Category Archives: Prayers

A Prayer for Sunday (St. Ambrose)

[The feast day for Ambrose of Milan was earlier this week (Dec 7). So it seems appropriate that our prayer this morning come from this great leader of the early church.]

Lord Jesus Christ, I approach your banquet table
in fear and trembling, for I am a sinner,
and dare not rely on my own worth
but only on your goodness and mercy.
I am defiled by many sins in body and soul,
and by my unguarded thoughts and words.

Gracious God of majesty and awe,
I seek your protection, I look for your healing.
Poor troubled sinner that I am, I appeal to You, the fountain of all mercy.
I cannot bear your judgment, but I trust in your salvation.
Lord, I show my wounds to You and uncover my shame before You.
I know my sins are many and great, and they will fill me with fear,
but I hope in Your Mercies, for they cannot be numbered.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal king, God and man, crucified for mankind,
look upon me with mercy and hear my prayer, for I trust in You.
Have mercy on me, full of sorrow and sin,
for the depth of your compassion never ends.

Praise to You, saving sacrifice,
offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind.
Praise to the noble and precious blood,
flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ
and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, your creature, whom You have redeemed with Your Blood.
I repent my sins, and I long to put right what I have done.
Merciful Father, take away all my offenses and sins;
purify me in body and soul, and make me worthy to taste the holy of holies.

May Your Body and Blood, which I intend to receive, although I am unworthy,
be for me the remission of my sins, the washing away of my guilt,
the end of my evil thoughts, and the rebirth of my better instincts.
May it incite meto do the works pleasing to You
and profitable to my health in body and soul,
and be a firm defense against the wiles of my enemies.

Amen.

A Prayer for Sunday (John of Damascus)

[This Sunday is the feast day of Saint John Damascene, Doctor of the Church (676 – 4 December 749). He is most famous as one who defended the veneration – not to be confused with worship! – of sacred images and icons. In significance, his writings in the Eastern Church are comparable to those of Aquinas in the West. There are so many of his writings I would love to share; but, today I will simply leave you with two examples of his work, one is a prayer.]

Heal our passions, Cure our diseases, Help us out of our difficulties, Make our lives peaceful, Send us the illumination of the Spirit. Inflame us with the desire of thy son. Render us pleasing to Him, so that we may enjoy happiness with Him, seeing thee resplendent with thy Son’s glory, rejoicing forever, keeping feast in the Church with those who worthily celebrate Him who worked our salvation through thee, Christ the Son of God, and our God. To Him be glory and majesty, with the uncreated Father and the all-holy and life-giving Spirit, now and forever, through the endless ages of eternity. Amen. (from Sermon 3 on the Dormition)

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So, then, He had by nature, both as God and as man, the power of will. But His human will was obedient and subordinate to His divine will, not being guided by its own inclination, but willing those things which the divine will willed. For it was with the permission of the divine will that He suffered by nature what was proper to Him. For when He prayed that He might escape the death, it was with His divine will naturally willing and permitting it that He did so pray and agonize and fear, and again when His divine will willed that His human will should choose the death, the passion became voluntary to Him. For it was not as God only, but also as man, that He voluntarily surrendered Himself to the death. And thus He bestowed on us also courage in the face of death. So, indeed, He said before His saving passion, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me , manifestly as though He were to drink the cup as man and not as God. It was as man, then, that He wished the cup to pass from Him: but these are the words of natural timidity. Nevertheless, He said, not My will, that is to say, not in so far as I am of a different essence from You, but Your will be done, that is to say, My will and Your will, in so far as I am of the same essence as Thou. Now these are the words of a brave heart. For the Spirit of the Lord, since He truly became man in His good pleasure, on first testing its natural weakness was sensible of the naturalfellow-suffering involved in its separation from the body, but being strengthened by the divine will it again grew bold in the face of death. For since He was Himself wholly God although also man, and wholly man although also God, He Himself as man subjected in Himself and by Himself His human nature to God and the Father, and became obedient to the Father, thus making Himself the most excellent type and example for us. (Exposition of the Faith, Book III, Chapter 18)

A Prayer for Sunday (Clement of Rome)

[This is a guest post from Michael Fletcher, a Th.M. student at Western Seminary.]

Clement of Rome was a disciple of Peter and was the 4th Bishop of Rome (ca. 88-97). He is considered the First Church Father and Patristic Writer. His feast days are onNovember 23 (Catholic) and 25 (Orthodox). I could not find any extant prayers written by him; however, he does have some fabulous letters and homilies. The following is taken from the 16th chapter of his first letter:

For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says, Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared [our message] in His presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, and acquainted with the endurance of grief: for His countenance was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that [on His own account] He was exposed to labour, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; [every] man has wandered in his own way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins, while He in the midst of His sufferings opens not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for His sepulchre, and therich for His death, because He did no iniquity, neither was guile found in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to purify him by stripes. If you make an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord is pleased to relieve Him of the affliction of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding, to justify the Just One who ministers well to many; and He Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered. And again He says, I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see me have derided me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, [saying] He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delights in Him. You see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Him come under the yoke of His grace?

A Prayer for Sunday (Chrysostom)

[This is a guest post by Michael Fletcher, a Th.M. student a Western Seminary.]

Saint John Chrysostom (ca. 347 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, is celebrated by feasting in the Orthodox tradition on many days, including the 13th of November. He was such a treasure to the church. He was an amazing preacher and upon his death was given the surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouth.” The following prayer was written by him and it is one of my favorites:

Lord, exclude me not from Thy heavenly blessings.

Lord, deliver me from eternal torments.

Lord, whether I have sinned in mind or though, word or deed, forgive me.

Lord, deliver me from all ignorance, forgetfulness, cowardice, and stone-like insensitivity.

Lord, deliver me from every temptation.

Lord, enlighten my heart, which evil desires have darkened.

Lord, as a man I have sinned: as a gracious God, have mercy on me, seeing the weakness of my soul.

Lord, send Thy Grace to my aid, that I may glorify Thy holy name.

Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the book of life, and grant me a good end.

Lord, my God, even though I have done nothing good before Thee, grant by Thy Grace that I may make a good beginning.

Lord, sprinkle the dew of Thy Grace into my heart.

Lord of Heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful, shameful, and impure servant in Thy Kingdom. Amen.

Lord, accept me in repentance.

Lord, abandon me not.

Lord, lead me not into temptation.

Lord, grant me good thoughts.

Lord, grant me tears, the remembrance of death and compunction.

Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.

Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.

Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.

Lord, cause the root of good to dwell in me – Thy fear in my heart.

Lord, grant that I may love Thee with all my soul and mind and to do Thy will in all things.

Lord, protect me from certain people, demons, and passions, and from any other unseemly thing.

Lord, I know that Thou doest as Thou wilt: may Thy will be in me, a sinner, for blessed art Thou forever. Amen.

 

A Prayer for Sunday (Leo the Great)

[This is a guest post by Michael Fletcher,  Th.M. student a Western Seminary.]

St. Leo the Great (ca. 391 – November 10, 461) helped identify Christ as One Divine person with two complete natures, human and divine. One of his letters, Leo’s Tome, was strongly influential at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. He also met Attila the Hun in 452 and helped ward off his invasion of Italy. And he officially became recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1754. The Church is truly indebted to this servant of God.

This is listed as Sermon 1 and was preached on the day of Ordination. This is very much a prayer and an encouragement to the church to pray.

Let my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and my breath and spirit, my flesh and tongue bless His holy Name. For it is a sign, not of a modest, but an ungrateful mind, to keep silence on the kindnesses of God: and it is very meet to begin our duty as consecrated pontiff with the sacrifices of the Lord’s praise. Because in our humility the Lord has been mindful of us and has blessed us: because He alone has done great wonders for me, so that your holy affection for me reckoned me present, though my long journey had forced me to be absent. Therefore I give and always shall give thanks to our God for all the things with which He has recompensed me. Your favorable opinion also I acknowledge publicly, paying you the thanks I owe, and thus showing that I understand how much respect, love and fidelity your affectionate zeal could expend on me who long with a shepherd’s anxiety for the safety of your souls, who have passed so conscientious a judgment on me, with absolutely no deserts of mine to guide you.

I entreat you, therefore, by the mercies of the Lord, aid with your prayers him whom you have sought out by your solicitations that both the Spirit of grace may abide in me and that your judgment may not change. May He who inspired you with such unanimity of purpose, vouch safe to us all in common the blessing of peace: so that all the days of my life being ready for the service of Almighty God, and for my duties towards you, I may with confidence entreat the Lord: Holy Father, keep in Your name those whom You have given me (John 17:11): and while you ever go on unto salvation, may my soul magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46), and in the retribution of the judgment to come may the account of my priesthood so be rendered to the just Judge that through your good deeds you may be my joy and my crown, who by your good will have given an earnest testimony to me in this present life.

By the grace of God, may our Church leaders have this heart of humility and may we pray this way for the them.

 

A Prayer for Sunday…All Saints Day

[All Saints Day, November 1, is the day which the Church has designated to honor all the saints, known and unknown. We can thank Pope Saint Boniface IV (c.550 – May, 25 615) for instituting this day. The eve of All Saints Day is All Hollows Eve, commonly known as Halloween. In honor of the holy saints of God, here is a prayer from the 10th Century, author unknown.]

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world’s power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.

A Prayer for Sunday (Erasmus)

[The great Christian humanist, scholar, and Catholic reformer, Desiderius Erasmus, has a birthday coming up (October 26 or 28). So, today’s prayer comes from him.]

O Lord Jesus Christ,
you have said that you are the way, the truth, and the life.
Suffer us not to 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.

A Prayer for Sunday (Jonathan Edwards).

[Jonathan Edwards birthday was last week (Oct 5), so today’s A Prayer for Sunday comes from him. But, instead of posting one of Edwards’ prayers. Here is an excerpt from his sermon “The Most High a Prayer Hearing God,” a reflection on Psalm 65:2.]

Why is God so ready to hear the prayers of men? — To this I answer,

First, because he is a God of infinite grace and mercy. It is indeed a very wonderful thing, that so great a God should be so ready to hear our prayers, though we are so despicable and unworthy. That he should give free access at all times to everyone, should allow us to be importunate without esteeming it an indecent boldness, [and] should be so rich in mercy to them that call upon him: that worms of the dust should have such power with God by prayer, that he should do such great things in answer to their prayers, and should show himself, as it were, overcome by them. This is very wonderful, when we consider the distance between God and us, and how we have provoked him by our sins, and how unworthy we are of the least gracious notice. It cannot be from any need that God stands in of us, for our goodness extends not to him. Neither can it be from anything in us to incline the heart of God to us. It cannot be from any worthiness in our prayers, which are in themselves polluted things. But it is because God delights in mercy and condescension. He is herein infinitely distinguished from all other Gods. He is the great fountain of all good, from whom goodness flows as light from the sun.

Second, we have a glorious Mediator, who has prepared the way, that our prayers may he heard consistently with the honor of God’s justice and majesty. Not only has God in himself mercy sufficient for this, but the Mediator has provided that this mercy may be exercised consistently with the divine honor. Through him we may come to God for mercy. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come to the Father but by him. This Mediator hath done three things to make way for the hearing of our prayers.

1. He hath by his blood made atonement for sin, so that our guilt need not stand in the way, as a separating wall between God and us, and that our sins might not be a cloud through which our prayers cannot pass….

2. Christ, by his obedience, has purchased this privilege, viz. that the prayers of those who believe in him should be heard. He has not only removed the obstacles to our prayers, but has merited a hearing of them….

3. Christ enforces the prayers of his people, by his intercession at the right hand of God in heaven. He hath entered for us into the holy of holies, with the incense which he hath provided, and there he makes continual intercession for all that come to God in his name, so that their prayers come to God the Father through his hands….

A prayer for Sunday (Francis of Assisi).

[Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Francis of Assisi’s death (1226). The founder of the Franciscans and influential spiritual leader, Francis left a number of written prayers. So, to commemorate his passing, here is one of them.]

Lord God:
you alone are holy,
you who work wonders!
You are strong, you are great,
you are the Most High,
you are the almighty King,
you, holy Father, King of heaven and earth.

Lord God: you are Three and you are One,
you are goodness, all goodness,
you are the higest Good,
Lord God, living and true.

You are love and charity, you are wisdom,
you are humility, you are patience,
you are beauty, you are sweetness,
you are sefety, you are rest, you are joy,
you are our hope
and our delight,
you are justice, you are moderation
you are all our wealth
and riches overflowing.

You are beauty, you are gentleness,
you are our shelter, our guard
and our defender,
you are strength, you are refreshment,
you are our hope.
you are our faith.
you are our love,
you are our complete consolation,
you are our life everlasting,
great and wonderful Lord,
all powerful God, merciful Savior!

Amen.


A Prayer for Sunday (Lancelot Andrewes)

[Lancelot Andrewes, one of the most influential and learned clergymen during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, died on or around this date in 1626. Known as a man of prayer, here is the beginning of a prayer that he wrote for when you enter a church.]

As for me, I will come into Thy house, even upon the multitude of Thy mercy;

And in Thy fear will I worship towards Thy holy Temple.

O Lord, hear the voice of my humble petitions, when I cry unto Thee;

when I hold up my hands toward the mercy-seat of Thy holy Temple.

We wait for Thy loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of Thy Temple.

Be mindful of the brethren who are present, and join together in prayer with us now:

Remember their devotion and their zeal.

Be mindful of them also who upon good cause are absent:

And have mercy upon them and us, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, O Lord.