule our lives by thy power that we may be truthful in thought and word and deed. May no fear or hope ever make us false in act or speech; cast out from us whatsoever loveth or maketh a lie, and bring us all into the perfect freedom of thy truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott (1825–1901)
God, who hast made every calling of man acceptable to thyself, if only thy glory be intended in it: Give us day by day the desire to do our work, of what sort soever it be, for thine honour; and the joy of rendering it to thee well done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Remember, O Lord, what thou hast wrought in us, and not what we deserve; and as thou hast called us to thy service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leonine, trans. J. Armitage Robinson (1858–1933)
O Lord, make us this day to intend and design thy glory in all we think and say and do, that thy presence may bless and strengthen us all the day long; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Make us to remember, O God, that every day is thy gift, and ought to be used according to thy command; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Samuel Johnson (1709–84)
The daily occupation
Lord God, who in thy goodness hast given us thy children choice of our time, choice of our actions, choice of our company: Grant that for all these we may be able to render a good account unto thee, and in all serve thine honour; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Preserve us, O Lord, from the meanness of spirit which is content to reap and sow not; to labour not, but to live on other men’s labours; for thy mercy’s sake.
O God, the Father of all mankind, we beseech thee to inspire us with such love, truth, and equity, that in all our dealings one with another we may show forth our brotherhood in thee; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
1928 Prayer Book
O God, the King of righteousness, lead us, we pray thee, in the ways of justice and of peace; inspire us to break down all oppression and wrong, to gain for every man his due reward, and from every man his due service; that each may live for all, and all may care for each, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Archbishop William Temple
Lord God Almighty, who askest nothing of man but his heart: Enable us, who only can give what thou dost only desire, to give it without hesitancy, without limit, and without looking back; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thought for others
O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy holy apostle hast taught us that, being members of one body, we are members one of another: Give us grace to look not only on our own needs, but also on the needs of others; to the glory of thy holy Name.
From St Paul
O God in whom all fullness dwelleth, who givest without measure to them that ask: Give us faith to ask, and faith to receive, all that thy bounty giveth; that being filled with all thy fullness we may as thy faithful stewards impart thy gifts to all thy children; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Against envy and jealousy
O Lord God, who, with life itself, hast bestowed upon each of thy children his own good gifts: Take from us all envy and jealousy of the gifts bestowed upon others; and grant us to make increase of our own by devoting them, in true thankfulness toward thee, to the happiness of all around; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Generosity of the Cross
O Lord Jesus Christ, lifted up upon the Cross for us, that we might see what it is to love: Grant us so to behold and be drawn by thy love that with all our strength we may love both thee and all for whom thou didst die; who now livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.
A prayer attributed to King Solomon
O God of our fathers,
Lord who keepest thy mercy,
who madest all things by thy word;
and by thy wisdom formedst man,
that he should have dominion over all things that were made by thee,
and rule the world in holiness and righteousness,
and execute judgement in uprightness of soul:
Give me wisdom,
her that sitteth by thee on thy throne;
Send her forth out of the holy heavens,
and from the throne of thy glory bid her come;
that being present with me she may toil with me,
that I may learn what is well-pleasing before thee,
that in my doings she may guide me in ways of soberness
and guard me in her glory;
henceforth and always.
From the Book of Wisdom, 9
III. THE GIVER OF LIFE
Let thy mighty hand, O Lord God, and outstretched arm be our defence; thy mercy and loving-kindness in Jesus Christ, thy dear Son, our salvation; thy all-true word, our instruction; the grace of the life-giving Spirit, our comfort and consolation, unto the end and in the end.
Knox’s Book of Common Order, 1564
The witness of the Spirit
Lord, who hast given us thy Spirit to be the earnest of our inheritance: So fill is with that same Spirit, that we may have the witness within ourselves that we are the children of God; for thy Name’s sake.
O Almighty and merciful Lord, who givest unto thy faithful people the Holy Ghost, as a sure pledge of thy heavenly kingdom: Grant unto us this Holy Spirit, that he may bear witness with our spirit that we be thy children and heirs of thy kingdom; by our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
Godly Prayers, 1559
Grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord, the aid of thy, Holy Spirit, that, whatever by his teaching we know to be our duty, we may by his grace be enabled to perform; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Spirit of life
O Holy. Ghost,
Giver of light and life,
Impart to us thoughts higher than our own thoughts,
and prayers better than our own prayers,
and powers beyond our own powers,
that we may spend and be spent
in the ways of love and goodness,
after the perfect image
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of wisdom
O God, who are both the light and the guide of them that put their trust in thee: Grant us in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us do; that the Spirit of wisdom may save is from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
William Bright, 1824–1901 (adapted)
The Spirit of truth
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy Holy Gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.
Lead us, O Lord God, by the Spirit of truth; that, hating and abhorring all that maketh a lie, we may find in the truth our freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Spirit of purity
O Eternal God, who hast taught us by thy holy word that our bodies are temples of thy Spirit; Keep us, we most humbly beseech thee, temperate and holy in thought, word and deed, that at the last we, with all the pure in heart, may see thee and be made like unto thee in thy heavenly kingdom; through Christ our Lord.
The Spirit of unity
O God, the Creator and Father of all mankind, who by thy Holy Spirit hast made a diversity of peoples one in the confession of thy Name: Lead them, we beseech thee, by the same Spirit to display to the whole earth one mind in belief and one passion for righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gregorian, trans. E.M.-W.
To thee, O Christ, O King exalted, we offer up our due praise and unfeigned hearty thanks for that thou hast sent down and dispersed abroad thine own Holy Spirit to restore and renew the spirit of men, to be the first dedication of thy Catholic Church on earth and the first publishing of the Gospel to all lands, the bond of unity, and giver of light and life; to whom with the Father and thee, one blessed Trinity, be ascribed all might, majesty, dominion, and praise, now and for ever.
The Spirit of freedom
O God, renew our spirits by thy Holy Spirit, and draw our hearts unto thyself, that our work may be not a burden, but a delight. Let us not serve as slaves with the spirit of bondage, but with freedom and gladness as thy sons, rejoicing in thy will; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Benjamin Jenks (1646–1724)
The Spirit of perseverance
O God, who has wakened our hearts to desires so great that thou alone canst bring them to pass: Strengthen us to complete in thee all that thy Spirit hath begun in us; and by thy glory lead us unto ours; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of power
Almighty God, without whose aid we can do nothing: Endue us with thy Spirit of power from on high, that out of weakness we may be made strong; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God who in the burning fire of thy love wast pleased to pour out the Holy Spirit on thy disciples: Grant us by the same Spirit to be new lit with heavenly desires and with the power to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gelasian and Gregorian
The Holy War
Arm us and hearten us, O Holy Spirit of God, to quit ourselves like men in the heavenly war; to witness with faith, to pray with fervour, to go forward with cheerfulness, to suffer with constancy, to triumph over every temptation from without or within, but never over our own conscience; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Indwelling Lord
O Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom and Word of God,
dwell in our hearts, we beseech thee, by thy most Holy Spirit,
that out of the abundance of our hearts
our mouths may speak thy praise.
We beseech thee, O Lord, in thy loving-kindness, to pour thy holy light into our souls; that we may ever be devoted to thee, by whose wisdom we were created, and by whose providence we are governed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gelasian, trans. William Bright
O God from whom we can receive no gift that is not perfect in love, and to whom pay no honour but by righteousness of life: Set thy Spirit within thy servants, that being made upright, they may move others to righteousness; and receiving thy love, may distribute it along all their paths; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Most Holy, Almighty, Eternal, Divine Spirit, who art of one Authority and Dominion with the Father and the Son: Set up thy throne in our hearts. Thou who art Purity, purify us; who art Light, enlighten us; who art the Lord and Giver of Life, grant us life, a long life for ever and ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christina Rossetti (modified)
O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of Life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our life be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
H. C. Cooksey
Do thou give us, O Holy Spirit of God, a new mind to comprehend thy loving purposes, a new heart to rejoice in them, and a new perseverance upon the paths of thy will, now and for ever.
O Heavenly King, the Comforter, thou Spirit of Truth who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life: Cleanse us from every stain, and come, take up thine abode within us, O thou strength of our souls and our salvation for ever.
Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
O Holy Spirit of God,
who with thy holy breath dost cleanse the hearts and minds of men,
comforting them when they be in sorrow,
leading them when they be out of the way,
kindling them when they be cold,
knitting them together when they be at variance,
and enriching them with manifold gifts;
by whose working all things live:
We beseech thee to maintain and daily to increase
the gifts which thou hast vouchsafed to us;
that with thy light before us and within us
we may pass through this world
without stumbling and without straying;
who livest and reignest with the Father and the Son, everlastingly. Amen.
Christian Prayers, 1578 (from Erasmus)
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy seven-fold gifts impart.
Thy blessed Unction from above,
Is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soilèd face
With the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
Where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And thee, of both, to be but One.
That, through the ages all along,
This may be our endless song;
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Before 10th cent. Trans. by Bishop Cosin (1594–1672)
I. THE CHURCH: THE FAMILY OF GOD
THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL
O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy Holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, and dominion, now and for ever.
Memorials on Several Occasions
Be merciful, O Father of all mercies, to thy Church universal dispersed throughout the whole world; and grant that all they that confess thy holy name may agree in the truth of thy holy word, and live in godly concord and unity. And especially be merciful to such as are under persecution for the testimony of their conscience, and profession of the Gospel of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayers of 1585
Most gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy Holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth; in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make up the breaches of it, O Thou Holy One of Israel.
Archbishop Laud (1573–1645)
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on thy whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; and by the tranquil operation of thy perpetual providence, carry out the work of man’s salvation; that things which were cast down may be raised up, and that all things may return unto unity through him by whom all things were made, even thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gelasian, trans. William Bright and others
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thy glory by Christ among the nations: Preserve the works of thy mercy, that thy Church which is spread throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith and love in the confession of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
See also Collects for Trinity V, XVI, & XXII below under “The Christian Year”
The Apostolic faith
O God, who hast laid the foundations of the Church upon the holy hills; Grant that she, continuing steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, may be neither undermined by error, nor shaken by any storm of the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Leonine Sacramentary, trans. J. Armitage Robinson
The Church in our own land
Continue, O Lord, thy most holy word and Gospel in this realm of England and grant that we may truly and thankfully embrace it. Give peace to thy Church from external troubles and persecutions, and from domestic discord and dissension; that all who profess thy word and Gospel may have the same as well in heart as in mouth; for thy Name’s sake and for thy Christ’s sake.
From an ancient prayer (undated), before the time of Elizabeth
THE MINISTRY OF ALL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Book of Common Prayer. One of the collects for Good Friday
We pray thee, O Lord our Father,
for all who profess and call themselves Christians,
that their love may abound yet more and more
unto the day of Christ;
that they may be sincere and void of offence,
being filled with the fruits of righteousness
which are through Jesus Christ
unto thy praise and glory,
now and for ever.
O Eternal God, our heavenly Father, who hast given to us thy children an abiding citizenship in heaven, and, in the days of our pilgrimage, a citizenship also upon earth: Give us thine aid, as we journey to that heavenly city, so faithfully to perform the duties which befall us on our way, that at the last we may be found worthy to enter into thy rest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, Holy and Almighty, let our pride be that we are members of Christ, our praise be not of men but of thee, and our memorial that our names be written in heaven; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Christina Rossetti (adapted)
We beseech thee, O Father Almighty, to make us followers of thy saints and servants in their faithful obedience to Christ, and of Christ in his perfect obedience to thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
See also Collects for Epiphany V, & Trinity XV below under “The Christian Year”
FOR THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say to thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: Regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant it that peace and unity which is agreeable to thy will; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Accession Service, 1714
O God, who biddest us dwell with one mind in thine house: Of thy mercy put away from us all that causeth us to differ, that through thy bountiful goodness we may keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800–82)
Eternal and merciful God, who art the God of peace and not of discord: Have mercy upon thy Church, divided in thy service; and grant that we, seeking unity in Christ, and in the truth of thy holy word, with one mind and one mouth may glorify thee, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
From Preces Privatae, 1564
O God our Father, and Father of all men, from whom all come, to whom all at last return: Bind together thy children everywhere with the bond of mutual love, that they may claim in thee their common birthright, and find in thee their common service; to the glory of thy Name.
O God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, with whom there is no distinction of race or habitation, but all are one in thee: Break down, we beseech thee, the barriers which divide us; that we may work together with one accord, with each other and with thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
See also St Simon and St Jude below under “The Christian Year”
Grant, O Lord God, that thy Church, as it hath one Foundation and one Head, may verily and indeed be one Body, holding one faith, proclaiming one truth, and following one Lord in holiness of living and love, even thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Diversity of gifts
Lord of the Church, who hast given to thy servants a diversity of gifts, that they may share them with their brethren: Grant us the generous heart to give, the humble heart to receive; that we, with all that love thee, may know the fullness of thy grace; that thy love may be perfected in us; to the glory of thy Name.
Our Heavenly Father, who in thy wisdom hast made thy children not in one mould, but in many, and with but one common likeness, which is thine own: Take away from us, we beseech thee, the pride of heart which strives to impress our image upon other men, and give us the desire only to see in them the reflection of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, make us apt to teach, but more apt to learn; that we may not only desire to reveal to others what thou hast revealed to us, but with humble and thankful heart to learn of them what they have learned of thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Almighty God, who through thy son Jesus Christ hast given us commandment to do unto others as we would they should do unto us: Grant that every member of our Church and nation may so learn and practise this obedience, that as one family we may offer unto thee the manifold fruits of our service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
Eternal Father, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named: Unite us, as we worship thee here, with all who in far-off places are lifting up their hands and hearts to thee; that thy Church throughout the world, with the Church in heaven, may offer up one sacrifice of thanksgiving; to the praise and honour of thy holy Name.
Grant, O Lord, that in the communion of saints, we may become true companions of them that have loved thee in this life, and with them keep thy commandments unto the end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The saints at rest
O Eternal Lord God, who holdest all souls in life: We beseech thee to shed forth upon thy whole Church in Paradise and on earth the bright beams of thy light and heavenly comfort; arid grant that we, following the good example of those who have served thee here and are at rest, may at the last enter with them into the fullness of thine unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bp John Wordsworth (1843–1911)
O God, who hast brought us near to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect: Grant us during our earthly pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship, and in our heavenly country to become partakers of their joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who in the Church of thy dear Son hast advanced us to the fellowship of the crowned saints, to inward room and seat in their hearts even as in thine: Set us so steadfastly to follow them in humble boldness of love, that we may be found worthy to share the glory which they have eternally from thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Memorials, based on Thomas Traherne (1637–74)
The Saints of England
God, whom the glorious companies of the redeemed adore, assembled from all times and places of thy dominion: We praise thee for the saints of our own land who stand before thee, and for the many lamps their holiness hath lit; and beseech thee that we also may be numbered at the last with them that have done thy will and declared thy righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Memorials (based on a prayer of Dr Alexander Nairne, 1862–1936)
O Godr day, that we may sow a generous harvest, which others shall reap hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise thy name, O God, for all thy saints who, having served thee in their generation, have fallen on sleep. Give us, we pray thee, such a measure of thy Spirit that we also, in this our day, may be worthy of thy service; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O Lord Jesus, who knowest them that are thine;
When thou rewardest thy servants the prophets, remember, we beseech thee, for good those who have taught us, rebuked us, counselled us, guided us,
and in that day show them mercy:
When thou rewardest the saints, remember, we beseech thee, for good those who have surrounded us with holy influences, borne with us, forgiven us, sacrificed themselves for us, loved us,
and in that day show them mercy;
Nor forget any, nor forget us,
but in that day show us mercy,
O Lord, thou lover of souls.
Christina Rossetti (abbreviated)
Founder’s Day and other occasions
O Eternal God, the Resurrection and the Life of all that believe in thee, who art always to be praised, as well in the dead as in the living: We give thee hearty thanks for thy servant ... our Founder, (or, thy servants our benefactors), by whose bounty we are here brought up to godliness and the studies of good learning, beseeching thee that we, well using all these thy blessings to the praise and honour of thy holy Name, may at length, together with him (them) and all thy servants departed this life, be brought to the immortal glory of the Resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Elizabethan, or earlier, used in many ancient collegiate foundations
O Lord God, the Father of lights, the Maker and Builder of every house not made with hands: We give thee thanks for all members of this [ancient] foundation who have served thee with fruitful labour for the increase of knowledge and wisdom, and for the nurture of faithful servants of thy Church and Kingdom. As thou didst enable them to add their share to thy work, wrought out by many hands from age to age, so teach and strengthen us, we pray thee, to do thy will in the task which thou hast apportioned us in this our generation; and grant that with them we may enter into thy joy in the fulfillment of thine eternal counsel; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Date unknown. Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, and other foundations
Before a War Memorial
O Lord our God, whose name only is excellent and thy praise above heaven and earth: We give thee high praise and hearty thanks for all those who counted not their lives dear unto themselves but laid them down for their friends; beseeching thee to give them a part and a lot in those good things which thou hast prepared for all those whose names are written in the Book of Life; and grant to us, that having them always in remembrance, we may imitate their faithfulness and with them inherit the new name which thou hast promised to them that overcome; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Frank Edward Brightman (1856–1932)
Remember O Lord, we beseech thee, the souls of them that have kept the faith, both those whom we remember and those whom we remember not: And grant them rest in the land of the living, in the joy of Paradise, whence all pain and grief have fled away, where the light of thy countenance shineth for ever;
And guide in peace, O Lord, the end of our lives so as to be Christian and well-pleasing to thee; gathering us under the feet of thine elect, when thou wilt and as thou wilt, only without shame and sin;
through thine only-begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
From the Liturgy of St James
Incline thine ear, O Lord, to our prayers wherewith we beseech thy mercy for the souls of thy servants, whom thou hast bidden to leave this world, that thou wouldest command them place in the kingdom of peace and light, and grant them the company of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sarum, trans. J. N. Comper
Quicken, O Lord, our departed in thy compassion, and set them at thy right hand. Clothe them with excellent glory in thy kingdom, and join them to the just and righteous who fulfill thy will in Jerusalem which is above, O Lord of our death and our life, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for ever.
Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest; and let perpetual light shine upon them.
II NATURE: THE HANDIWORK OF GOD
THE GLORY OF CREATION
O Lord, how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Rev. 15:3; 4:1
Almighty God, whose works are great beyond our understanding, and thou greater than all thy works: Look in mercy upon us, as we endeavour to praise thee, whom no man is able worthily to praise; for thy loving-kindness’ sake.
Thou, O Lord, art mighty for ever. Thou causest the wind to blow and the rain to fall. Thou sustainest the living, quickenest the dead, supportest the falling, dost loose them that are bound, and keepest thy faith to them that sleep in the dust. Who is like unto thee, O Lord of mighty acts?
From the daily Jewish liturgy in our Lord’s own day
Magnified and sanctified be his great Name in the world which he hath created according to his will.
Jewish Prayer Book (a prayer probably said by the Jews in our
Lord’s own time. Cf. The Lord’s Prayer)
Blessed be God in all his gifts: and holy in all his works.
Glory, honour and praise be unto thee O God, who hast fed us from our tender age, and givest sustenance to every living thing. Replenish our hearts with joy and gladness, that we may be rich and plentiful in all good works; through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, whose glory the heavens are telling, who art the breath of life of all things living: To thee be praise from all thy creatures, and from man, made in thine own image, redeemed and restored by Jesus Christ thine only Son, our Lord.
We magnify thee, O Lord, we bless the excellency of thy name in the great works of thy hands, the manifold vestures of earth and sky and sea, the courses of the stars and light, the songs of birds, the hues of flowers, the frame and attributes of everything that hath breath, and, upholding all, thy wisdom, marvellous worthy to be praised; but most, that by thy sure promise we now do only taste the glory that shall be revealed, when thou, O God, wilt take the power and reign, world without end.
Most glorious Lord God, who hast created the world and upholdest its fabric in a marvellous order and beauty: Give us grace so to meditate on thy workmanship and wisdom, thy power and great mercies, that we may thank thee, adore thee and praise thee for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The omnipresence of God
Almighty and everlasting God, whose throne is eternity, and the farthest heavens thy dwelling-place, yet who abidest in every faithful and humble heart: Open our eyes, we pray thee, that we thy children may know the things eternal to be our inheritance, and the lowliest place, where thou art, to be our Father’s house; to whom be dominion and glory, world without end.
O Lord my God, most merciful,
Most secret, most present,
Most constant, yet changing all things,
Never new, and never old,
Ever in action, yet ever quiet,
Creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
Who hath anything but of thy gift?
Or what can any man say when he speaketh of thee?
Yet have mercy upon us, O Lord,
that we may speak unto thee, and praise thy Name.
Jeremy Taylor, 1613–67 (from St Augustine)
The growth of knowledge
Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and earth, who hast given to us men not only eyes to see, but a mind to understand, the marvel of thy works; to search out thy secrets, and to discover thy hidden treasures: Quicken our conscience, we pray thee, as thou dost enlighten our understanding; and grant that in heart as in mind we may become daily more perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The perils of abundance
O God, who in thy love hast bestowed upon us gifts such as our fathers never knew nor dreamed of: Mercifully grant that we be not so occupied with material things that we forget the things which are spiritual; lest, having gained the whole world, we lose our own soul; for thy mercy’s sake.
THE LESSONS OF NATURE
The dignity of labour
Almighty God, who, being sovereign Lord of all, dost never rest from the labours of thy hands;
husbandman preparing the fruits of the earth,
sower and reaper,
healer and teacher,
helper of them that need:
Teach us, we pray thee, the divine dignity of labour, of whatsoever sort it be, if only from thee and for thee, to the wellbeing of thy creatures and the glory of thy holy Name.
God’s care for little things
Lord of infinite greatness, who hast ordered and adorned in equal perfection all that thou hast made; who hast set in glorious array the eternal heavens, and yet dost paint the lily that abideth but a day: Give us courage to attempt great things in thy Name, and equal faithfulness to do the small; to thy sole honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The changelessness of God
O Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; who abidest steadfast as the stars of heaven: Give us grace to rest upon thy eternal changelessness, and in thy faithfulness find peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The peace of God
O God of peace and of infinite power, who doest thy mightiest works without noise and tumult, silently making the fruits of the earth to grow, and silently directing the planets in their swift courses: Grant that we may so learn of thee, and receive such strength from thee, that we may walk in quiet confidence on our appointed way; to the glory of thy Name.
O Lord God, without whose will a sparrow doth not fall to the ground: Grant us in all trouble and adversity to be quiet, without impatience and murmuring, with our whole trust and confidence in thee, who workest all things for the best; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Prayers of 1559
Most loving Father, on whose bountiful providence we do wholly depend: Give us daily at thy pleasure whatsoever the necessity of this life requireth; but above all feed our souls with spiritual food, with the bread of life from heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From Christian Prayers, 1578 (after Erasmus)
Shine upon us, O Lord, thou one true light, that we may behold thy beauty in creation, thy mind in the everlasting Gospel, thy hand both in our reproofs and blessings, thy presence always and in all places, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God blessed for evermore.
Thou who sendest forth the light, createst the morning, and makest the sun to rise on the good and on the evil: Enlighten the blindness of our minds with the knowledge of the truth:
that in thy light we may see light,
and, at the last, in the light of grace, the light of glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God that coverest thyself with light as with a garment: So clothe us with the purity and loving-kindness of thy dear Son, that thy glory may shine forth in all our being and doings; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Father of all, who crownest the year with thy goodness: We yield thee hearty thanks that thou hast ordained for man both seed-time and harvest, and dost now bestow upon us thy children the fruits of the earth in their season. For these and all other thy mercies we laud and magnify thy glorious name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1928 Prayer Book, modified
The world-wide harvest
Almighty God, Maker of all things, who hast placed thy creatures necessary for the use of man in diverse lands: Grant that all men and nations, needing one another, may be knit together in one bond of mutual service, to share their diverse riches; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
16th century: adapted
Prosper our industries, we pray thee, God most high, that our land may be full with all manner of store, and there be no complaining in our streets: and, as thy glorious Son our Lord plied tool and trade on earth, so give to all that labour pride in their work, a just reward, and joy both in supplying need and serving thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Occasional Prayers Reconsidered (S.P.C.K.)
O God, thou Lord of the vineyard, who wouldest not that any should stand idle in the market-place: Hear our prayer for the multitudes without employment or assurance of livelihood; and in thy loving wisdom, declare unto us thy counsels to help and heal all our distresses; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray thee, O Lord
for the humble beasts who with us bear the burden and heat of the day, giving their lives for the well-being of their countries;
and for the wild creatures, whom thou hast made wise, strong and beautiful;
We supplicate for them thy great tenderness of heart, for thou hast promised to save both man and beast, and great is thy loving-kindness, O Master, thou Saviour of the world.
AN ACT OF PRAISE
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
Blessed art thou, O Lord.
O Lord, thou art become exceeding glorious;
thou art clothed with majesty and honour;
Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment.
Thou spreadest out the heavens like a curtain; the earth is full of thy riches;
Blessed art thou, O Lord.
O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all;
Blessed art thou, O Lord.
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being;
Blessed art thou, O Lord.
O my soul, praise the Lord.
Based on the opening of Greek Vespers
O Lord, the day is thine, and the night is thine;
thou hast prepared the light and the sun;
they continue this day according to thine ordinance,
for all things serve thee.
Blessed art thou, O Lord,
who turnest the shadow of death into the morning,
and dost renew the face of the earth.
From Pss. 74:17, 119:91, Amos 5:1, Ps. 104:30
A General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men: We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end.
Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Reynolds (1599–1676)
Great, O Lord, is thy kingdom, thy power, and thy glory; great are thy works, thy wonders, and thy praises; great also is thy wisdom, thy goodness, thy justice, thy mercy; and for all these we do bless thee, and will magnify thy holy Name for ever and ever.
I. PRAYER AND FORGIVENESS
For the Spirit of true prayer
O Lord God, who never failest both to hear and to answer the prayer that is sincere: Let not our hearts be upon the world when our hands are lifted up to pray, nor our prayers end upon our lips, but go forth with power to work thy will in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God of love, who biddest thy children pray, not that thou needest to be entreated, but that we may be more capable of blessings by desiring them: Make us both to desire and to entreat according to thy will, that we may receive according to thine immeasurable bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, that art a hearer not of the voice but of the heart: Make our prayer which goeth up to thee as eager as thy pity which poureth down upon us; for Christ’s sake.
Make us grateful, O God, for thy grace of prayer; whereby we have our conversation in heaven; whereby all impediments are removed, so that nothing can separate us from thy goodness, for time and for eternity.
Dame Gertrude More (1606–33), Benedictine Abbess of Cambrai,
Great-great-grand-daughter of Sir Thomas More
See also the Collects for Trinity X and XII below under “The Christian Year”
O God our Father, whose law is a law of liberty: Give us wisdom to use aright the freedom which thou hast given to us, by surrendering ourselves to thy service; knowing that, when we are thy willing bondsmen, then only are we truly free; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Almighty God, grant unto us who know that we are weak, and who trust in thee because we know that thou art strong, the very present help of thy power, today and always; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
God, who art mighty, and despisest not any: Have mercy upon us in our weakness, and in thy strength make us strong; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O God our Father, from whom cometh every perfect gift: Grant us such health of body as thou knowest to be needful for us; that in body and soul we may evermore serve thee with all our might; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For all in need
Almighty and everlasting God, the comfort of the sad, the strength of them that suffer: Let the prayers of thy children who cry out of any tribulation come unto thee; and unto every soul that is distressed grant thou mercy, grant relief, grant refreshment; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From a Gregorian collect and the Liturgy of St Mark
For all conditions of men
O God, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially, we pray for the good estate of the Catholick Church: that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those, who are any ways afflicted, or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [*especially those for whom our prayers are desired:] that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them, according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake.
Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Gunning (1614–84)
We commend unto thee, O Lord,
our souls and our bodies,
our minds and our thoughts,
our prayers and our hopes,
our health and our work,
our life and our death;
our parents and brothers and sisters,
our benefactors and friends,
our neighbours, our countrymen,
and all Christian folk this day and always.
A general intercession
O God of infinite mercy, who hast compassion on all men, hear the prayers of thy servants, who are unworthy to ask any petition for themselves, yet are in duty bound to pray for others: Let thy mercy descend upon thy Church; preserve her in peace and truth, in unity and service; that her sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving may ever ascend to thy throne. In mercy remember the king; keep him perpetually in thy fear and favour; and grant that all who bear office under him may serve with a single eye to thy glory. Remember our friends, all that have done us good; return all their kindness double unto their own bosom.
Forgive our enemies; and help us to forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Comfort the afflicted; speak peace to troubled consciences; strengthen the weak; confirm the strong; instruct the ignorant; deliver the oppressed; relieve the needy; and bring us all by the waters of comfort and in the ways of righteousness to thy eternal kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After Jeremy Taylor
O God, who art enthroned on high, and yet art nigh to all that call upon thee in truth: Mercifully hear us, as we make our petitions before thee; and answer us, not according to our desires, but according to our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Supply all my great needs, O Lord and Master, who art my greatest need.
Teach us to pray often, that we may pray oftener.
Jeremy Taylor (1613–67)
Let this day, O Lord, add some knowledge or good deed to yesterday.
Bishop Andrewes (c. 1555–1626)
Lord, that which we have prayed against in the morning, suffer us not to have done before the evening
Dean Vaughan (1816–97)
O Lord, never suffer us to think that we can stand by ourselves, and not need thee.
John Donne (1573–1631)
Lord, make thy will our will in all things.
Lord, give us grace to do what we can, that thou mayest empower us to do what thou wilt.
Father of all mercies, teach us to be merciful,
as thou art merciful.
Father of all forgiveness, help us to forgive others,
as thou hast forgiven us;
knowing that, with what measure we mete, it shall be measured to us again; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
A generous heart
Preserve us, O Lord, from the spirit of revenge. Give us, we beseech thee, the generous heart, that, if our enemy hunger, we may feed him; if he thirst, may give him drink; that we be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
A mind forgetful of ill will
O God of love who through thine only-begotten Son hast given us a new commandment, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and wandering: We pray thee give to us thy servants, in all the time of our life on the earth, a mind forgetful of past ill will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; through the same thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Coptic Liturgy of St Cyril; fifth cent., trans. William Bright
Our own shortcomings
O Lord, who hast taught us that we can only be forgiven, as we ourselves forgive: Help us ever to bear in mind our continued shortcomings, our manifold transgressions; that as we remember the injuries which we have suffered, and never merited, we may also remember the kindnesses which we have received and never earned, the punishments which we have deserved and never suffered; and therewith may render thanks to thee for thine unfailing mercies, and the mercies of our fellowmen; for thy Name’s sake.
O Lord and Father
to whom alone the debtors in ten thousand talents can come with hope of mercy:
Have mercy upon us, O Lord,
who have not aught to repay;
forgive us all the debt,
forgive us all our sins,
and make us merciful to others;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from Bishop Andrewes. (Parable of the unmerciful servant)
Give us, O Lord, a humble spirit, that we may never presume upon thy mercy, but live always as those who have been much forgiven. Make us tender and compassionate toward those who are overtaken by temptation, considering ourselves, how we have fallen in times past and may fall yet again. Make us watchful and sober-minded, looking ever unto thee for grace to stand upright, and to persevere unto the end; through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Forgiveness of the Cross
Grant us, O Lord God, the glory of praying with Jesus on the Cross, by praying for our enemies, and by forgiving them that wrong or despitefully use us; that we ourselves may better deserve the gift of thy glorious pardon; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
II. SIN AND REDEMPTION
CONFESSION OF SIN
We confess to God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, through our fault, our own fault, our own most grievous fault. Wherefore we pray God to have mercy upon us.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant unto us pardon and remission of all our sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.
O God, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive, receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate.
Gregorian, trans. 1549
Lord, for thy tender mercies’ sake, lay not our sins to our charge, but forgive that is past and give us grace to amend our lives; to decline from sin and incline to virtue, that we may walk with a perfect heart before thee, now and evermore.
Lidley’s Prayers, 1566
O God the Father of pity, so slow to anger with children so swift to sin: Deal not with us according to our deserts, but open up to us the arms of thy compassion, that what we have lost by our offences we may, recover by thy mercies, and walk henceforth in thy way; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who dost bless thy children by forgiving, and forgive in order to bless again: Grant us such humble and thankful hearts as shall be instant to tell thee our sins, and all men thy mercies; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Bede Book
Strength against sin
O Thou who wast strong enough to bear all our sins: Impart to us thy strength that we may sin no more; for thy tender mercy’s sake.
O God, who art never deceived: Dispel the blindness of our heart; and so quicken our conscience that we may see ourselves as thou all-truly seest us; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Forgive us, merciful God, the sins which have so laid hold upon us that we no longer confess them to be sins. Let thy Spirit enlighten us, thy love cleanse us, thy grace strengthen us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, our Father most loving, we would not, even if we could, conceal anything from thee, but rejoice rather that thou knowest us as we are and seest every desire and every motive of our hearts. Help us, Lord, to strip off every mask and veil when we come into thy presence, and to spread before thee every thought and every secret of our being, that they may be forgiven, purified, amended, and blessed by thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Purity and Victory
Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord God, the lesson of thy holy word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor acquiesce idly in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Whatsoever a man soweth”
O God, by whose unchanging law the harvest follows the seed-time, and whatsoever is sown is afterward reaped: Mercifully grant that we sow not such seed, that we and they who follow after us reap misery and shame; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Grant, we beseech thee, Father most high, that we, who behold the glory of thy love in the face of Jesus Christ, may consent nevermore to sin against others, ourselves or thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Bede Book
A general confession
Most gracious Almighty God,
full of loving-kindness and longsuffering :
We confess unto thee,
we confess with our whole heart,
our neglect and forgetfulness of thy commandments,
our wrong doing, speaking, and thinking,
the hurts we have done to others,
and the good we have left undone:
O Lord, blot out, we beseech thee,
the transgressions that are against us,
for thy goodness and thy glory,
and for the sake of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
A general confession
Accept O Lord the imperfect service which we have rendered to thee during the past week (or term). Thou knowest all our idle, trifling, and uncharitable words; all our wasted, half-employed, and misused hours; all our selfishness, vanity, and ungodliness; all our omitted duties and all our committed sins; thou, O Lord, knowest all, rememberest all and must bring all into judgement, even every secret thing. Suffer us not to cloak or veil before thee our hearts or our lives, but forgive, O God, all that thou hast seen amiss in us, for the sake of him who came into the world to save sinners, Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Merciful Lord Jesus, forget not me, as I have forgotten thee.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
O Saviour of the World, who by thy Cross and Passion hast redeemed us: Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.
Book of Common Prayer, Visitation of the Sick
O Lamb of God,
that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
Receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
Have mercy on us.
From Gloria in Excelsis
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast given thy life to redeem me, thyself for my example, thy word for my rule, thy grace for my guide, thy body on the cross for the sin of my soul: Enter in and take possession of my heart, and dwell with me for ever.
After Jeremy Taylor
Grant, O Lord, that in thy wounds we may find our safety, in thy stripes our cure, in thy pain our peace, in thy cross our victory, in thy resurrection our triumph: and a crown of righteousness in the glories of thy eternal kingdom.
After Jeremy Taylor
The Mercy of the Cross
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst bear with thy betrayer, and with many revilings, and with them who nailed thee to the Cross: Bear also, O Christ, with us who have sinned no less, and by thy wounds and precious blood, forgive and cleanse us; for thy mercy’s sake.
Thanks be to God
for his unspeakable gift,
the gift of his own Son,
who loved us, and gave himself for us.
2 Cor. 9:15; Rom. 8:32; Gal. 2:20
He was wounded for our transgressions,
was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him:
and with his stripes we are healed.
Unto him that loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
Rev. 1:5, 6
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST’S DISCIPLES
O God, who hast exalted the Crucified, thy Son, by a triumphant resurrection and ascension into heaven: May his triumphs and glories so shine in the eyes of our hearts and minds, that we may more clearly comprehend his sufferings, and more courageously pass through our own; for his sake who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.
Adapted from John Austin (1613–69)
The choice of the Cross
O Lord God, who by thy divine mercy hast called us to be Christians, servants of the Crucified, signed with his Cross: Enable us, for the love he bore unto us, to choose the good and refuse the evil, swerving neither to the right hand nor to the left for any pain or scorn; after the pattern and in the strength of the same our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Suffering with Christ
O Son of God, who for us men hast drained the cup of sacrifice: Enable us by thy grace to drink of thy cup, and to rejoice that unto us it is given, not only to believe in thee, but also to suffer with thee; to the glory of thy Name.
O Lord God, who hast passed all the promises of the Gospel upon us through the Cross and sorrows of thy dear Son Jesus Christ: Grant us grace that if we be put to suffer, it maybe in so good a manner or in so good a cause as may be worthy of union with his most holy and glorious sufferings, and that we may tread with the King the way to the Kingdom; where with thee and the Holy Ghost he reigneth God, world without end.
The obedience of the Cross
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the most high God, who though thou wast a Son, yet didst learn obedience by the things which thou didst suffer, even unto death: Give us grace to do the will of our Father with an obedience like thine, resolute and tranquil, instant and complete; for thy mercy’s sake.
The humility of the Cross
O Everliving God, let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; that as he from his loftiness stooped to the death of the Cross; so we in our lowliness may humble ourselves, believing, obeying, living, and dying to the glory of the Father; for the same Jesus Christ’s sake.
Christina Rossetti (abb.)
The glory of the Cross
Grant, O Father Almighty, that we, by whom and for whom thy blessed Son was cruelly lifted up, may acknowledge both our shame and our glory in his Cross, by shouldering our own; for his Name’s sake.
Cross and Crown
Holy Father, who hast shown us that the brave bearing of the Cross is the beginning of wearing thy Crown: Help us by thy grace to bear patiently our pains and disappointments, as thy beloved Son bore his; and to present them unto thee as the pure gift of our faithfulness to our crucified Lord; who now reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, God, for ever and ever.
The discipline of the Cross
Merciful Father, grant us thy grace, and the life-giving power of thy Holy Spirit, that in whatsoever cross thou shalt lay upon us, we may recognize thy fatherly discipline, embrace it with patience, and endure it with cheerfulness; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
From the Latin Precationes, 1360
III THE SPREAD OF THE KINGDOM
FOR THE PEACE OF THE WORLD
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and no strength known but the strength of love: We pray thee so mightily to shed and spread abroad thy Spirit, that all peoples and ranks may be gathered under one banner, of the Prince of Peace; as children of one God and Father of all; to whom be dominion and glory now and for ever.
O God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast set up on earth a Kingdom of holiness, to measure its strength against all others: Make faith to prevail over fear, and righteousness over force, and truth over the lie, and love and concord over all things; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who art Peace everlasting, whose chosen reward is the gift of peace, and who hast taught us that the peacemakers are thy children: Pour thy peace into the souls of thy servants that they may be enabled to impart to men and nations the peace that passeth all understanding; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
First half Mozarabic
Look in compassion, O Heavenly Father, upon this troubled and divided world. Though we cannot trace thy footsteps or understand thy working, give us grace to trust thee now with an undoubting faith, and when thine own time is come, reveal, O Lord, that new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and where the Prince of Peace ruleth, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed: Kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all men the true love of peace, and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bishop Paget of Oxford (1851–1911)
Almighty God and most merciful Father, who wouldest have the kingdoms of the world become the Kingdom of thy Son Jesus Christ: Bestow thy blessing, we beseech thee, upon all who labour for peace and righteousness among the peoples; that the day may be hastened when war shall be no more, and thy will only shall govern the nations upon earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from a Prayer, Service for Armistice Day, 1931
Thy Kingdom come on earth
O God, whose righteousness cannot be wrought by the wrath of man: Appease by thy Holy Spirit the angers and suspicions of parties and peoples; that, seeking for peace in the temper of love, we may see thy great salvation over all the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship thee, all kingdoms obey thee, all tongues confess and bless thee, and the sons of men love thee and serve thee in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who wouldest fold both heaven and earth in a single peace: Let the design of thy great love lighten upon the waste of our wraths and sorrows; and give peace to thy Church, peace among nations, peace in our dwellings, and peace in our hearts; through thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, to set the peace of heaven within the hearts of men, that it may bind the nations also in a covenant which cannot be broken; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Bede Book
FOR MISSIONS OVERSEAS
O God of all the nations of the earth, remember the multitudes of the heathen, who, though created in thine image, have not known thee, nor the dying of thy Son their Saviour Jesus Christ; and grant that by the prayers and labours of thy holy Church they may be delivered from all ignorance and unbelief, and brought to worship thee; through him whom thou hast sent to be the Resurrection and the Life of all men, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Francis Xavier (1506–52)
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst illuminate the darkness of our night, and make known unto the Gentiles him who is the true Light and the bright and morning star: Fill, we beseech thee, the world with thy glory, and in thy splendour reign among the peoples; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Based on a Gregorian Collect
O Lord, who hast warned us that thou wilt require much of those to whom much is given: Grant that we, whose lot is cast in so goodly a heritage, may strive together the more abundantly, by prayer, by almsgiving, by fasting, and by all appointed means to extend to those who know thee not what we so richly enjoy; and as we have entered into the labours of others, so to labour that others may enter into ours, to the fulfillment of thy holy will, and the salvation of all mankind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Manual of St Augustine’s College, Canterbury
Almighty God and most merciful Father, who hast commanded us to pray one for another: We make our request not only for our own selves, and for them that thou hast already called to the true understanding of thy heavenly will; but for all peoples and nations of the world, that they may be instructed by thy Holy Spirit, to believe in thee their only Saviour and Redeemer; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From Prayers of 1566
O God, our heavenly Father, who didst manifest thy love by sending thine only-begotten Son into the world that all might live through him: Pour thy Spirit upon thy Church that it may fulfill his command to preach the Gospel to every creature; send forth, we beseech thee, labourers into thy harvest; make them glad with abundance of increase; and hasten the time when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and all Israel shall be saved; through the same thy son Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son Jesus Christ to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh: Grant that all the peoples of the world may feel after thee and find thee; and hasten, O God, the fulfillment of thy promise, to pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bishop Cotton of Calcutta (1813–66)
THREE SIMPLE PRAYERS
O God, who hast given us the good news in thy Son Jesus Christ: So fill our hearts with thankfulness, that we may tell abroad the glad tidings which we have received; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who hast sent thy servants to prepare thy way: Fill our hearts with love, and strengthen our hands to work, that we may make ready the way of our King; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Bless, O Lord, all who bear witness in thy name, by teaching, by healing, by leadership, in the far outposts of the world; and set our hearts on fire to serve thee, and to spread thy Kingdom; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
THANKSGIVING FOR MISSIONS
O God, mighty to save, infinite in compassion towards the nations that know thee not, and the tongues which cannot speak thy name: We humbly thank thee that thou hast made the Church of thy dear Son the chariot of the Gospel, to tell it out among the heathen that thou art King, and to bear thy love unto the world’s end; and for all thy servants who counted not their lives dear unto them on this employment, and for all peoples newly praising thee, we praise and bless thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one Lord and God for ever.
A general thanksgiving
We praise thy Name, O God,
for all who have freely spent themselves in the service of thy Kingdom;
for all who have braved the perils of the deep, the perils of untrodden paths, and of unknown peoples;
for all who by the sacrifice of themselves have tamed savage hearts, and made the wilderness a garden of the Lord;
for all who have freed the slave from them that made merchandise of him;
for all who have laboured to heal the sick, and to dispel the darkness and cruelty of ignorance;
for all faithful stewards of the Word;
for all just rulers and administrators;
for these and all thy servants we praise thy holy Name.
After each sentence may be said “We praise thee, O God”
PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
Lord of the harvest, who dost sow good seed into the hearts of all men: Grant that our hearts may not be so hardened by the world’s traffic that the seed can take no root; nor so shallow that the roots can find no depth; nor so cumbered with the cares and riches of the world that the growing shoots are choked; but that we may be good ground, bearing good fruit; to the glory of thy Name.
Lord, if our hearts be hard, or choked with tares: Send, we pray thee, thine angels, even if it be thine angel of sorrow, to plough and harrow and cleanse the unfruitful ground; for thy mercy’s sake.
The pearl of great price
Make us wise, O Lord, to esteem that which is worthy; and having seen the pearl of great price, to desire it above all things, and with glad heart to surrender all else, if only we may thereby obtain it; for thy Name’s sake.
Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come;
Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears,
that so we be never unprepared to meet him,
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Bishop Andrewes (1555–1626)
For the parable of the unmerciful servant, see above under “Debtors”.
O Everlasting God, who from all eternity dost behold and order all things, and hast called us to serve thee in this our generation, doing the work of God after the manner of men: Enable us so to use the talents entrusted to us, to thy glory and the service of others, that at the last we may hear that most joyful voice, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord; through the same our Saviour Jesus Christ.
From Jeremy Taylor
Lord, help us to use honestly and well this day all the talents which thou hast given us, that the gain may be not ours only, but thine and thy Kingdom’s; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, though we be unprofitable servants, yet hold us upon the only profitable service, of serving thee; for Christ’s sake.
For The Last Assize, see below in Saturday.
WORSHIP AND SERVICE
ACTS OF PRAISE
(from Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, out of Holy Scripture)
I Will magnify thee, O God my King,
and I will praise thy Name for ever and ever:
Every day will I give thanks unto thee,
And praise thy Name for ever and ever.
Blessed be the Lord God Almighty
who only doeth wondrous things;
and blessed be his glorious Name for ever,
and let all the earth be filled with his glory;
Amen and amen.
The Lord’s Name be praised
from the rising up of the sun unto the going down of the same.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord
from this time forth for evermore.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me praise his holy Name;
Praise the Lord, O my soul
and forget not all his benefits.
O Praise the Lord with me
and let us magnify his Name together.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh give thanks unto his holy Name for ever and ever.
Pss. 34, 145
All the world shall worship thee, O Lord,
sing of thee and praise thy Name,
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship thee,
and shall glorify thy Name.
Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people;
ascribe unto the Lord worship and power.
Pss. 66, 86, 96
Who is like unto thee, O Lord,
who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness
fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Let old men and children,
young men and maidens,
high and low,
rich and poor,
one with another
let them praise the Name of the Lord.
Ex. 15, Pss. 148, 49
O Praise the Lord with me,
and let us magnify his Name together.
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live,
I will praise my God while I have my being.
O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious;
and his mercy endureth for ever.
Pss. 34, 104, 107
Blessed be God
King of kings and Lord of lords,
Who only hath immortality
dwelling in the light unapproachable;
Who though he hath his dwelling so high
Yet he humbleth himself to behold
the things that are in heaven and earth.
Let us be glad and rejoice
and give honour to him
for ever and ever.
1 Tim. 6, Ps. 143, Rev. 19
An act of thanksgiving
What reward shall I give unto the Lord
for all the benefits that he hath done unto me?
What thanks can we render unto God again
for all the joy wherewith we joy before him?
O Lord, we are not worthy of the least of all thy mercies and of all the truth
which thou hast showed with thy servants.
Therefore we bless thee and will bless,
we give thanks unto thee and will give thanks
all the days of our life
and for ever.
Ps. 116, 1 Thess. 3, Gen. 32
See also Monday above under “The Glory of God”
O Lord our Father
be gracious unto us;
we have waited for thee;
be thou our arm every morning,
and our salvation also in time of trouble;
for Jesus Christ’s sake.
O Lord God,
Make me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning
for in thee; is my trust;
show thou me the way that I should walk in,
for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth thee,
for thou art my God;
Let thy loving Spirit lead me forth into the land of righteousness;
for thy Name’s sake.
For God’s Grace
O God our Father,
let us find grace in thy sight
so as to have grace
to serve thee acceptably
with reverence and godly fear,
and further grace
not to receive thy grace in vain,
not to neglect it and fall from it,
but to stir it up and grow in it,
and to persevere in it
unto the end of our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For all who are in need
O Lord, we beseech thee,
who art the succour of the succourless,
the hope of them that are past hope,
the saviour of the tempest-tossed,
the harbour of the voyagers,
the physician of the sick;
Thyself become all things to all men,
who knowest each one and his petition,
each house and its need.
And receive us all into thy kingdom
making us children of light;
and thy peace and love bestow upon us,
O Lord our God.
Liturgy of St Basil
For the Church
O Lord, we beseech thee,
remember thy holy Church
that is from one end of the earth to the other,
and pacify her. that thou hast purchased with thy precious blood,
and stablish her even unto the end of the world.
Remember them that bring forth fruit and do good works in thy holy churches,
and are mindful of the poor and needy;
recompense them with thy rich and heavenly gifts.
Remember every Christian soul,
especially the afflicted and oppressed and struggling
and needing thy mercy and succour;
supplying return to the wanderers,
health to the sick,
and rest to them that have fallen asleep
in Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
Adapted from the Liturgies of St Basil and St James
In peace let us beseech the Lord
for the peace that is from above
and the salvation of our souls;
for the peace of the whole world
and of the holy churches of God
and of all men;
for our homes, that they may be holy,
and for all our pastors, teachers and governors;
for our city (township, village) and country
and all who dwell therein;
for all that travel by land, by air, by water;
for the sick and all who need thy pity and protection.
On all, have mercy, and preserve all, O God, by thy grace:
for unto thee, O Lord, is due glory, honour, and worship;
world without end.
Adapted from Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
WORSHIP IN GOD’S HOUSE
Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
Therefore will I enter into thy gates with thanksgiving and into thy courts with praise.
Pss. 26, 100
Go thou with us, O Lord, as we enter into thy holy house; and go thou with us, as we return to take up the common duties of life. In worship and in work alike let us know thy presence near us; till work itself be worship, and our every thought be to thy praise; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Lord, teach thy people to love thy house best of all dwellings, thy Scriptures best of all books, thy Sacraments best of all gifts, the communion of saints best of all company; and that we may as one family and in one place give thanks and adore thy glory, help us to keep always thy day, the first of days, holy unto thee, our Maker, our Resurrection, and our Life, God blessed for ever.
The Lord’s day
O God, give thy people grace to use aright thy holy day; that it may be a day of mercy to the heavy-laden; a day of resurrection to newness and fullness of life; a day to worship thee in the fellowship of the faithful; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A prayer for the concord of Christ’s Church
In thy house, O Lord, let us dwell in peace and concord; give us all one heart, one mind, one true interpretation upon thy word; that all who believe in thee may together extol thy name; O Lord God, most glorious and excellent over all.
From Godly Prayers, 1552
O Lord our God, whose might is beyond all measure, whose wisdom beyond all understanding, whose love beyond all telling: Let thy mercies descend on us and on this house; and give to us and those who pray with us the riches of thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Freely adapted from the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
The mission of the Church
Bestow thy blessing, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon thy Church and thy ministers everywhere. May increasing multitudes hear thy Word, receive it and live by it. May its power be seen more and more in the lives of them that believe. So work thy great work, Almighty God, in this our country, and in this our generation, that the doubter may be convinced, the wavering established, the sinful converted and the gainsayer silenced; and grant that at the last, according to thy blessed word of prophecy, the Lord may be King over all the earth, one Lord and his Name one; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The temple within the heart
Consecrate, O Lord, in my heart a hidden sanctuary, where thou alone enterest; where secret sacrifices are offered up, which no man knoweth, but thou only; to the glory of thy Name.
See also Thursday, “The Church Universal”.
Blessed Spirit of God,
pour upon us such gifts of faith, purity, and love,
that we may have thy temple within us,
and thee in that temple,
and life everlasting in thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Thou who dwellest in every humble heart, and dost consecrate it for thy sanctuary: Hallow, we pray thee, our hearts within us, that they may be houses of prayer, the dwelling- places of thy Spirit, wherein thou dost reveal thy holy mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from Jeremy Taylor
GRANT, O God, we beseech thee, that we may build a holy temple in our heart, wherein we may daily adore our Father, give thanks to our Saviour, and house thy most Holy Spirit; so that the brightness of thy Presence may shine within us and through us and out from us always; for thy Name’s sake.
The Creed of our new birth
May I have this mind with thine elect, that I stretch not beyond the reach of my understanding, nor say concerning thy Only-begotten Son anything else than that he is thy Son; nor concerning thy Holy Spirit than that he is thy Spirit; that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my new birth, when I was baptized in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: even that I may worship thee as our Father, thy Son together with thee; that I may win thy Holy Spirit who is of thee through thy Son.
For he is a sufficient witness unto my faith who said “Father, all mine are thine and thine are mine”: even our Lord Jesus Christ, who remaineth in thee and of thee and with thee, ever God, blessed unto ages of ages.
St Hilary of Poitiers (d. 368)
WORSHIP IN TRUTH
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer
Strengthen, O Lord, the hands which have been stretched out to receive thy holy things, that they may daily bring forth fruit to thy divine glory. Grant that the ears which have heard thy songs may be closed to the voice of clamour and dispute; that the eyes which have seen thy great love may also behold thy blessed hope; that the tongues which have uttered thy praise may speak the truth; that the feet which have walked in thy courts may walk in the region of light; that the souls and bodies which have fed upon thy living body may be restored to newness of life. And with us may thy great love for ever abide, that we may abundantly render back praise, praise to thy Sovereignty. Amen and Amen.
From the Liturgy of Malabar
Conformity to the Life of Christ
O merciful Jesus, who when thou tookest upon thee to deliver man didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb: Vouchsafe evermore to dwell in the hearts of us thy servants; inspire us with thy purity; strengthen us with thy might; make us perfect in thy ways; guide us into thy truth; and unite us to thyself and to thy whole Church by thy holy mysteries; that we may conquer every adverse power, and be wholly devoted to thy service and conformed to thy will; to the glory of God the Father.
Pères Condren (1588–1641) and Olier (1608–57), trans. byH. P. Liddon (1829–90)
Look upon our lives, O Lord our God, and make them thine, with truth from the beginning, unselfishness all the way, and perseverance unto the end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who hast given us ears to hear thy word, and tongues to praise thee: Cleanse our hearts, that we may be obedient to the word which we hear; and our lips, that we may worship thee in truth; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Enable us, O Lord God, to walk in thy way with integrity and cheerfulness, faithfully believing thy Word and faithfully doing thy commandments, faithfully worshipping thee and faithfully serving our neighbour; after the pattern and in the Name of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Based on a phrase of Jeremy Taylor
Children and servants
O God, mighty and merciful, the Father of all and Lord of all: As children teach us to love thee, as servants to obey thee, and as both to worship and praise thee; for Christ’s sake.
The recognition of our redemption
Give us, O Lord God, a deep sense of thy holiness; how thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and canst not overlook or pass by that which is evil.
Give us no less, O Lord, a deep sense of thy wonderful love towards us; how thou wouldest not let us alone in our ruin, but didst come after us, in the Person of thy Son Jesus Christ to bring us back to our true home with thee.
Quicken in us, O Lord, the spirit of gratitude, of loyalty and of sacrifice, that we may seek in all things to please him who humbled himself for us, even to the death of the Cross, by dying unto sin and living unto righteousness; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Fellowship with the Saints
Lord, make us, we beseech thee, like-minded with all saints whether on earth or in heaven; that we may worship thee as they worship, trust as they trust, rejoice in thee as they rejoice, love thee as they love; for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The presence of God
O Almighty God, who art everywhere present, in heaven by glory, in the conscience of all men by thy still small voice, in the hearts of thy faithful by thine own Spirit: Help us always so to think, speak, choose and act as sons in the presence of their Father, who love to do his will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being: Give us faith to know that we can no more be removed from thy presence than from our own; and since thou seest every action, hearest all our converse, and knowest all our thoughts, restrain and guide us in all our ways, that we may walk purely and godly in thy sight; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
Worship and witness
Grant, we beseech thee, merciful God, that we who worship thee in thy Church may be witnesses unto thee in the world; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
A. Campbell Fraser
O Gracious and bounteous Lord God,
who, furnishing our offering,
Blessed be thou for ever and ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Last Assize
O Lord Christ, son of the living God, who at the last assize will acknowledge all deeds of mercy to others as done unto thee: Grant, in this world of sin and pain and want, that we may never pass by the poor and helpless whose cry is thine own; for the honour of thy holy Name.
A pure offering
O God, who desirest no sacrifice, but a humble and contrite spirit; who wilt accept no gifts, save such as come from a good and honest heart: Save us, we pray thee, lest we come before thee with hands not free from stain; and mercifully accept the offering of ourselves, who have nothing worthy to offer but what is from thee, and dare not offer what is not hallowed by thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
The offering of ourselves
Grant us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord, the power to offer and present unto thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the Prayer of Oblation, Book of Common Prayer
O God, whose love we cannot measure nor ever number thy blessings: We bless and praise thee for all thy goodness, who in our weakness art our strength, in our darkness, light, in our sorrows, comfort and peace, and from everlasting to everlasting art our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end.
Accept, O Lord God, our Father, the sacrifices of our thanksgiving;
this, of praise, for thy great mercies already afforded to us;
and this, of prayer, for the continuance and enlargement of them;
this, of penitence, for such only recompense as our sinful nature can endeavour;
and this, of the love of our hearts, as the only gift thou dost ask or desire;
and all these, through the all-holy and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ thy Son our Saviour.
A shorter form of the above
Accept, O God, this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which we offer before thy divine Majesty in the Name of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
THE DAYS OF OUR PILGRIMAGE
Teach thy servants and pilgrims, O King of Kings, to walk trustfully in thy presence and to obey thy majesty; that, while we journey to the heavenly country, thy voice may encourage, thine arm protect and thy love transfigure us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE LIFE EVERLASTING
Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion world without end.
Memorials, from a Sermon of John Donne
We commend ourselves and all things ours
to him that is able to keep us from falling,
and to present us faultless
before the presence of his glory,
to the only wise God and our Saviour,
to whom be glory and majesty
dominion and power
both now and world without end.
Blessing and honour and thanksgiving and praise more than we can utter, more than we can conceive, be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by all angels, all men, all creatures, for ever and ever.
Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1637–1710
PRAYERS WHICH MAY BE USED AFTER ANY OF THE PRECEDING
The prayers following are from the Book of Common Prayer
Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: We beseech thee to have compassion upon our infirmities; and those things, which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask, vouchsafe to give us, for the worthiness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of them that ask in thy Son’s name: We beseech thee mercifully to incline thine ears to us that have made now our prayers and supplications unto thee; and grant that those things, which we have faithfully asked according to thy will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy most gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the words, which we have heard this day with our outward ears, may through thy grace be so grafted inwardly in our hearts that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living, to the honour and praise of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A prayer of Saint Chrysostom
Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests: Fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting.
THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
Collects from the Book of Common Prayer, unless otherwise stated
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ Came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
O Lord Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
O Lord, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among, us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins, and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end.
God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thy only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that as we joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him, when he shall come to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.
Prayer Book, 1549
Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
THE CLOSING YEAR
Lord God, who art the same yesterday, today, and for ever, whose throne is established in righteousness, whose compassions fail not, and whose love endureth unto all generations: Lift the light of thy countenance upon us, pilgrims as all our fathers were, that thanking thee for all the way by which thou hast led us, we may as thy children set our faces towards eternity and our affections on things above, ere we pass hence and are no more seen; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
B. J. Snell, from School Worship
THE OPENING YEAR
Eternal God, who makest all things new, and abidest for ever the same: Grant us to begin this year in thy faith, and to continue it in thy favour; that, guided in all our doings, and guarded all our days, we may spend our lives in thy service, and finally, by thy grace, attain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Order of Divine Service for Public Worship
THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST (1 January)
Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man: Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE EPIPHANY, OR THE MANIFESTATION
OF CHRIST TO THE GENTILES (6 January)
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE WEEKS AFTER EPIPHANY
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life: Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end.
O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do: Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee: Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights: Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE WEEK BEFORE EASTER
Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
For the second collect see Thursday, “The Ministry of All Christian People”
Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
THE WEEKS AFTER EASTER
Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life: Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness: Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.
O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, from whom all good things do come: Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Week after Ascension Day
O God the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven: We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
God, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
THE WEEKS AFTER TRINITY
O God, the strength of all them that put their trust in thee, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping of thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, who never failest to help and govern them whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast fear and love: Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord.
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth: We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do anything that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.
Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command;; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee: Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness: Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour.
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Saints and Martyrs
SAINT ANDREW’S DAY (30 November)
Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay: Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE (21 December)
Almighty and everliving God, who for the more confirmation of the faith didst suffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore.
SAINT STEPHEN’S DAY (26 December)
Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth, for the testimony of thy truth, we may steadfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors, by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate.
(In 1549 and 1552 it was as follows: Grant us, O Lord, to learn to love our enemies by the example of thy Martyr, Saint Stephen, who prayed to thee for his persecutors: who livest and reignest, &c.)
SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST’S DAY (27 December)
Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE INNOCENTS’ DAY (28 December)
O Almighty God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith, even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL (25 January)
O God, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God, who hast taught all the world, through the preaching of thy blessed Apostle Saint Paul: Grant we beseech thee, that we who have his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may follow and fulfill thy holy doctrine that he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1549 and 1552
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE, COMMONLY CALLED THE
PURIFICATION OF SAINT MARY THE VIRGIN (2 February)
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT MATTHIAS’S DAY (24 February)
O Almighty God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles: Grant that thy Church, being alway preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (25 March)
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT GEORGE’S DAY (23 April)
A Prayer for Servants of the Crown and Country
O Lord God of hosts, who didst give grace to thy servant George to lay aside the fear of man, and to confess thee even unto death: Grant that we, and all our countrymen who bear office in the world, may think lightly of place and honour, and seek rather to please the Captain of our salvation, who bath chosen us to be his soldiers; to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be thanks and praise from all the armies of thy saints, now and for evermore.
John Wordsworth, Bishop of Salisbury (1843–1911)
SAINT MARK’S DAY (25 April)
O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark: Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT PHILIP AND SAINT JAMES’S DAY (1 May)
O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life; Grant us perfectly now thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life; that, following the steps of thy holy Apostles, Saint Philip and Saint James, we may steadfastly walk in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE (11 June)
O Lord God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost: Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT JOHN BAPTIST’S DAY (24 June)
Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching of repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching, and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT PETER’S DAY (29 June)
O Almighty God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock: Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT MARY MAGDALEN (22 July)
O Almighty God, whose blessed Son did call and sanctify Mary Magdalen to be a witness to his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by thy grace we may be healed of all our infirmities, and always serve thee in the power of his endless life, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.
1928 Prayer Book
SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE (25 July)
Grant, O merciful God, that as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
TRANSFIGURATION (6 August)
O God, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.
American Prayer Book
SAINT BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE (24 August)
O Almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT MATTHEW THE APOSTLE (21 September)
O Almighty God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist: Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS (29 September)
O Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT LUKE THE EVANGELIST (18 October)
Almighty God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist, and Physician of the soul: May it please thee, that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
SAINT SIMON AND SAINT JUDE, APOSTLES (28 October)
O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ALL SAINTS’ DAY (1 November)
O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ALL SOULS’ DAY (2 November)
O Almighty God, the God of the spirits of all flesh: Multiply, we beseech thee, to those who rest in Jesus, the manifold blessings of thy love, that the good work which thou didst begin in them may be perfected unto the day of Jesus Christ. And of thy mercy, O heavenly Father, vouchsafe that we who now serve thee here on earth, may, at the last, together with them, be found meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Scottish Prayer Book
See also Thursday, “The Communion of Saints” and “Benefactors”
PRAYERS FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS
O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom: Defend us thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer
O LORD our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings may be ordered by thy governance, to do always that is righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer
O GOD, great and wonderful,
who hast given us a pledge of thy promised kingdom
through the good things already bestowed upon us:
Help us to shun all evil throughout this day,
that, at its end, we may stand without reproach
before thy holy glory,
and praise thee,
the God of our life, the lover of men;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from Greek Vespers
Grant thy blessing, Almighty Father, to all our occupations this day, both when we are alone and when we are with others. Give us humble thoughts concerning ourselves, that we may count it all honour to be permitted to serve thee. Inspire us with the grace of self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness, that we may think first of thee and of our brethren. In all that we do may we look upward for thy blessing, and remember that it is thou only, O Lord, who workest in us, by thy Holy Spirit, both to will and to do; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Loving Father, our eternal Friend, may we never forget or dishonour thee this day; but in all places and in all occupations remember thy presence and cherish thy love; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Let our prayer, O Lord, come before thee in the morning. Thou didst take upon thee our weak and tempted nature; grant us to pass this day in gladness and peace, that, reaching the eventide without stumbling and without stain, we may praise thee, the everlasting King; through thy mercy, O our God, who art blessed and dost live and govern all things world without end.
O Lord God, waken our hearts and minds this day, that we may perceive the way of thy will, and put forth all our strength to choose and do it; so that when evening comes, thou mayest close our eyes with thy blessing upon servants who have been faithful; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
LORD lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us,
that in thy light we may see light,
the light of thy grace today,
the light of glory hereafter;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Two Morning Prayers
Thou who very early in the morning while the sun was yet arising, didst rise from the dead;
Raise us up daily unto newness of life,
and save us, O our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Thou who at the third hour of the morning didst send down thy Holy Spirit on the Apostles;
Take not away the same Spirit from us,
but renew him daily within us,
and save us, O our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
School work, and play
We humbly implore thy blessing, O Lord God, upon the work of this day, that we may do it heartily as unto thee; and that both in school and out we may seek each other’s good, and rejoice in each other’s happiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Book of Common Prayer
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Book of Common Prayer
We give thee thanks, O Lord,
who hast preserved us through the day.
We give thee thanks,
who wilt preserve us through the night.
Bring us in safety, we beseech thee, O Lord,
to the morning hours,
that thou mayest receive our praise
at all times;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gelasian, trans. William Bright
O God, who by making the evening to succeed the day, hast bestowed the gift of repose on human weakness: Grant we beseech thee that while we enjoy these continuing gifts of thy goodness, we may trust and thank him from whom they come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord God, who art light eternal, in the brightness of whose countenance is day that knows no night, and in thy protecting arms all quietness and tranquility: While the darkness covers the face of the earth, receive our body and soul unto thy care and keeping; that whether we sleep or wake, we may rest in thee, in thy light beholding light; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
By night let us lift up our hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
The Lord has granted his loving-kindness in the daytime;
and for this cause now in the night season do I sing of him,
and make my prayer unto the God of my life.
As long as I live will I magnify thee on this manner,
and lift up my hands in thy Name.
Let my prayer be set forth
in thy sight as the incense;
and let the lifting up of my hands
be an evening sacrifice,
now and always.
From Bishop Andrewes, Pss. 134, 42, 63, 140
I will lay me down in peace
and take my rest:
for it is thou, Lord, only
that makest me dwell in safety.
Into thy hands, O Lord,
I commend my spirit,
for thou hast redeemed me,
O Lord, thou God of truth.
Pss. 4, 31
Look down, O Lord, from thy heavenly throne; illuminate the darkness of this night with thy celestial brightness; and from the sons of light banish the deeds of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are fatigued by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The almighty and merciful God bless us and keep us this night and for evermore.
May the Lord of his mercy grant unto us with all the faithful, rest and peace.
Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting, and power infinite: Have mercy upon the whole Church; and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant ELIZABETH, our Queen and Governor, that she (knowing whose minister she is) may above all things seek thy honour and glory: and that we, and all her subjects (duly considering whose authority she hath) may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey her, in thee, and for thee, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end.
Book of Common Prayer
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, the Parliaments in all her dominions, and all who are set in authority under her; that they may order all things in wisdom, righteousness, and peace, to the honour of thy holy Name, and the good of thy Church and people; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer Book, 1928 (modified)
Almighty God, Father of all men, under whose providence we are become members of a great commonwealth of nations, and have in our keeping the government and protection of many peoples: Give us such a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of justice and truth, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, that all the nations and peoples of this Commonwealth may ever abide in one bond of fellowship and service; to the glory of thy Name.
O Merciful God and Father, forasmuch as no counsel can stand, nor any can prosper, but only such as are gathered in thy Name: We pray thy Divine Majesty so to incline the hearts of them that are elected to the High Court of Parliament, that their counsels may be subject in true obedience to thy holy word and will. Graft in them, we beseech thee, good minds to conceive, free liberty to speak; and grant to us all a ready and quiet consent to such wholesome laws and statutes, as may declare us to be thy people, and this Realm to be prosperously ruled by thy good guiding and defence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers of 1585 (shortened and slightly altered)
See also the Book of Common Prayer
FOR THE CIVIC OR MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
Almighty God, whose is the eternal only power, and other men’s power but borrowed of thee: We beseech thee for those who hold office in this borough (city, county): that, holding it first from thee, they may use it for the general good and to thine honour; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Based on a phrase of William Tyndale (d. 1536)
O Heavenly Father, at whose hand the weak shall take no wrong nor the mighty escape just judgement: Pour thy grace upon thy servants our judges and magistrates, that by their true, fruitful, and diligent execution of justice and equity, to all men equally, thou mayest be glorified, the common wealth daily promoted and increased, and we all live in peace and quietness, godliness and virtue; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From Archbishop Cranmer’s Exhortation to Prayer, 1544 (adapted)
For Hospitals, see Tuesday, The Ministry. Christ the Healer
FOR THOSE AT SEA
Almighty and eternal God, whose way is on the deep, we commend to thy Fatherly care all that go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters. Help them, in whatever lies before them, to quit themselves like men. If there be any duty, may they do it with cheerfulness; if any danger, may they face it with courage; knowing thy hand is in all things, and all things are in thy hand. We ask it for thy Name’s sake.
FOR ALL WHO TRAVEL BY AIR
O Almighty God, who makest the clouds thy chariots, and walkest upon the wings of the wind: We beseech thee for all who travel by air to their several duties and destinations; that thy presence may ever be with them, to pilot, to speed, and to protect; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE QUEEN’S FORCES
O Almighty Lord God, the Father and Protector of them that trust in thee: We commend to thy fatherly care the Forces of the Crown, by sea, by land, and in the air; beseeching thee to take into thine own hand both them and the cause they serve. Be thou their strength when they are set in the midst of so many and great dangers. Make all bold through life or death to put their trust in thee, who canst save by many or by few; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Archbishop Benson, 1885 (adapted)
THE ROYAL NAVY
(From a prayer used daily in Hey Majesty’s ships)
O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens and rulest the raging of the sea; who hast compassed the waters with bounds until day and night come to an end: Be pleased to receive into thy Almighty and most gracious protection the persons of thy servants, and the Fleets in which they serve. Preserve them from the dangers of the sea, and from the violence of the enemy; that they may be a safeguard unto our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, and her Dominions, and a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our Commonwealth may in peace and quietness serve thee our God; and that they may return in safety to enjoy the blessings of the land, with the fruits of their labours, and with a thankful remembrance of thy mercies to praise and glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer (slightly altered)
BEFORE OR AFTER SCRIPTURE READING
Throw open, O Lord our God, every door by which thy Word may come in unto us; and make us to understand, to welcome, to obey and to accomplish it, in the power of thy Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Write upon our hearts, O Lord God, the lessons of thy holy Word, and grant that we may all be doers of the same, and not forgetful hearers only; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A. Campbell Fraser
Guide us, O Lord, by thy Holy Spirit in the reading of thy sacred word; that we may be furnished thereby unto every good work; to the glory of thy Name.
After Jeremy Taylor
O Lord, open thou our eyes, that we may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
See also Second Week in Advent, above, and the Prayer of Edward VI, below
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
(For Founders and Benefactors, see above, Thursday, Benefactors)
Father, who hast through many generations and by many bountiful servants blessed this College (or School) for a house of faith and fruitful study; Grant us likewise in this place so to learn truth as to bear its light along all our ways, and so to learn Christ as ever to be found in him; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
King’s College, Cambridge
O Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named :
Grant that, according to the riches of thy glory,
thy servants and children in this School
may be strengthened with power through thy Spirit,
that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith;
that they, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be strong to apprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge;
that they may be filled with all thy fullness;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
From St Paul
O God, who dost begin and sustain all progress up to thee in thy kingdom: Bless. our Universities and Schools, that they may convey to thy children thy best gifts of truth and godliness; and prepare them for the perfect citizenship alike of earth and heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cambridge Bede Book
O God, the eternal Wisdom, who wouldest all should learn to know and see thee in the splendour of thy Son’s life on earth: Grant that our Universities and Schools, first learning Christ, may impart full treasures of knowledge, truth, and faith; so that both Church and Commonwealth be nobly served by lives which follow his; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
Direct, O God, with thine own loving wisdom our schools of thought and science; that they may more and more unveil the wondrous things of thy law, and draw all to adore thee with mind and heart and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hear our prayers, O Lord Jesu, the everlasting Wisdom of the Father; who givest unto us, in the days of our youth, aptness to learn: Add, we pray thee, the furtherance of thy grace, so to learn knowledge and the liberal sciences that, by their help, we may attain to the fuller knowing of thee, whom to know is the height of blessedness; and by the example of thy boyhood, may duly increase in age, wisdom, and favour with God and man. Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Erasmus (slightly shortened)
Composed by Erasmus for St Paul’s School, probably at the request of Dean Colet.
For our Parents
O Lord God, whose will it is that, next to thyself; we should hold our parents in highest honour; nor is it the least of our duties to beseech thy goodness toward them: Preserve, I pray thee, my parents and home, in the love of thy religion and in health of body and mind; grant that through me no sorrow may befall them; and finally, as they are kind to me, so be thou to them, who art the supreme Father of all. Amen.
A companion prayer to the above: also by Erasmus
For sacred knowledge
O God, with whom is the well of life and in whose light we see light: Impart to us, we beseech thee, the brightness of divine knowledge, whereby our thirsting souls may receive the draught of life, and our darkened minds perpetual light from heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mozarabic (freely translated)
For all who influence public opinion
Almighty God, who hast proclaimed thine eternal truth by the voice of prophets and evangelists: Direct and bless, we beseech thee, those who in this our generation speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of the people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honour of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from the Boys’ Prayer Book
A private prayer for teachers
Lord Jesus, merciful and patient, grant us grace, I beseech thee, ever to teach in a teachable spirit; learning along with those we teach, and learning from them whenever thou so pleasest. Word of God, speak to us, speak by us, what thou wilt. Wisdom of God, instruct us, instruct by us, if and whom thou wilt. Eternal Truth, reveal thyself to us, reveal thyself by us, in whatsoever measure thou wilt; that we and they may all be taught of God.
A BIDDING PRAYER
Let us pray for Christ’s holy Catholic Church, that is, for the whole congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the whole world, and for all ministers of God’s holy word and sacraments.
For our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, and those in authority under her, that all and every one of them, in their several callings, may serve truly to the glory of God, and the edifying and well governing of her people, remembering the solemn account which they must make.
Pray we also for all the people of this realm [and Commonwealth] that they may live in the true faith and fear of God, in obedience to our laws, and brotherly charity to one another.
[And, as in special duty bound, let us pray for our own town (city); for his worship the Mayor, for the Council, for the magistrates, that all things may be ordered by them in the fear of God; for our hospitals, that the sick may be made whole; for our schools and colleges, that true religion and sound learning may flourish.]
Finally, let us praise God for all those who are departed out of this life in the faith of Christ, and pray unto God, that we may have grace to direct our lives after their good examples; that, this life ended, we may be made partakers with them of the glorious resurrection in the life everlasting.
And all these our praises and petitions let us humbly gather up in the words with which our Lord Himself has taught us to pray :
Our Father ...
Based on Canon LV of 1603
A BIDDING PRAYER BEFORE A CHRISTMAS CAROL SERVICE
(Adapted, by permission, from the service at King’s College, Cambridge)
Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmastide our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child: and let us make this place glad with our carols of praise.
But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in the dominions of our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth; and within this city (town, village).
And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the Throne of Heaven, in the words which Christ himself bath taught us:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For Mine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
The Almighty God bless us with his grace: Christ give us the joys of everlasting life: and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all.
PRAYERS OF FAMOUS MEN AND WOMEN
These prayers have been arranged approximately in their historic order, so that a writer may be compared with his contemporaries. In the case of a few great men, like Drake, Lincoln, and Gordon, who did not deliberately write prayers as such, but wrote something closely akin to prayer, their words have been slightly adapted.
In a few instances, prayer in verse has been chosen, as being characteristic of the writer. There are many familiar hymns which contain verses admirably suited for prayer.
In addition to the names attributed in this chapter, other prayers and also extracts from ancient liturgies will be found throughout the book and attributed in place. [This paragraph adapted for web.]
O Thou, from whom to be turned is to fall,
to whom to be turned is to rise,
and in whom to stand is to abide for ever :
Grant us in all our duties thy help,
in all our perplexities thy guidance,
in all our dangers thy protection,
and in all our sorrows thy peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Augustine (353–430)
O Gracious and holy Father,
Give us wisdom to perceive thee,
intelligence to understand thee,
diligence to seek thee,
patience to wait for thee,
eyes to behold thee,
a heart to meditate upon thee,
and a life to proclaim thee;
through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Benedict (480–543)
Open our hearts, O Lord, and enlighten us by the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that we may seek what is well-pleasing to thy will: and so order our doings after thy commandments, that we may be found meet to enter into thine unending joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Venerable Bede (675–735)
Eternal Light, shine into our hearts,
Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil,
Eternal Power, be our support,
Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance,
Eternal Pity, have mercy upon us;
that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength we may seek thy face and be brought by thine infinite mercy to thy holy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord God Almighty,
I pray thee for thy great mercy, and by the token of the holy Rood,
Guide me to thy will, to my soul’s need, better than I can myself;
And shield me against my foes, seen and unseen;,
And teach me to do thy will,
that I may inwardly love thee before all things with a clean mind and a clean body.
For thou art my Maker and my Redeemer,
my help, my comfort, my trust, and my hope.
Praise and glory be to thee now, ever and ever, world without end.
King Alfred (871–901)
Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to the will of the Father,
through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost,
hast by thy death given life to the world:
The dying prayer of St Margaret, Queen of Scots, 16 November 1093
O Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner. Stablish my heart in thy will. Grant me true repentance for my sins: right faith and true charity, patience in adversity and moderation in prosperity. Help me and all my friends and kinsmen, all who desire and confide in my prayers. Show mercy to all who have done me good and shown me the knowledge of good, and grant everlasting forgiveness to all who have spoken or thought evil against me. To thee, my God, and to all thy holy ones, be praise and glory for ever for all the benefits which thou hast granted me, and for all thy mercies to me a sinner: for thy Name’s sake.
From the Anglo-Saxon of a Prayer Book carried about by St Wulfstan Bishop of Worcester (eleventh century). He was the only Saxon Bishop retained by William the Conqueror. He built the Crypt of Worcester Cathedral.
Grant, O Lord God, that we may cleave to thee without parting, worship thee without wearying, serve thee without failing, faithfully seek thee, happily find thee, for ever possess thee, the one only God, blessed world without end.
St Anselm (1033–1109)
O God, whose greatness knoweth no term, whose wisdom no bounds, whose peace excelleth all understanding; thou that dost love and help us without measure: Help us to love thee, if not according to, thine own immeasurable bounty, yet according to our fullest powers; which do thou multiply and deepen, so we may love thee more and more; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1091–1153), freely adapted
Into thy hands, O Father and Lord, we commend this night our souls and our bodies, our parents and homes, friends and servants, neighbours and kindred, our benefactors and brethren departed, all folk rightly believing, and all who need thy pity and protection: light us with thy holy grace, and suffer us never to be separated from thee, O Lord in Trinity, God everlasting.
St Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury (1170–1240), adapted
Now our Lord Jesus Christ give us grace, so to honour God, and to love our even (= fellow) Christians, and ourselves to be lowly of heart, that we may for our honouring be honoured, for our love be loved, and for our meekness be lifted up into the high bliss of heaven, that Jesus bought for us with his Blood and most precious Passion. So be it, Amen.
St Edmund Rich
O God, almighty, eternal, righteous, and merciful, give to us poor sinners to do for thy sake all that we know of thy will, and to will always what pleaseth thee; so that purified, enlightened, and kindled by the fire of thy Holy Spirit, we may follow in the footprints of thy well-beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
St Francis of Assisi (1182–1226)
Lord, make us instruments of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake.
St Francis of Assisi
Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy thought can drag downwards,
an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out;
an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God,
understanding to know thee,
diligence to seek thee,
wisdom to find thee,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Thomas Aquinas (1225–74)
Jesus, receive my heart, and bring me to thy love. All my desire thou art. Kindle fire within me, that I may win to thy love, and see thy face in bliss which shall never cease, in heaven with never an ending.
Richard Rolle, Hermit (1300–49)
God, of thy goodness, give me thyself; for thou art enough to me, and I may nothing ask that is less than may be full worship to thee; and if I ask anything that is less, ever me wanteth; but only in thee I have all.
The Lady Julian, Anchoress at Norwich, 1373
God give us grace as we go hence,
Such works to work while we be here.
That after our death Do-well may say,
At the day of doom, we did as he taught.
William Langland (Piers Plowman), c.1390
O Lord Jesu Christ, who hast made me and redeemed me and brought me where I am upon my way: thou knowest what thou wouldst do with me; do with me according to thy will, for thy tender mercies’ sake.
King Henry VI (1421–71)
Most merciful Saviour, whom to know, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is life everlasting: Increase the faith of thy servants, that we may never stray from thy truth; our obedience, that we may never swerve from thy commandments. Increase thy grace in us, that, alive in thee, we may fear nothing but thee, than whom nothing is more mighty; love nothing but thee, than whom nothing is more lovable; glory in nothing but thee, who art the glory of all the saints; and finally desire nothing but thee, who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, art the full and perfect felicity for ever.
Christian Prayers, 1578 (from Erasmus, 1467–1536)
Glorious God, give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to mine end without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.
And give me, good Lord, an humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender, and pitiful mind, with all my works and all my words and all my thoughts, to have a taste of thy holy, blessed Spirit.
Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love to thee incomparable above the love to myself.
Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this world, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven, as for a very love of thee.
And bear me, good Lord, thy love and favour, which thing my love to theeward, were it never so great, could not but of thy great goodness deserve.
These things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for. Amen.
From “a Devout Prayer made by Sir Thomas More, Knight, after he was condemned to die and before he was put to death, who was condemned the Thursday the First Day of July 1535 and in the 27th year of the reign of King Henry VIII, and was beheaded at the Tower Hill at London on the Tuesday following”.
Sir Thomas More (1478–1535)
Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil, and not to seek for rest; to labour, and to ask for no reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556)
Let our chief end, O God, be to glorify thee, and to enjoy thee for ever.
Adapted from The Shorter Catechism, 1648, after John Calvin, 1509–64
The authorship of the three following prayers is unknown. They are taken (somewhat altered and shortened) from the service “daily used in the Queen’s house”. They were published in 1552: but the Queen must have been Catharine Parr, though she actually died in 1548.
Almighty and everlasting God, who not only givest every good and perfect gift, but also dost increase those gifts that thou hast given: Increase in us the gift of faith, that we may truly believe in thee, and in thy promises made unto us: and that neither by our negligence, nor infirmity of the flesh, nor grievousness of temptation, we be driven from faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Grant unto us, O merciful God, knowledge and true understanding of thy word, that we may know what thy will is, and also may show forth in our lives those things that we do know: that we be not only knowers of thy word, but also doers of the same; by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
O Almighty God, who hast prepared everlasting life to all those that be thy faithful servants: Grant unto us sure hope of the life everlasting, that we, being in this world, may have some foretaste thereof in our hearts: not by our deserving, but by the merits of our Saviour and Lord Jesu Christ.
Household of King Henry VIII
Thomas Cromwell repeated some form of the prayer following just before he was beheaded on Tower-hill, 28 July 1551.
O LORD Jesu, who art the only health of all men living, and the everlasting life of them which die in thy faith, I give myself wholly unto thy will: being sure that the thing cannot perish, which is committed unto thy mercy.
Thou, merciful Lord, wert born for my sake: Thou didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake: Thou didst preach and teach, thou didst pray and fast, for my sake: Thou didst all good works and deeds for my sake: and, finally, thou gavest thy most precious body to die, and thy blood to be shed on the cross, for my sake. Now, most merciful Saviour, let all these things profit me, which thou freely hast given me. O Lord, into thy hands I commit my soul.
Primer 1559 (abbreviated)
O Gracious God and most merciful Father, who hast vouchsafed us the rich and precious jewel of thy holy word: Assist us with thy Spirit that it may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to thine own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect building of thy Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the same Jesus Christ’s sake.
Preface to Geneva Bible. Sometimes attributed to King Edward VI (1537–53)
O God of heaven and earth, that providest greatly for mankind and wouldest not that all things should be found in one region, to the end that one should have need of another: We beseech thee bring it to pass that by the friendly means and free passage of trade, searching and carrying both over the land and the sea, friendship may be established among all men, and everyone seek to gratify all, to their own mutual benefits and peace, and to thy glory, which never shall have an end.
Adapted from “the Letter Missive which the right noble Prince Edward the Sixt sent to the Kings, Princes, and other Potentates, inhabiting the Northwest partes of the worlde, toward the mighty Empire of Cathay, at such time as Sir Hugh Willoughby, knight, and Richard Chancelor with their company attempted the voyage thither in the yeere of Christ 1553”.
O Merciful God, grant me to covet with a fervent mind those things which truly please thee, to search them wisely, to know them truly, and to fulfill them perfectly, to the laud and glory of thy Name.
Let that labour delight me, which is for thee, and let all the rest weary me, which is not in thee. My most loving Lord and God, give me a waking heart, that no curious thought withdraw me from thee; let it be so strong, that no unworthy affliction draw me backward; so stable, that no tribulation break it. Grant me understanding* to know thee, diligence to seek thee, a way of life** to please thee, and, finally, hope to embrace thee:
for the sake of our only Saviour, Jesu Christ.
Primer, 1559. (Adapted from the Latin of Thomas Aquinas, and in a large degree translated into English by Queen Mary at the age of eleven.)
*1559 reads ‘wit’: the Latin is intelligentiam.
**1559 reads “conversation”: Latin consuetudinem vitae.
Merciful God, be thou now unto us a strong tower of defence. Give us grace to await thy leisure, and patiently to bear what thou doest unto us, nothing doubting thy goodness towards us. Therefore do with us in all things as thou wilt: Only arm us, we beseech thee, with thy armour, that we may stand fast; above all things taking to us the shield of faith, praying always that we may refer ourselves wholly to thy will, being assuredly persuaded that all thou doest cannot but be well. And unto thee be all honour and glory.
Lady Jane Grey, 1553 (Beheaded on Tower Hill in 1554, at the age of sixteen)
O Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength, send thy Holy Spirit into our hearts; that when we must join to fight in the field for the glory of thy holy Name, we may manfully stand strengthened by thee, in the confession of thy faith, and of thy truth, to our life’s end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bishop Ridley (martyred 1555)
God grant us all to do and suffer while we be here as may be his will and pleasure.
Bishop Latimer in prison at Oxford, 1555
God give me grace to stand to my doctrine until death.
God of his mercy restore his Gospel to England again.
From Foxe’s account of Latimer’s prayers
Play the man, Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out.
As Ridley and Latimer were burnt at the stake, 1555
We humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and for the glory of thy Name turn from us all those evils which we most righteously have deserved; and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in pureness and holiness of living, to thy honour and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Archbishop Cranmer (martyred 1556). In the Litany.
For the Queen and country
We render unto thee, O merciful and heavenly Father, most humble and hearty thanks for thy manifold mercies so abundantly bestowed upon our Queen, unto this present hour. Continue, we beseech thee, this, thy favourable goodness towards her; keep her in thy faith, fear, and love, that she never fall away from thee, but continue in thy service all the days of her life. Give her grace that she may render up unto thee a peaceable, quiet, and well-ordered State and kingdom, to the furtherance of thy glory.
And to her subjects, O Lord God, grant faithful and obedient hearts, willingly to submit themselves to the obedience of thy Word and Commandments, that we altogether being thankful unto thee for thy benefits received, may laud and magnify thy Holy Name. Grant this, O merciful Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our only Mediator and Advocate.
Adapted from a prayer composed and said by Queen Elizabeth, after a progress, on 15 August 1574, being then at Bristol.
Most omnipotent, maker and guider of all, who alone searchest and fathomest our hearts, and dost truly discern that no malice of revenge, nor desire of bloodshed, nor greed of gain, hath bred our resolution: Prosper the work we humbly beseech thee, guide the journey, speed the victory, and make the return the advancement of thy glory, and safety of this realm. To these devout petitions, Lord, give thou thy blessed grant.
From a prayer composed by Queen Elizabeth, at the departure of the fleet, 1596
O Domine Deus! speravi in te;
O care mi Jesu! nunc libera me;
In dura catena, in misera poena,
Languendo, querendo, et genuflectendo
Adoro, imploro, ut liberes me!
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–87) (written just before her execution)
A partial translation of Queen Mary’s prayer
O Lord my God, I hope in thee;
My dear Lord Jesus, set me free;
In chains, in pains,
I long for thee.
On beaded knee
I adore thee, implore thee
To set me free.
Give ear, O God, to the prayers of thy people, that our service may take such good effect as thou mayest be glorified, thy Church, our Queen and country preserved, and every enemy of the truth so utterly vanquished that we may have continual peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
After Sir Francis Drake (1540?–96)
Whereas it is most certayn that the K(ing) doth not only make speedy preparation in Spaine, but likewise expecteth a very great fleet from the Straits ... to joine with his forces to envade England, we purpose to sett aparte all feare of danger, and by God’s furtherance to proceed by all good meanes that we can devise to prevent their coming; wherefore I shall desier you to continew a faithfull remembrancer of us in your prayers, that our present service may take that good effect as God may be glorified, his church, our Queen and countreye preserved, and the enemy of the truth utterly vanquished, that we may have continewall peace in Israell. From aboord her Maties good shipp the Elizabeth-Bonadventure, this 27 of April 1587.
From a letter to John Fox; the martyrologist, by Sir Francis Drake, written on the day when he stormed Cadiz, to “singe the King of Spain’s beard”.
O Lord God, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory; through him who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Based on a phrase of Sir Francis Drake
There must be a begynning of any great matter, but the continewing unto the end untyll it be thoroughly finished yeldes the true glory.
Sir Francis Drake
O God, the Saviour of the world, we beseech thee, for the Passion of Christ, to have us in thy keeping. Help us in danger never to despair, for thou wilt defend and preserve us, and bring us to our desired haven: to whom be all honour, glory, and praise, for ever and ever.
Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540–96). Slightly adapted from a letter written to his little fleet in the seas of New Spain, at a time of great peril, Drake being then in the Golden Hind – formerly the Pelican.
Give me my scallop-shell of quiet;
My staff of faith to walk upon;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation;
My gown of glory (hope’s true gage);
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552?–1618)
To thee, O Jesu, I direct my eyes;
To thee my hands, to thee my humble knees;
To thee my heart shall offer sacrifice;
To thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees;
To thee my self; – my self and all I give;
To thee I die; to thee I only live.
Attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh
Even such is Time who takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust.
Who, in the dark and silent grave
When we have wandered all our ways
Shuts up the story of our days.
But from that earth, that grass, and dust,
The Lord will raise me up, I trust.
Sir Walter Raleigh. Written the night before his execution
O Lord, in me there lieth nought
But to thy search revealèd lies;
For when I sit
Thou markest it.
No less thou notest when I rise;
The closest closet of my thought
Hath open windows to thine eyes.
Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke (1561–1621) sister of Sir Philip Sidney (after Psalm 139)
Act of Commendation
within me to strengthen me
without me to preserve me
over me to shelter me
beneath me to support me
before me to divert me
behind me to bring me back
round about me to fortify me.
Bishop Andrewes (1555–1626)
Let this day, O Lord, add some knowledge or good deed to yesterday.
Bishop Andrewes (c. 1555–1626)
O Eternal God, and most merciful Father in Jesus Christ, in whom thou hast made a covenant of grace and mercy with all those that come to thee in him: O stay not the course of thy mercies and loving-kindness towards us, but continually guide our feet in the paths of thy righteousness, and in the ways of thy commandments, that through thy grace we may be enabled to lead a godly, holy, sober, and Christian life in true sincerity and uprightness of heart before thee; And that, O Lord, not for any merits of ours, but only for the merits of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
From a prayer “made and used by the late Lord Chancellor” Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St Albans (1560–1626)
O God, thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
King Henry V after Agincourt
It is related that after the battle the English army sang on their knees the first verse of Psalm 115 (“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give the praise”).
O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
William Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI
O Thou, whose captain I account myself ...
To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes;
Sleeping or waking, O defend me still.
William Shakespeare, Richard III
Soliloquy of Henry, Earl of Richmond (afterwards King Henry VII), before the battle of Bosworth.
O Lord, never suffer us to think that we can stand by ourselves, and not need thee.
John Donne (I573–1631), Dean of St Paul
A soldier’s prayer
Arm me, O thou God of battles, with courage this day, that I may not fall before my enemies. The quarrel is thine, let the victory be thine. Tie to my sinews the strength of David, that I may with a pebble-stone strike to the earth these giants that fight against thy truth. ... So let me fight that, whether I come off lame or sound, dead or alive, I may live or die thy soldier. Amen.
Thomas Dekker (1609)
O Thou great God of life and death, eternal Maker and Mover, whose will is the first of causes, and whose glory is the last of ends, direct my feet to the place which thou hast appointed. Strengthen then these poor hands to accomplish by pleasure, and let heaven and earth obey thee.
Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639), meditation on Genesis 22
Thou who hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
George Herbert (1593–1663)
Lord, bless this Kingdom and Commonwealth, that religion and virtue may season all sorts of men; that there may be peace within its gates and prosperity in all its borders. In peace so preserve it that it corrupt not; in trouble so defend it that it suffer not; and so order it, whether in plenty or in want, that it may patiently and peaceably seek thee, the only full supply and sure foundation both of men and states, that so it may continue a place and people to do thee service to the end of time; through Jesus Christ our only Saviour and Redeemer.
Archbishop William Laud (1573–1645) (slightly adapted)
Lord, I am coming as fast as I can. I know I must pass through the shadow of death, before I can come to thee. But it is but umbra mortis, a mere shadow of death, a little darkness upon nature: but thou, by thy merits and passion, hast broken through the jaws of death. So, Lord, receive my soul, and have mercy upon me; and bless this kingdom with peace and plenty, and with brotherly love and charity, that there may not be this effusion of Christian blood amongst them, for Jesus Christ his sake, if it be thy will.
Archbishop Laud (kneeling at the block)
O Thou that hast prepared a place for my soul, prepare my soul for that place; prepare it with holiness; prepare it with desire; and even while it sojourneth upon earth, let it dwell in heaven with thee; beholding the beauty of thy countenance and the glory of thy saints, now and for evermore.
Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich (1574–1656)
O Lord, the Governor of all things, set bounds to our passions by reason, to our errors by truth, to our discontents by good laws justly executed, and to our divisions by charity; that we may be, as thy Jerusalem, a country at unity in itself. Grant this, O God, in thy good time and for ever; for Christ’s sake.
Attributed to King Charles I in Eikon Basilike
O Lord, make thy way plain before me. Let thy glory be my end, thy Word my rule; and then, thy will be done.
King Charles I (1600–49)
O Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget thee, do not thou forget me.
Sir Jacob Astley (before the battle of Edgehill, 1642)
Strengthen us, O God, to relieve the oppressed, to hear the groans of poor prisoners, to reform the abuses of all professions; that many be made not poor to make a few rich; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Adapted from a letter of Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) after the battle of Dunbar, 1650
Lord, though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with thee through grace. And I may, I will, come to thee for thy People. Thou hast made me, though very unworthy, a mean instrument to do them some good, and thee service; and many of them have set too high a value upon me, though others wish and would be glad of my death. Lord, however thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for them. Give them consistency of judgement, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of reformation; and make the Name of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on thy instruments, to depend more upon thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are thy People too. And pardon the folly of this short prayer; even for Jesus Christ’s sake. And give us a good night, if it be thy pleasure. Amen.
Oliver Cromwell, on his death-bed. From Carlyle’s Letters of Cromwell
Come, O thou that hast the seven stars in thy right hand, appoint thy chosen priests according to their orders and courses of old, to minister before thee, and duly to pour out the consecrated oil into thy holy and ever-burning lamps. ...
Come forth out of thy royal chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth; put on the visible robes of thy imperial majesty, take up that unlimited sceptre which thy Almighty Father hath bequeathed thee; for now the voice of thy bride calls thee, and all creatures sigh to be renewed.
John Milton (1608–74)
An Englishman’s prayer
Thou who of thy free grace didst build up this Brittannick Empire to a glorious and enviable height, with all her daughter islands about her, stay us in this felicitie.
Eternal God, who rulest in the kingdoms of men: Grant, we most humbly beseech thee, honour and safety to our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth; peace throughout the Commonwealth of her peoples; promotion to true religion; encouragement to learning and godly living; a patient service to the concord of the world; and, by all these, glory to thy holy Name; for his sake to whom thou hast given all power in heaven and earth, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Jeremy Taylor (adapted) (1613–67)
Keep me, O Lord, while I tarry on this earth, in a daily serious seeking after thee, and in a believing affectionate walking with thee; that, when thou comest, I may be found not hiding my talent, nor serving my flesh, nor yet asleep with my lamp unfurnished; but waiting and longing for my Lord, my glorious God, for ever and ever.
From Richard Baxter (1615–91)
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who wast, and art, and art to come, eternal, without beginning and without end: of thee, and through thee, and to thee, are all things: to thee be glory for evermore.
We praise and glorify thee, our Lord and Owner: for we and all things are thine own. We praise and glorify thee, our King and Ruler: for we are thy subjects, and our perfect obedience is thy due. We praise and glorify thee, our great Benefactor: all that we are, or have, or can do, is wholly from thee, the Cause of all; and all is for thee, for thou art our End.
Vouchsafe more of thy Spirit to all thy churches and servants in the world: that as their darkness and selfishness and imperfections have defiled and divided, and weakened them, and made them a scandal and hardening to infidels: so their knowledge, self-denial, and impartial love may truly reform, unite, and strengthen them: that the glory of their. holiness may win the unbelieving world to Christ.
Through our glorified Mediator, who taught us when we pray to say “Our Father ...”
Richard Baxter of Kidderminster (1615–91), from a Form of Praise and Prayer for the Lord’s Day
My dear, dear God! I do not know
What lodged thee then, nor where, nor how;
But I am sure thou dost now come
Oft to a narrow, homely room,
Where thou too hast but the least part,
My God, I mean my sinful heart.
Henry Vaughan (1622–95)
The Appeal of the Saviour to Every Man for whom he lived and died
O my Mansoul, I have lived, I have died, I live and will die no more, for thee. Because I live, thou shalt live also. I reconciled thee to my Father by the blood of my Cross, and being reconciled thou shalt live through me. I will pray for thee, I will fight for thee, I will yet do thee good.
Nothing can hurt thee but sin; nothing can grieve me but sin; nothing can make thee base before thy foes but sin: take heed of sin, my Mansoul.
As I have therefore taught thee to watch, to fight, to pray and to make war against my foes, so now I command thee to believe that my love is constant to thee. O my Mansoul, how have I set my heart, my love upon thee! Watch, hold fast till I come.
John Bunyan (1628–88), from The Holy War 1680
O God, who by love alone art great and glorious, that art present and livest with us by love alone: Grant us likewise by love to attain another self, by love to live in others, and by love to come to our glory, to see and accompany thy love throughout all eternity.
Thomas Traherne (1636–74), from Centuries of Meditations (slightly adapted)
To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved:
To God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood:
To God the Holy Ghost, who sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts.
Be all love and all glory
For time and for eternity.
Thomas Ken (1637–1711), Bishop of Bath and Wells
O God, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand.
William Penn (1644–1718)
With a thankful heart, O Lord, I acknowledge thine infinite goodness in giving me such a portion of worldly goods as frees me from anxious cares: but I beseech thee to give me grace so to receive the gifts that they may never become snares and temptations. Make me sensible of their uncertainty that I may sit loose to them, using them temperately whilst thou art pleased to continue them, and ready to part with them contentedly when thy good Providence shall call me to such a resignation.
John Hough (1631–1743), famous for his resistance to the tyranny of James II. A picture of this is on his tomb in Worcester Cathedral.
Elected Provost of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1687; ejected by James II; reinstated 1688. Bishop of Oxford (1690–9); Lichfield and Coventry (1699–1717); Worcester (1717–43). Refused Primacy 1715.
O God, in whom nothing can live but as it lives in love: Grant us the spirit of love which does not want to be rewarded, honoured, or esteemed, but only to become the blessing and happiness of everything that wants it; which is the very joy of life, and thine own goodness and truth in our soul; who thyself art Love, and by love our Redeemer, from eternity to eternity. Amen.
From William Law (1686–1761), nonjuror
Grant us, O Lord Christ, to desire to have thee as our Saviour, not in the next world, but in this; that thou wilt change and alter all that is within us, as thou didst help the blind to see and the lame to walk; that thy tempers may be formed and begotten in our hearts, thy humility and self-denial, thy love of the Father, the desire of doing his will and seeking only his honour; that so the Kingdom of God may be in us now, and our possession for ever, world without end.
From William Law
LORD, let me not live to be useless.
Attributed by John Wesley (1703–91) to Bp Stratford (d. 1707)
Almighty and everlasting God, the all-wise and all-righteous Ruler of mankind: Vouchsafe to grant the prayer of thine unworthy servant, that, if in the course of thine inscrutable providence, I can contribute, even by the sacrifice of my life, or fortune, or reputation, to the preservation of my native country, to the advancement of virtue, and public peace and happiness, I may always be willing, and by thy divine assistance strengthened, to surrender every blessing and comfort of life, and life itself, into thy most bountiful hands, from whom I have received them all; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Philip, Earl Stanhope (1714–86). The best mathematician in his day
Almighty God, the giver of all good things, without whose help all labour is ineffectual, and without whose grace all wisdom is folly; Grant, we beseech thee, in all our undertakings, thy Holy Spirit be not withheld from us, but that we may promote thy glory, and thy salvation both of ourselves and others; for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Samuel Johnson (1750)
Almighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of men; Grant that we may not lavish away the life which thou hast given us on useless trifles; but enable us by thy Holy Spirit so to shun sloth and negligence that every day we may discharge the task which thou hast allotted us; and obtain, in all our undertakings, such success as will most promote thy glory; for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Samuel Johnson (1752, abbreviated)
Grant, O God, that we may keep a constant guard upon our thoughts and passions, that they may never lead us into sin; that we may live in perfect charity with all mankind, in affection to those that love us, and in forgiveness to those, if any there are, that hate us. Give us good and virtuous friends. In the Name of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Warren Hastings (1732–1818), Governor-General of Bengal (1773–84)
May the great God, whom I worship, grant to my country, and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious victory; and may no misconduct in any one tarnish it; and may humanity after victory be the predominant feature in the British fleet.
For myself individually, I commit my life to him that made me, and may his blessing alight on my endeavours for serving my country faithfully. To him I resign myself, and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Written by Lord Nelson on the eve of Trafalgar, 1805
Let thy blessing, O Lord, rest upon our work this day. Teach us to seek after truth, and enable us to attain it; but grant that as we increase in the knowledge of earthly things, we may grow in the knowledge of thee, whom to know is life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted from Thomas Arnold (1795–1842), Headmaster of Rugby
I Desire, O God, this day
most earnestly to please thee.
What I do, make me do, simply as thy child.
Let me be throughout the day as a child in his loving Father’s presence, ever looking up to thee.
May I love thee for all thy love.
May I thank thee, if not in words, yet in my heart, for such gift of love, for each comfort which thou allowest me day by day.
Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800–52)
O God the Father of the forsaken, who dost teach us that love towards man is the bond of perfectness, and the imitation of thyself: Open our eyes and touch our hearts that we may see and do the things which belong to our peace. Strengthen us in the work which we have undertaken: give us wisdom, perseverance, faith, and zeal, and in thine own time and according to thy pleasure prosper the issue; for the love of thy Son Jesus Christ.
Lord Shaftesbury, friend of the poor (1801–85)
Lord, give us faith that right makes might.
From Abraham Lincoln (1809–65)
Grant, O merciful God, that with malice toward none, with charity to all, with firmness in the right as thou givest us to see the right, we may strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; [to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan;] to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From the speech of Abraham Lincoln at his second inauguration as President, 4 March 1865
Grant, O God, that we may wait patiently, as servants standing before their lord, to know thy will; that we may welcome all truth, under whatever outward forms it may be uttered; that we may bless every good deed, by whomsoever it may be done; that we may rise above all party strife to the contemplation of the eternal Truth and Goodness; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Charles Kingsley (1819–75)
Lift up our hearts, O Christ, above the false shows of things, above laziness and fear, above selfishness and covetousness, above custom and fashion, up to the everlasting Truth that thou art; that so we may live joyfully and freely, in the faith that thou art our King and our Saviour, our Example and our Judge; and that, so long as we are loyal to thee, all will be well with us in this world and in all worlds to come.
Stir us up to offer to thee, O Lord, our bodies, our souls, our spirits, in all we love and all we learn, in all we plan and all we do, to offer our labours, our pleasures, our sorrows to thee; to work through them for thy Kingdom, to live as those who are not their own, but bought with thy blood, fed with thy body; thine from our birth-hour, thine now, and thine for ever and ever.
O Thou Teacher of all truth, Christ our Lord, raise up, we beseech thee, in this our day wise and holy writers, and grant them words and utterance to speak to all hearts the message of thy covenant; and to us give grace to take care what we read and how we read, and above all to hold us fast by the Book of books, and by thee, the very Word of God, for ever and ever.
From a sermon by Charles Kingsley
O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and may cast all our care on thee, who carest for us. Grant this, O Lord, for thy dear Son’s sake, Jesus Christ.
Christina Rossetti (1830–94)
O Lord God, grant us always, whatever the world may say, to content ourselves with what thou wilt say, and to care only for thine approval, which will outweigh all worlds; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
From General Gordon (1833–85)
The day returns and brings us the petty round of irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces, let cheerfulness abound with industry. Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonoured, and grant us in the end the gift of sleep.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)
O God, the God of all righteousness, mercy, and love: Give us all grace and strength to conceive and execute whatever be for thine honour and the welfare of the nation; that we may become at last, through the merits and intercession of our common Redeemer, a great and a happy, because a wise and understanding people; to thy honour and glory.
Lord Salisbury (1830–1903)
Grant us, O Lord
in thought, faith;
in word, wisdom;
in deed, courage;
in life, service:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Inscription on a column in front of the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi
The two prayers following were used at the historic meeting of Mr Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt on board the Prince of Wales, Sunday, to August 1941.
O Lord God, whose compassions fail not: Support, we entreat thee, the peoples on whom the terrors of invasion have fallen; and if their liberty be lost to the oppressor, let not their spirit and hope be broken, but stayed upon thy strength till the day of deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Stablish our hearts, O God, in the day of battle, and strengthen our resolve, that we fight not in enmity against men, but against the powers of darkness enslaving the souls of men; till all enmity and oppression be done away; and the peoples of the world be set free from fear, to serve one another; as children of one Father who is above all and through all and in all, our God for ever and ever.
DOXOLOGIES AND OTHER ENDINGS FROM THE BIBLE
The Lord bless us and keep us: the Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us: the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace.
Blessed be the Lord God, who only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be the Name of his Majesty for ever; and all the earth shall be filled with his Majesty. Amen. Amen.
The Lord preserve our going out, and our coming in: from this time forth for evermore.
BLESSED be the name of God for ever and ever.
BLESSED is God that liveth for ever; and blessed is his kingdom.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore.
2 Cor. 13
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, to him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his Own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, unto him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.
Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.
For other endings, not from the Bible, see two above by Bishop Ken.
ON THE FORM AND STRUCTURE OF PRAYERS
From the Cambridgeshire Syllabus of Religious Teaching for Schools, 1939, pp. 17–19: by permission of the Cambridgeshire Education Committee
The form and diction of the spoken prayer are of greater importance to the act of worship than is commonly supposed. There are five main types.
I. The Collect. This is a highly developed form of great beauty and with a full and unified content. A “regular” Collect consists of five parts: (1) The address to God; expanded (2) by a relative clause indicating the special grounds on which we approach him; (3) the petition; (4) the purpose of our petition; (5) the ending; thus:
(1) O God, (2) who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; (3) pour into our hearts such love toward thee, (4) that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; (5) through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This “regular” form is capable of infinite variation, by the reduplication or omission of parts 2, 3, and 4, as may be seen at once by reference to the Collects in the Prayer Book. Nevertheless the Collect keeps always its unity and its ordered development, enriched, if the best examples be taken as standard, by beauty of rhythm, and colour in expression.
The Collect, for all its complexity, is a single sentence without a full-stop in it. In saying it, however, full weight must be given to its lesser stops.
II. The Prayer on the other hand is a series of parallel sentences, whether they be petitions or confessions or thanksgivings or all in turn; e.g. the General Confession, the General Thanksgiving, the Prayer for all Sorts and Conditions of Men, and the Lord’s Prayer itself.
Though this would seem a simpler and more natural form for public prayer, dignity, rhythm, colour, and, above all, unity are in practice more difficult to create or sustain in it; and many modern prayers do not stand the test of frequent repetition well.
III. The Litany form has the advantage of giving a part to the “congregation” as well as to the “minister”. This should be of special value in school devotions, and is capable of large extension in form and matter. But for this purpose a printed copy of the Litany to be used should be in the hand of the “congregation”. It is one of the strengths of the book we recommend, The Daily Service, that it is so rich in devotions of this nature.
IV. Closely allied to Litanies, but even freer in form, are Biddings, a giving out of a list of subjects for intercession or thanksgiving. These may be interspersed with such responses as Lord, hear us or We thank thee, O God; and are suitably followed and summed up by the Lord’s Prayer, or Glory be to the Father....
V. The Act is a type of prayer particularly suitable for all to say together or responsorially, in frame or expression having something akin to a refrain. A famous ancient example, and one that may well be learned by heart by schools, is: God be in my head, and in my understanding ... to be found in all collections.
In addition to these main types, corporate prayer can be varied, enlivened, and enriched:
(i) By appropriate Sentences from Scripture or other Christian writings – e.g. an Opening Sentence may properly give out the main theme of the day’s subject of prayer.
(ii) By “Arrow Prayers”, short pointed utterances or aspirations. Into this category falls Sir Jacob Astley’s prayer before the battle of Edgehill, O Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget thee, do not thou forget me. A modern example illustrates their antithetical or epigrammatical tendency, O Lord, help us to be masters of ourselves that we may be the servants of others (Alec Paterson): but they may be simple straightforward aspirations such as O Lord, direct our hearts into the love of God (cf. 2 Thess. 3:5).
(iii) By that simple form of responsory usually called Versicle and Response, of which almost any verse of any psalm provides an example, e.g.:
V. Praise the Lord, O my soul;
R. And all that is within me praise his holy Name.
Such versicles can stand by themselves, or may be used before a collect or prayer to announce its subject.
(iv) By the Ending, whether it be some form of commendation to God, such as that so well known as “the Grace”; or a sentence such as The Lord be with our going out and our coming in from this time forth for evermore; or a scriptural doxology; or a responsory such as:
V. Let us bless the Lord;
R. Thanks be to God.
Amongst modern prayers much discrimination is needed. Those which seek to impress themselves by romantic and high-flown language, such as “gallant and high-hearted happiness”, should be used at most only occasionally; artificiality must be avoided. For the young, prayers ought usually to be brief and direct; but that is no reason why they should be commonplace or dull.
Finally, however good or indifferent the prayer may be, it may be ruined or redeemed by the way in which it is said.
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