The Old Gaelic Blessing (Probably from Ireland, from around the year 500 AD)
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
The Breastplate of St Patrick
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Aurelius Augustine of Hippo - 354-430 AD
The House of the Soul Prayer (Aurelius Augustine of Hippo)
O Lord, the house of my soul is narrow.
Enlarge it, that you may enter in.
It is ruinous. O Lord, repair it!
It displeases your sight. I confess it. I know.
But who shall cleanse it? To whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me, o Lord. And spare you servant from his sins.
Open the windows of my soul and let your light come in.
Let the wind blow forth and bring new life.
Billy Graham - 1918-2018
Billy Graham in New York – 1957
Our Father and our God, we pray that … we all might be conscious that Thine eye is upon us. If God can see the sparrow fall, if He has the hairs of our head numbered, we know that He watches us, that He loves us, that He cares for us, and we’re told in Thy Word that He cares for us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to the cross to die that we might find forgiveness of our sins. We pray … that Thy Holy Spirit will draw all men unto the Savior, for we ask it in His Name. Amen.
Billy Graham in Sacramento, California – 1983
… Our Father and our God, we pray that in this period of crisis in our world that the Holy Spirit will use it to remind us of our need of Thee and our relationship with Thee and we pray that tonight if our relationship is not right that we’ll make it right through Jesus Christ our Lord who came to die on the cross because He loved us. For we ask it in His Name. Amen.
Billy Graham’s Inaugural Prayer – 1997
Lord … remind us today that You have shown us what is good in what You require of us; to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. We ask that as a people, we may humble ourselves before You and seek Your will for our lives and for this great nation. Help us in our nation to work as never before to strengthen our families and to give our children hope and a moral foundation for the future. So may our desire be to serve You, and in so doing, serve one another. This we pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Catharine of Siena - 1347-1386
Eternal Trinity, Deep Mystery (Catharine of Siena)
Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.
I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me. Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!
Holy Spirit (Catharine of Siena)
Holy Spirit, come into my heart;
draw it to Thee by Thy power, O my God,
and grant me charity with filial fear.
Preserve me, O beautiful love, from every evil thought;
warm me, inflame me with Thy dear love,
and every pain will seem light to me.
My Father, my sweet Lord, help me in all my actions.
Jesus, love, Jesus, love. Amen
Love Undefiled (Catharine of Siena)
Eternal God, eternal Trinity,
You have made the Blood of Christ so precious
through His sharing in Your Divine nature.
You are a mystery as deep as the sea;
the more I search, the more I find,
and the more I find the more I search for You.
But I can never be satisfied;
what I receive will ever leave me desiring more.
When You fill my soul I have an ever-greater hunger,
and I grow more famished for Your light.
I desire above all to see You,
the true light, as you really are. Amen.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon - 1834–1892
Help From on High (Charles H. Spurgeon)
You who are King of kings and Lord of lords, we worship You.
Before Jehovah’s awful throne. We bow with sacred joy.
We can truly say that we delight in God. There was a time when we feared You, O God, with the fear of bondage. Now we reverence, but we love as much as we reverence. The thought of Your Omnipresence was once horrible to us. We said: “Where shall we flee from His presence?” and it seemed to make hell itself more dreadful because we heard a voice, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there:” But now, O Lord, we desire to find You. Our longing is to feel Your presence, and it is the heaven of heavens when You are there. The sick bed is soft when You are there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when You are there, and the house of prayer when You are present is none other than the house of God, and it is the very gate of heaven.
Come near, our Father, come very near to Your children. Some of us are very weak in body and faint in heart. Soon, O God, lay Your right hand on us and say to us, “Fear not.” Perhaps, some of us are alike, and the world is attracting us. Come near to kill the influence of the world with Your superior power.
Even to worship may not seem easy to some. The dragon seems to pursue them, and floods out of his mouth wash away their devotion. Give to them great wings as of an eagle, that each one may fly away in the place prepared for him and rest in the presence of God today.
Our Father, come and rest Your children now. Take the helmet from our brow, remove from us the weight of our heavy armor for awhile, and may we just have peace, perfect peace, and be at rest. Oh! help us, we pray You, now. As You have already washed Your people in the fountain filled with blood and they are clean, now this morning wash us from defilement in the water. With the basin and with the pitcher, O Master, wash our feet again. It will greatly refresh; it will prepare us for innermost fellowship with Yourself. So did the priests wash before they went in the holy place.
Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God. Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray You. Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now. What have we to do with idols any more? You have seen and observed us. You know where the difficulty lies. Help us against it, and may we now come boldly, not in the Holy place alone, but in the Holiest of all, where we should not dare to come if our great Lord had not torn the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with His own blood, and asked us to enter.
Now, we have come close up to Yourself, to the light that shines between the wings of the Cherubim, and we speak with You now as a man speaks with his friends. Our God, we are Yours. You are ours. We are now concerned in one business, we are leagued together for one battle. Your battle is our battle, and our fight is Yours. Help us, we pray You. You who strengthen Michael and his angels to cast out the dragon and his angels, help poor flesh and blood that to us also the word may be fulfilled: “The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet, shortly.”
Our Father, we are very weak. Worst of all we are very wicked if left to ourselves, and we soon fall a prey to the enemy. Therefore help us. We confess that sometimes in prayer when we are nearest to You at that very time some evil thought comes in, some wicked desire. Oh! what poor simpletons we are. Lord help us. We feel as if we would now come closer to You still and hide under the shadow of Your wings. We wish to be lost in God. We pray that You may live in us, and not we live, but Christ live in us and show Himself in us and through us.
Lord sanctify us. Oh! that Your spirit might come and saturate every faculty, subdue every passion, and use every power of our nature for obedience to God.
Come, Holy Spirit, we do know You; You have often overshadowed us. Come, more fully take possession of us. Standing now as we feel we are right up at the mercy seat our very highest prayer is for perfect holiness, complete consecration, entire cleansing from every evil. Take our heart, our head, our hands, our feet, and use us all for You. Lord take our substance, let us not hoard it for ourselves, nor spend it for ourselves. Take our talent let us not try to educate ourselves that we may have the reputation of being wise, but let every gain of mental attainment be still that we may serve You better.
May every breath be for You; may every minute be spent for You. Help us to live while we live and while we are busy in the world as we must be, for we are called to it, may we sanctify the world for Your service. May we be lumps of salt in the midst of society. May our spirit and temper as well as our conversation be heavenly; may there be an influence about us that shall make the world the better before we leave it. Lord hear us in this thing.
And now that we have Your ear we would pray for this poor world in which we live. We are often horrified by it. O, Lord, we could wish that we did not know anything about it for our own comfort. We have said, “Oh, for a house in some vast wilderness!” We hear of oppression and robbery and murder, and men seem let loose against each other. Lord, have mercy on this great and wicked city. What is to be done with these millions? What can we do? At least help every child of Yours to do his utmost. May none of us contribute to the evil directly or indirectly, but may we contribute to the Good that is in it.
We feel we may speak with You now about this, for when Your servant Abraham stood before You and spoke with such wonderful familiarity to You, he pleaded for Sodom; and we plead for London. We would follow the example of the Father of the Faithful and pray for all great cities, and indeed for all the nations. Lord let Your kingdom come. Send forth Your light and Your truth. Chase the old dragon from his throne with all his hellish crew. Oh! that the day might come when even on earth the Son of the woman, the Man-child, should rule the nations, not with a broken staff of wood, but with an enduring scepter of iron, full of mercy, but full of power, full of grace, but yet irresistible. Oh! that that might soon come, the personal advent of our Lord! We long for the millennial triumph of His Word.
Until then, O Lord, prepare us for the fight, and make us to be among those who overcome through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of our testimony, because we “do not want to love our lives more than death.”
We lift our voice to You in prayer; also, for all our dear ones. Lord bless the sick and make them well as soon as it is right they should be. Sanctify to them all they have to bear. There are also dear friends who are very weak; some are trembling. God bless them. While the tent is being taken down, may the inhabitant within look on with calm joy, for we shall by and by “be clothed with our house that is from heaven.” Lord help us to not cling to all these things here below. May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house but an inn in which we eat and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.
Lord save the unconverted, and bring out, we pray You, from among them those who are converted, but who have not confessed Christ. May the church be built up by many who, having believed, are baptized unto the sacred name. We pray You go on and multiply the faithful in the land. Oh! that You would turn the hearts of men to the gospel once more. Your servant is often very heavy in heart because of the departures from the faith. Oh I bring them back; let not Satan take away any more of the stars with his tail, but may the lamps of God shine bright. Oh! You that walk among the seven golden candlesticks trim the flame, pour forth the oil, and let the light shine brightly and steadily. Now, Lord, we cannot pray any longer, though we have a thousand things to ask for. Your servant cannot, so he begs to leave a broken prayer at the mercy seat with this at the foot of it: We ask in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son. Amen
The Wonders of Calvary (Charles H. Spurgeon)
Great God, there was a time when we dreaded the thought of coming near to You, for we were guilty and You were angry with us, but now we will praise You because Your anger is turned away and You comfort us. Yes, and the very throne which once was a place of dread has now become the place of shelter. I flee to You to hide me.
We long now to get away from the world, even from the remembrance of it and have fellowship with the world to come by speaking with Him that was, and is, and is to come, the Almighty. Lord we have been worried and wearied oftentimes with care, but with You care comes to an end, all things are with You, and when we live in You, we live in wealth, in sure repose, in constant joy.
We have to battle with the sons of men against a thousand errors and unrighteousnesses, but when we flee to You, there is all truth and purity and holiness, and our heart finds peace. Above all, we have to battle with ourselves, and we are very much ashamed of ourselves. After many years of great mercy, after tasting of the powers of the world to come, we still are so weak, so foolish; but oh! when we get away from self to God, there all is truth and purity and holiness, and our heart finds peace, wisdom, completeness, delight, joy, victory.
Oh! bring us, then, we pray You, now near to Yourself. Let us bathe ourselves in communion with our God. Blessed be the love which chose us before the world began. We can never sufficiently adore You for Your sovereignty, the sovereignty of love which saw us in the ruins of the Fall, yet loved us anyway.
We praise the God of the Eternal Council Chamber and of the Everlasting Covenant, but where shall we find sufficiently fit words with which to praise Him who gave us grace in Christ His Son, before He spread the starry sky.
We also bless You, O God, as the God of our redemption, for You have so loved us as to give even Your dear Son for us. He gave Himself, His very life for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and separate us unto Himself to be His peculiar people, zealous for good works.
Never can we sufficiently adore free grace and undying love. The wonders of Calvary never cease to be wonders, they are growing more marvelous in our esteem as we think of Him who washed us from our sins in His own blood. Nor can we cease to praise the God of our regeneration who found us dead and made us live, found us at enmity and reconciled us, found us loving the things of this world and lifted us out of the muck and mire of selfishness and worldliness in the love of divine everlasting things.
O Spirit of God, we love You this day, especially for dwelling in us. How can You abide in so rude a habitation, How can You make these bodies to be Your temples, and yet You do so, for which let Your name be held in reverence so long as we live.
O Lord, we would delight ourselves in You this day. Give us faith and love and hope that with these three graces we may draw very near to the Triune God. You will keep us, You will preserve us, You will feed us, You will lead us, and You will bring us to the mind of God, and there will You show us Your love, and in the glory everlasting and boundless, there will You make us know and taste and feel the joys that cannot be expressed.
But a little longer waiting and we shall come to the golden shore; but a little longer fighting and we shall receive the crown of life that does not fade away.
Lord, get us up above the world. Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, and mount and bear us on Your wings, far from these inferior sorrows and inferior joys, up where eternal ages roll. May we ascend in joyful contemplation, and may our spirit come back again, strong for all its service, armed for all its battles, armored for all its dangers, and made ready to live heaven on earth until soon we shall live heaven in heaven. Great Father, be with Your waiting people, any in great trouble please greatly help; any that are despondent sweetly comfort and cheer; any that have erred and are smarting under their own sin, bring them back and heal their wounds; any that are panting after holiness give them the desire of their hearts; any that are longing for usefulness lead them in ways of usefulness.
Lord, we want to live while we live. We do pray that we may not merely groan out an existence here below, nor live as earthworms crawling back in our holes and dragging now and then a withered leaf with us; but Oh! give us to live as we ought to live, with a new life that You have put in us, with the divine quickening which has lifted us as much above common men as men are lifted above the beasts that perish.
Do not let us always be hampered like poor half-hatched birds within the egg; may we chip the shell today and get out in the glorious liberty of the children of God. Grant us this, we pray You.
Lord, visit our church. We have heard Your message to the churches at Ephesus; it is a message to us also. Oh! do not let any of us lose our first love. Let not our church grow cold and dead. We are not, we fear, what once we were. Lord revive us!
All our help must come from You. Give back to the church its love, its confidence, its holy daring, its consecration, its generousness, its holiness. Give back all it ever had and give it much more. Take every member and wash his feet, sweet Lord, most tenderly, and set us with clean feet in a clean road, with a clean heart to guide them, and bless us as You will in a divine fashion.
Bless us, our Father, and let all the churches of Jesus Christ partake of care and tenderness. Walking among the golden candlesticks trim every lamp and make every light, even though it burns feebly now, to shine out gloriously through Your care.
Now bless the sinners. Lord convert them. O God, save men, save this great city, this wicked city, this slumbering dead city. Lord, arouse it, arouse it by any means, that it may turn to its God. Lord save sinners all the world over, and let Your precious Word be fulfilled. “Behold He comes with clouds.” Why do You delay? Delay no longer, O, our Lord. And now to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be glory forever and ever. Amen.
On Psalm 46 (Charles H. Spurgeon)
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. It was meet to sing this twice over. It is a truth of which no believer wearies, it is a fact too often forgotten, it is a precious privilege which cannot be too often considered. Reader, is the Lord on thy side? Is Emmanuel, God with us, thy Redeemer? Is there a covenant between thee and God as between God and Jacob? If so, thrice happy art thou. Show thy joy in holy song, and in times of trouble play the man by still making music for thy God”
The Wings of Prayer (Charles H. Spurgeon)
Our Father, Your children who know You delight themselves in Your presence. We are never happier than when we are near You. We have found a little heaven in prayer. It has eased our load to tell You of its weight; it has relieved our wound to tell You of its hurt; it has restored our spirit to confess to You its wanderings. No place like the mercy seat for us.
We thank You, Lord, that we have not only found benefit in prayer, but in the answers to it we have been greatly enriched. You have opened Your hidden treasures to the voice of prayer; You have supplied our necessities as soon we have cried to You; yes, we have found it true: “Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
We do bless You, Lord, for instituting the blessed ordinance of prayer. What could we do without it, and we take great shame to ourselves that we should use it so little. We pray that we may be men and women of prayer, taken up with it, that it may take us up and bear us on its wings towards heaven.
And now at this hour will You hear the voice of our supplication. First, we ask at Your hands, great Father, complete forgiveness for all our sins and shortcomings. We hope we can say with truthfulness that we do from our heart forgive all those who have in any way trespassed against us. There lies not in our heart, we hope, a thought of enmity towards any man. However we have been slandered or wronged, we would, with our inmost heart, forgive and forget it all.
We come to You and pray that, for Jesus’s sake, and through the virtue of the blood once shed for many for the remission of sins, You would give us perfect pardon of every sin of the past. Blot out, O God, all our sins like a cloud, and let them never be seen again. Grant us also the peace- speaking word of promise supplied by the Holy Spirit, that being justified by faith we may have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us be forgiven and know it, and may there remain no lingering question in our heart about our reconciliation with God, but by a firm, full assurance based on faith in the finished work of Christ may we stand as forgiven men and women against whom transgression shall never be mentioned forever again.
And then, Lord, we have another mercy to ask which shall be the burden of our prayer. It is that You would help us to live such lives as pardoned men should live. We have but a little time to live here, for our life is but a vapor; soon it vanishes away; but we are most anxious that we may spend the time of our sojourning here in holy fear, that grace may be on us from the commencement of our Christian life even to the earthly close of it.
Lord, You know there are some that have not yet begun to live for You, and the prayer is now offered that they may today be born again. Others have been long in Your ways and are not weary of them. We Sometimes wonder that You arc not weary of us, but assuredly we delight ourselves in the ways of holiness more than ever we did. Oh! that our ways were directed to keep Your statutes without slipping or flaws. We wish we were perfectly obedient in thought, and word, and deed, entirely sanctified. We shall never be satisfied till we wake up in Christ’s likeness, the likeness of perfection itself. Oh! wake us to this perfection, we beseech You. May experience teach us more and more how to avoid occasions of sin. May we grow more watchful; may we have a greater supremacy over our own spirit; may we be able to control ourselves under all circumstances, and so act that if the Master were to come at any moment we should not be ashamed to give our account in His hands.
Lord, we are not what we want to be. This is our sorrow. Oh! that You would, by Your Spirit, help us in the walks of life to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. As men of business, as work-people, as parents, as children, as servants, as masters, whatever we may be, may we be such that Christ may look on us with pleasure. May His joy be in us, for then only can our joy be full.
Dear Savior, we are Your disciples, and You are teaching us the art of living; but we are very dull and very slow, and beside, there is such a bias in our corrupt nature, and there are such examples in the world, and the influence of an ungodly generation tells even on those that know You. O, dear Saviour, do not be impatient with us, but still teach us at Your feet, till at last we shall have learned some of the sublime lessons of self-sacrifice, of meekness, humility, fervor, boldness, and love which Your life is fit to teach us. O Lord, we beseech You to mold us in Your own image. Let us live in You and live like You. Let us gaze on Your glory till we are transformed by the sight and become Christlike among the sons of men.
Lord, hear the confessions of any that have backslidden, who are rather marring Your image than perfecting it. Hear the prayers of any that are conscious of great defects during the past. Give them peace of mind by pardon, but give them strength of mind also to keep clear of such mischief in the future. O Lord, we are sighing and crying more and more after Yourself. The more we have of You the more we want You; the more we grow like You; the more we perceive our defects, and the more we pine after a higher standard to reach even to perfection itself.
Oh! help us. Spirit of the living God, continue still to work in us. Let the groanings that cannot be uttered be stilled within our Spirit, for these are growing pains, and we shall grow while we can sigh and cry, while we can confess and mourn; yet this is not without a blessed hopefulness that He that has begun a good work in us will perfect it in the day of Christ.
Bless, we pray You, at this time, the entire church of God in every part of the earth. Prosper the work and service of Christian people, however they endeavor to spread the kingdom of Christ. Convert the heathen; enlighten those that are in any form of error. Bring the entire church back to the original form of Christianity. Make her first pure and then she shall be united. O Savior, let Your kingdom come. Oh! that You would reign and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We pray You use every one of us according as we have ability to be used. Take us, and let no talent be wasted in the treasure house, but may every dollar of Yours be put out in trading for You in the blessed market of soul-winning. Oh! give us success. Increase the gifts and graces of those that are saved. Bind us in closer unity to one another than ever. Let peace reign; let holiness adorn us.
Hear us as we pray for all lands, and then for all sorts of men, from the Sovereign on the throne to the peasant in the cottage. Let the benediction of heaven descend on men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Desiderius Erasmus - 1469-1536
A Night Prayer (Desiderius Erasmus)
Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the gentle moon and joyful stars,
and watch over the darkest night.
You are the source of all peace,
reconciling the whole universe to the Father.
You are the source of all rest,c
alming troubled hearts,
and bringing sleep to weary bodies.
You are the sweetness that fills our mind with quiet joy,
and can turn the worst nightmares into dreams of heaven.
May I dream of your sweetness,
rest in your arms,
be at one with your Father,
and be comforted in the knowledge
that you always watch over me.
A Prayer Based on John 14:6 (Desiderius Erasmus)
O Lord Jesus Christ,
you have said that you are the way, the truth, and the life.
Do not let us stray from you
who are the way,
nor to distrust you
who are the truth,
nor to rest in anything other than you,
who are the life.
Teach us by your Holy Spirit,
what to believe,
what to do,
and where to take our rest.
We ask it for your own name’s sake.
Francis of Assisi - 1181/1182–1226
The Prayer of St Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.
O divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive-
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.
John Calvin - 1509–1564
For a life that bears spiritual fruit - Psalm 92:12–13 (John Calvin)
Grant, Almighty God, that since you have kindly invited me to come to you, and have revealed your Word for my salvation— O grant that I may willingly, and from the heart, obey you, and become so teachable that what you have designed for my salvation may not turn to my destruction.
May that imperishable seed, by which you have planted in me the hope of heavenly life, so drive its roots into my heart and bring forth fruit, that your name may be glorified. And may I be so planted in the courts of your house that I may grow and flourish, and that fruit may appear through the whole course of my life, until at last I enjoy that blessed life that is laid up for me in heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For complete submission to God - James 4:7 (John Calvin)
Grant, Almighty God, that I may submit myself completely to you, and from my heart render you obedience. To this purpose may I apply all my efforts and direct all my doings, so that, having finished the course of this life, I may at length come into that blessed rest that has been prepared for me in heaven by Christ our Lord. Amen.
For guidance and protection - Luke 12:6–7 (John Calvin)
Grant, Omnipotent God, that I may flee to you and resign myself wholly to your will; that I may know that you are the guardian of my life; and that not a hair on my head can fall without your permission. May I also learn to ask you for the spirit of wisdom and discretion, so that you may always guide my steps. I am not able to defend myself from the many deceptions that surround me on every side, nor from the forces of the world that oppose me. May I proceed on the course of my pilgrimage under your care and protection, until, removed from this earth, I am taken into that blessed rest laid up for me in heaven by Christ our Lord. Amen.
For perseverance - Hebrews 12:1–2 (John Calvin)
Grant, Almighty God, that I may remain entirely obedient to your Word, and never bend aside from it in any way. Instruct me by the unconquerable power of your Spirit. May I never surrender to any human terrors or threats, but persevere in honoring your name to the end of my days. However the world may rage after its own diabolical errors, may I never turn aside from the right path, but continue on the course to which you have called me, until, after finishing my race, I arrive at that happy rest laid up for me in heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Make me careful and alert - Psalm 23:6 (John Calvin)
Almighty God, while in a cheerful and quiet state, I call out to you. Relying on your protection, may I live in safety. At the same time make me careful and alert, lest spiritual lethargy should creep over me, and my mind and thought be drawn away from meditating on you.
Instead, may I so earnestly seek you, morning, evening, and at all times, that I may advance through life toward the mark you have set before me, until at last I reach that heavenly kingdom, which Christ your Son has obtained for me by his own blood. Amen.
When I have fallen - Lamentations 3:22–23 (John Calvin)
Almighty God, though daily I depart from you by my sins, grant that I may never be wholly removed from the foundation on which my salvation depends. Sustain me, or even raise me up when I have fallen, that I may continue in your ways and always return to you in true repentance. And whatever may happen to me, may I learn always to look to you, and never despair of your goodness, which you have promised is firm and unending. Finally and especially, while relying on your only begotten Son, our mediator, may I be able to call on you as my Father, until I come at last to that eternal inheritance which you have obtained for me by the blood of your only Son. Amen.
John Huss (Jan Hus) - 1372–1415
For Faith and Courage - 2 Corinthians 12:10 (John Huss)
O loving Christ, draw me, weak as I am, to your side, for if you do not draw me, I can never follow you. Give me a brave spirit, so that it may always stand ready and strong. And when my flesh is weak, let your grace go before me, come beside me, and follow after me, for without you, I can do nothing—least of all suffer pain or death. Grant me a fearless heart, a true faith, a firm hope, and a perfect love, so that for your sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy. Amen.
For My Enemies - Luke 23:34 (John Huss)
Lord Jesus Christ, I commit my soul into your hands, for you have redeemed me with your blood. Father in Heaven, do not hold against my enemies the sins they commit against me; rather, let me know that they will be at peace in your presence. O Holy Spirit, enlighten their hearts, so that the truth of the Gospel may open their eyes, and its praise may be spread everywhere, forever and ever. Amen.
John Wycliffe - 1330-1384
For my conversion - Jeremiah 17:14 (John Wycliffe)
Lord Jesus, turn me toward you, so that I may be completely yours. Heal me, so that I may be completely whole. Without your grace and help I can never be truly yours, nor truly whole. Amen.
Lord, give me grace - James 3:17 (John Wycliffe)
Lord, give me grace to hold righteousness in all things, that I may lead a clean and blessed life, and wisely flee evil. Help me to understand the treacherous deceit of the devil, so that I may not be fooled by any of his lies. Make me mild, peaceable, considerate, and self-controlled, so that I may act sincerely for the good of others. And make me steadfast and strong. Finally, Lord, let me be quiet in words, so that I may not speak foolishly, but only what is appropriate. Amen.
Lord, stay with me - Luke 24:29 (John Wycliffe)
My Lord, from here on never leave me, but stay and dwell with me; for your presence is my only comfort and consolation, just as your absence is my only sorrow. O Holy Spirit, come into my heart, and draw me so near to God, that the things of the world may be as nothing to me. Inflame my heart with your love, and there let it burn without ceasing. Come, I pray, for you are my true joy, my only desire, and my sweetest love. Amen.
Lancelot Andrewes - 1555-1626
Before a journey - Exodus 33:15 (Lancelot Andrewes)
Go before your servant this day, O Lord. If you do not go with me yourself, then do not let me go. You, who guided the Israelites by an angel, the wise men by a star, who preserved Peter in the waves, and Paul in shipwreck: Be present with me, O Lord, and order my way. Go with me, and lead me out, and lead me back. Amen.
Martin Luther - 1483-1546
Confession (Martin Luther)
For the Removal of Sins Lord, it is your will and command that we should come to you and pray. So I now come to please you. I ask you to forgive and to remove my sins which weigh heavily upon me. Let them not prevent me from coming to you in prayer. Amen.
I Come According to Your Command (Martin Luther)
Heavenly Father, dearest God,
I am an unworthy, poor sinner,
not worthy to lift my eyes or hands to you
or to pray.
But since you have commanded us all to pray,
and since you have promised to hear,
and since you have taught us by word and example
through your dear Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
I come to you,
according to your command,
obedient to you,
and relying on your gracious promise,
and in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ,
with all your holy Christians on earth,
I pray as he has taught me:
Morning Prayer (Martin Luther)
I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Relying Solely on Christ (Martin Luther)
Dear God, the woman of Canaan was a Gentile and was not among the chosen. As she did not let this hinder her from praying, I too will pray. I need help (and must have this and that). Where else could I look and find it but with you, through your Son, my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen. 7. Obeying the Command and Trusting the Promise Lord, you know I do not presume to come before you on my own or because of my worthiness. Were I to rely on myself I could not lift up my eyes to you. I would not know how to begin to pray. But I come because you have personally commanded and earnestly requested that we should call upon you. You have promised to hear us. You have also sent your only Son who has taught us what we are to pray and has spoken the words we are to say. So I know that this prayer pleases you. However bold I may be in your presence as a child of God, I must yield to you, for you want it so. You tell the truth. I only add to my sins and offend you more when I despise your command and doubt your promise. Amen. 8. For Greater Faith and Diligence Dear God, if only we were as diligent to pray, at least with a longing in the heart, as you are in coaxing, bidding, commanding, assuring, and constraining us to pray. Unfortunately, we are too lazy and ungrateful! Forgive us, dear Lord, and strengthen our faith. Since I cannot pay the penalty, and my name has no prestige, let satisfaction be made in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Take My Soul into Your Hands (Martin Luther)
O my heavenly Father,
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
God of all comfort,
I thank you for revealing to me
your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
in whom I believe,
whom I have preached and confessed,
whom I have loved and praised.
I pray, my Lord Jesus Christ,
take my soul into your hands.
I know that
although I will live this body
and be taken from this life,
I will live with you forever,
and that no one can pluck me
out of your hands.
God so loved the world
that he gave his only-begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.
Our God is the God of salvation,
and the Lord delivers from death.
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
You have redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.
Thanksgiving for Divine Honors Bestowed on Us (Martin Luther)
Dear God, I am a poor and offensive person. Who am I that my soul is named the bride of God, and the Son of God its bridegroom? The eternal Majesty has condescended to come into my poor flesh and blood and truly unite himself with me. This is an honor not even bestowed upon the angels in heaven. From head to foot I am full of pollution, corruption, leprosy, sin, and offense before God. How then can I be considered his beloved, and be one in body with the high, eternal, glorious Majesty? Since you want it so, oh be praised and thanked in all eternity. Amen.
Philip Melanchthon – 1497-1560
A morning prayer - Psalm 88:13 (Philip Melanchthon)
Almighty, eternal God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of heaven and earth, and all humanity, together with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, your word and image, and with your Holy Spirit: have mercy upon me, and forgive my sins for your Son’s sake, whom you have made our Mediator according to your wonderful counsels; and guide and sanctify me by your Holy Spirit, which was poured out upon the Apostles. Grant that I may truly know and praise you throughout all eternity! Amen.
To begin the day - Romans 13:12 (Philip Melanchthon)
I give most hearty thanks to you, O heavenly Father, through your dear Son Jesus Christ, that through this past night you, in your fatherly goodness, have preserved me from all evil, and given my body rest and sleep.
Now I ask that, as you have raised up my body from sleep, you will likewise deliver my mind from the sleep of sin, and from the darkness of this world, that walking in the light of your blessed Word, I may do only that which is pleasing in your sight, profitable to my neighbor, and healthful to my soul. Amen.
Reinhold Neibuhr – 1892-1971
The Serenity Prayer (Reinhold Neibuhr)
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Søren Kierkegaard - 1813-1855
Lord, Be Patient (Søren Kierkegaard)
Father in Heaven! Show us a little patience for we often intend in all sincerity to commune with You and yet we speak in such a foolish fashion. Sometimes, when we judge that what has come to us is good, we do not have enough words to thank You; just as a mistaken child is thankful for having gotten his own way. Sometimes things go so badly that we call upon You; just as an unreasoning child fears what would do him good. Oh, but if we are so childish, how far from being Your true children You who are our true Father, ah, as if an animal would pretend to have a man as a father. How childish we are and how little our proposals and our language resemble the language which should not be this way and that we should be otherwise. Have then a little patience with us.
To Will One Thing (Søren Kierkegaard
Father in Heaven! What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but a half-finished work if we do not know You: You the One, who is one thing and who is all!
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, may You early, at the dawn of the day, give to the young the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may You give to the old a renewed remembrance of their first resolution, that the first may be like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing. Alas, but this has indeed not come to pass. Something has come in between. The separation of sin lies in between. Each day, and day after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion, corruption. So in this time of repentance may You give the courage once again to will one thing.
True, it is an interruption of our ordinary tasks; we do lay down our work as though it were a day of rest when the penitent is alone before You in self-accusation. This is indeed an interruption. But it is an interruption that searches back into its very beginnings that it might bind up anew that which sin has separated, that in its grief it might atone for lost time, that in its anxiety it might bring to completion that which lies before it.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, give Your victory in the day of need so that what neither our burning wish nor our determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto us in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.
Prayer on God's Love (Søren Kierkegaard)
Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves. You have loved us first, O God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You have only loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first many things and every day and our whole life through. When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You – You are the first – You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward You in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first. When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are the first and thus forever. And yet we always speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.
Prayer on the Immutability of God (Søren Kierkegaard)
You who are unchangeable, whom nothing changes! You who are unchangeable in love, precisely for our welfare, not submitting to any change: may we too will our welfare, submitting ourselves to the discipline of Your unchangeableness, so that we may in unconditional obedience find our rest and remain at rest in Your unchangeableness. You are not like us; if we are to preserve only some degree of constancy, we must not permit ourselves too much to be moved, nor by too many things. You on the contrary are moved, and moved in infinite love, by all things. Even that which we humans beings call an insignificant trifle, and pass by unmoved, the need of a sparrow, even this moved You; and what we so often scarcely notice, a human sigh, this moves You, You who are unchangeable! You who in infinite love do submit to be moved, may this our prayer also move You to add Your blessing, in order that there may be brought about such a change in us who pray as to bring us into conformity with Your unchangeable will, You who are unchangeable!
Thomas à Kempis - 1380-1471
Prayer for Discernment (Thomas à Kempis)
Grant me, O Lord, to know what is worth knowing,
Grant me to love what is worth loving,
Grant me to praise what delights you most,
Grant me to value what is precious in your sight,
Grant me to hate what is offensive to you.
Grant me not to judge by what I see,
Grant me not to pass sentence according to what I hear,
Grant me to search out and to do what pleases you,
Through the power of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Thomas Cranmer - 1489 –1556
A prayer before sleep - Psalm 55:22 (Thomas Cranmer)
O Lord God, gracious and merciful, you instruct me to cast out fear and care from my heart, and to cast them on you, promising most mercifully to be my protector from all my enemies, my refuge in danger, my guide through the day, my light in the darkness, and my watchman in the night. You never sleep, but watch continually to preserve your faithful ones. I pray that, in your bountiful goodness, O Lord, you would forgive me for any way I have offended you this day, and keep me under your protection through this night, that I may rest in quietness, in both body and soul. Amen.
For the light of Christ - John 8:12 (Thomas Cranmer)
O Lord Jesus Christ, you are the bright sun of the world— ever rising, never setting— who with one look gives life: preserving, nourishing, and making joyful all things that are in heaven and on earth. Shine brightly, I pray, upon my heart, that the darkness of sin may be driven away by your inward light, and that I, without stumbling or offending you in any way, may walk in the pure light of day all my life. Grant this, O Lord, for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign for evermore. Amen
For willingness to bear my cross - Luke 9:23 (Thomas Cranmer)
Almighty God and Father, your only and dearly beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, willingly suffered death and bitter pain for my redemption and salvation. Whenever you lay upon my back a similar cross and affliction, may I also, following his example, willingly and patiently bear it, as a true trial of my faith, and to your everlasting glory. Hear my prayer, heavenly Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Thanksgiving at mealtime - Psalm 34:8 (Thomas Cranmer)
Lord Jesus Christ, without you nothing is sweet or savory; we ask you to bless us and our meal. Cheer our hearts with your presence, that in all our food and drink, we may taste and enjoy you, to your honor and glory. Amen.
Thomas Merton - 1915-1968
A Prayer (Thomas Merton)
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Ulrich Zwingli - 1484–1531
Beneath your Cross (Ulrich Zwingli)
My God! My Lord! Healed by your hand, Upon the earth Once more I stand. Sin, no more, My soul can own. My mouth shall sing To you alone. Though now delayed, My hour will come, Involved, perhaps, In deeper gloom. But, let it come; With joy I’ll rise, And bear my yoke Straight to the skies.
In a Time of Great Suffering - Psalm 23:4 (Ulrich Zwingli)
Help me, O Lord, My strength and rock; Lo, at the door I hear death’s knock Lift up your arm, Once pierced for me, That conquered death, And set me free. Yet, if your voice, In life’s midday Recalls my soul, Then I obey. In faith and hope I give up earth. Secure of heaven, My life’s true birth. My pains increase; Haste to console; For fear and woe Seize body and soul. Death is at hand. My senses fail. My tongue is still; Now, Christ, prevail. Lo! Satan strains To snatch his prey; I feel his grasp; Must I give way? He harms me not, I fear no loss, For here I lie.
(This was written by Zwingli while the Black Death broke out in Zurich in 1519)
In a Time of Illness - Psalm 6:2 (Ulrich Zwingli)
Console me, Lord God, console me! The illness increases, Pain and fear seize My soul and body. Come to me then, With your grace, O my only consolation! It will surely save Everyone, who Sets his Heart’s desire And hope on you, And who, besides, Despises all gain and loss. Now all is up, My tongue is dumb, It cannot speak a word. My senses are all blighted. Therefore, is it time For you to conduct my fight, From here on, Since I am not So strong, that I Can bravely Make resistance To the Devil’s wiles and treacherous hand? Still will my spirit Constantly abide by you, however he rages.
(1519 – This prayer was written during a serious illness.)
For the Light of God’s Word - Psalm 119:105 (Ulrich Zwingli)
Almighty, eternal, and merciful God, whose Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, open and illuminate my mind, that I may truly understand your Word and that my life may be conformed to what I have rightly understood, that in all my ways I may be pleasing to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
William Tyndale - 1494–1536
Our Father, who art in heaven - Luke 15:18 (William Tyndale)
Our Father, who art in heaven, what a great space there is between you and us. Therefore, how shall we, your children here on earth, banished and exiled from you in this valley of sadness and suffering, come home to you, into the true country of our birth?”
Hallowed be thy name - Psalm 115:1 (William Tyndale)
Father, it is only right for us to acknowledge our sin and trespass. Be a merciful Father, and do not deal with us according to what we deserve, nor judge us too rigorously, but give us grace that we may live in such a way that your holy name may be hallowed and sanctified in us. Guard our hearts, so that we neither do nor speak— in fact, that we neither think nor intend— anything but that which will bring you honor and praise. Above all things, may we seek the honor and glory of your name, and not our own. By your great power, bring us, your children, to love and revere you as our heavenly Father. Amen.
Thy kingdom come - Colossians 1:13 (William Tyndale)
O Father, we feel ourselves— our hearts as well as our bodies— prone and ready to sin. The world, the flesh, and the devil seek to rule in us, and to expel the honor that is due to your holy name. Therefore, we pray, most merciful Father, for the sake of the love you have for your only Son, Jesus Christ, deliver us from this terrible bondage. May your kingdom come— to drive out the sin, to loose the bonds of Satan, to tame the flesh, and to make us righteous and pure. May we hold fast to you, so that you alone may reign in us, that we may be your kingdom and possession and obey you with all the power and strength of our hearts and bodies. Amen.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven - 1 John 2:17 (William Tyndale)
Dear Father, open our eyes and work patience in us, that we may understand the works of your hand, and also patiently allow your will to be fulfilled in us. Even though your strongest cure may be painful for us to bear, still go on with it. Do whatever is necessary for your will, and only yours, to be fulfilled. And forbid us, Father, from following our own plans and imaginations, from acting according to our own will, meaning, and purpose. For your will and ours are often entirely contrary to one another— yours being good and ours being flawed— though in our blindness we usually see it the other way around. Amen.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us - John 6:33–34 (William Tyndale)
Father, have mercy on us, and do not withhold from us the daily bread of love. It grieves us to the depths of our hearts that we cannot follow your will in all things. Please have patience with us, your wayward children. Forgive our sin and guilt, and do not judge us according to your righteous law, for no one can be righteous in your presence. Instead, remember your promise of forgiveness to those who, with all their hearts, forgive those who trespass against them. Of course, we cannot earn your forgiveness by forgiving others, but you are true to your word. In your grace and mercy you have promised forgiveness to all those who forgive their neighbors. In this promise, therefore, we put all our hope and trust. Amen.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil - Psalm 70:1 (William Tyndale)
Father, you know how much temptation comes in times of adversity, suffering, pain, and evil. Deliver us from them all. Finish your healing work in us and make us thoroughly whole. Then, set free from sin and evil, may we be the kingdom of your own people, to praise, honor, and worship you all our days. You have taught us to pray this prayer, and promised to hear us when we do. So we hope in your mercy and trust that you will grant our requests. May your word of truth be upheld and honored, now and forever. Amen.