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.
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.
[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.
[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.
[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.]
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….
[Augustine of Hippo died on this date in A.D. 430 as the Vandals were just about to sack his hometown. Augustine was one of the most influential theological voices of his day, and, through his amazingly large number of books, sermons, and letters, he has continued to influence every branch of the Christian church since. Today’s prayer comes from him.]
Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite. We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.
What are You then, my God? Most high, most good, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; ever old, ever new; supporting, filling, and overspread ing; creating, flourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things.
You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.
[By the way, I haven’t been able to locate the original reference for this prayer, though I’ve seen it attributed to Augustine in a number of place. If anyone knows where this is from, please let me know.]
[Bernard of Clairvaux died on Aug 20, 1153. Bernard was a famous medieval monk best known for leading the Cistercian reform movement, his theological writings with their emphasis on divine love, and his involvement with the Second Crusade. Today’s prayer is taken from the beginning and ending of a prayer hymn commonly attributed to Bernard.]
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
O Savior of mankind!
O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.
Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize will be;
Jesus be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.
O Jesus, King most wonderful
Thou Conqueror renowned,
Thou sweetness most ineffable
In Whom all joys are found!
When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine.
O Jesus, light of all below,
Thou fount of living fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.
Jesus, our love and joy to Thee,
The virgin’s holy Son,
All might and praise and glory be,
While endless ages run.
Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.
Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.
I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
but I believe so that I may understand;
and what is more,
I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.
You can now access full audio and video from the recent Desiring God Conference, The Powerful Life of the Praying Pastor.
Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
~Augustine of Hippo (354-440)