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Prayers: Ancient & Modern

May the First

O God, who art Thyself the exceeding great Reward of all faithful souls, grant unto us to advance daily to the utmost of our power in godliness, so that we, seeking ever that which is more perfect, may happily attain unto Thine everlasting glory. Amen.

-- Roman Breviary

O Almighty God, without whom we can do nothing, I firmly resolve before Thee to follow more closely the rule of Thy will; to amend my ways; to attend more diligently to the duties of my calling; to avoid all sin, and its occasions. Do Thou, who givest me the will, give me also the power to accomplish it. Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt; that so I may live righteously in this present world, and in the world to come may praise Thee eternally. Amen.

-- Treasury of Devotion

May the Second

O most merciful and gracious God, we beseech Thee to hear our prayers, and to deliver our hearts from the temptation of evil thoughts, that, by Thy goodness, we may become a fitting habitation for Thy Holy Spirit. Amen.

-- Priest’s Prayer Book

Almighty God, who art over all things, Life of all life, - stir in our souls, that we, being moved by Thy Spirit, may see those things which are fairest and truest in life, and clinging thereunto, be enabled to get the victory over that which is mean and base; that so at last, all evil passion and unholy desire, all self-will and contrariness to Thee, may be overcome, and we come at last to that sublime state of willing obedience, when Thy will shall be in us supreme. Of Thy mercy hear us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- George Dawson

May the Third

O Lord our God, who hast bidden the light to shine out of darkness, who hast again wakened us to praise Thy goodness and ask for Thy grace: accept now, in Thy endless mercy, the sacrifice of our worship and thanksgiving, and grant unto us all such requests as may be wholesome for us. Make us to be children of the light and of the day, and heirs of Thy everlasting inheritance. Remember, O Lord, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, Thy whole Church; all who join with us in prayer; all our brethren by land or sea, or whatever t hey may be in Thy vast kingdom, who stand in need of Thy grace and succour. Pour out upon them the riches of Thy mercy, so that we, redeemed in soul and body, and steadfast in faith, may ever praise Thy wonderful and holy name. Amen.

-- Greek Church

May the Fourth

O Lord, because being compassed with infirmities we oftentimes sin and ask pardon, help us to forgive as we would be forgiven; neither mentioning old offences committed against us, nor dwelling upon them in thought, not being influenced by them in heart: but loving our brother freely as Thou freely lovest us. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

O Blessed Lord, I beseech Thee to pour down upon me such grace as may not only cleanse this life of mine, but beautify it a little, if it be Thy will, - before I go hence and am no more seen. Grant that I may love Thee with all my heart and soul and mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself - and that I may persevere unto the end; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

-- James Skinner (1818-1882)

May the Fifth

Nothing, O Lord, is liker to Thy holy nature than the mind that is settled in quietness. Thou hast called us into that quietness and peace of Thine, from out of the turmoils of this world, as it were, from out of storms into a haven; which is such a peace as the world cannot give, and as passeth all capacity of man. Grant now, O merciful Father, that, through Thine exceeding goodness, our minds may yield themselves obedient unto Thee without striving; and that they may quietly rise into that sovereign rest of Thine above. Grant that nothing may disturb or disquiet them here beneath; but that all things may be quiet and calm through that peace of Thine. Amen.

-- A Book of Christian Prayers, A.D. 1578

May the Sixth

O Gracious Father, keep me through Thy Holy Spirit; keep my heart soft and tender now in health and amidst the bustle of the world; keep the thought of Thyself present to me as my Father in Jesus Christ; and keep alive in me a spirit of love and meekness to all men, that I may be at once gentle and active and firm. O strengthen me to bear pain, or sickness, or danger, or whatever Thou shalt be pleased to lay upon me, as Christ’s soldier and servant; and let my faith overcome the world daily. Perfect and bless the work of Thy Spirit in the hearts of all Thy people and may Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. I pray for this, and for all that Thou seest me to need, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

-- Thomas Arnold

May the Seventh

O Lord, help us by prayer to hold Thee fast, and by love to cleave steadfastly unto Thee, our ever-present Aid. We entreat Thee, when Thy Providences are dark to our eyes strengthen our faith; and whatever portion Thou allottest to us, give us grace to say, It is enough. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

O God, whose mercy reacheth unto the heavens, and Thy righteousness unto the clouds, teach me to abhor everything which is evil, and to set myself in every good way; that, my trust being under the shadow of Thy wings, I may rejoice in Thy loving-kindness all the days of my life; and at last may be satisfied with the plenteousness of Thy house, and in the light of Thy countenance may see everlasting light, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

May the Eighth

Almighty God, by whose word all things work, by whose guidance all things go, so order our inward life, that we may be enabled to understand the things that we see; and by Thy guidance in the spiritual life and in charity, so order what there is disordered in our lives, so bring our minds to the truth, our consciences to the law, our eyes to the light, and our hearts to Thy true love, that, amidst the seeming discords of life, we may hear the music of the heavenly will, and catch ofttimes the charms of the heavenly order. So give us hope that we may pass on through time, into the higher and better education of the eternal life to come, and that at last we may know those things that are hidden, and which now we cannot know, and learn the glorious beauty and the glorious loving of the eternal years. Amen.

-- George Dawson

May the Ninth

  I offer up unto Thee my prayers and intercessions, for those especially who have in any matter hurt, grieved, or found fault with me, or who have done me any damage or displeasure.
  For all those also whom, at any time, I may have vexed, troubled, burdened, and scandalized, by words or deeds, knowingly or in ignorance; that Thou wouldst grant us all equally pardon for our sins, and for our offences against each other.
  Take away from our hearts, O Lord, all suspiciousness, indignation, wrath, and contention, and whatsoever may hurt charity, and lessen brotherly love.
  Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on those that crave Thy mercy, give grace unto them that stand in need thereof, and make us such as that we may be worthy to enjoy Thy grace, and go forward to life eternal. Amen.

-- Thomas a Kempis

May the Tenth

The fetters Thou imposest, O Lord, are wings of freedom. There is no liberty like the liberty of being bound to go. When Thou layest upon me the sense of obligation, that moment Thou sayest that I must, my heart says, “I can.” My strength is proportionate to the strength of those cords that bind me. I am never so unrestrained as when I am constrained by Thy love. Evermore, Thou Divine Spirit, guide me by this instinct of the right. Put round about my heart the cord of Thy captivating love, and draw me whither in my own light I would not go. Bind me to Thyself as Thou bindest the planets to the sun, that it may become the very law of my nature to be led by Thee. May I be content to know that goodness and mercy shall follow me without waiting to see them in advance of me. Amen.

-- George Matheson

May the Eleventh

We ask not, O Father, for health or life. We make an offering to Thee of all our days. Thou hast counted them. We would know nothing more. All we ask is to die rather than live unfaithful to Thee; and, if it be Thy will that we depart, let us die in patience and love. Almighty God, who holdest in Thy hand the keys of the grave to open and close it at Thy will, give us not life, if we shall love it too well. Living or dying we would be Thine. Amen.

-- Francois de la Mothe Fenelon

O God, Author of eternal light, do Thou shed forth continual day upon us who watch for Thee; that our lips may praise Thee, our life may bless Thee, our meditations may glorify Thee; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Sarum Breviary, A.D. 1085

May the Twelfth

O Lord, with whom are Strength and Wisdom, put forth Thy strength, I implore Thee, for Thine own sake and for our sakes, and stand up to help us; for we are deceivable and weak persons, frail and brief, unstable and afraid, unless Thou put the might of Thy Holy Spirit within us. Amen, O Lord. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

O Thou, who knowest our hearts, and who seest our temptations and struggles, have pity upon us, and deliver us from the sins which make war upon our souls. Thou art all-powerful and we are weak and erring. Our trust is in Thee, O Thou faithful and good God. Deliver us from the bondage of evil, and grant that we may thereafter be Thy devoted servants, serving Thee in the freedom of holy love, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

-- Eugene Bersier

May the Thirteenth

Ah, Lord upon whom all hearts are open, Thou canst govern the vessel of my soul far better than I can. Arise, O Lord, and command the stormy wind and the troubled sea of my heart to be still, and at peace in Thee, that I may look up to Thee undisturbed, and abide in union with Thee, my Lord. Let me not be carried hither and thither by wandering thought; but forgetting all else, let me see and hear Thee. Renew my spirit; kindle in me Thy light, that it may shine within me, and my heart may burn in love and adoration towards Thee. Let Thy Holy Spirit dwell in me continually, and make me Thy temple and sanctuary, and fill me with divine love and lights and life, with devout and heavenly thoughts, with comfort and strength, with joy and peace. Amen.

-- Johan Arndt (1555-1621)

May the Fourteenth

O God, who hast commanded us to be perfect, as Thou our Father in heaven art perfect: put into our hearts, we pray Thee, a continual desire to obey Thy holy will. Teach us day by day what Thou wouldst have us do, and give us grace and power to fulfil the same. May we never from love of ease, decline the path which Thou pointest our, nor, for fear of shame, turn away from it. Amen.

-- Henry Alford

Grant, O Lord, that my petitions may always be for those things that may fit me to please Thee, and not for such as may be the fittest to please myself; and, for an accumulation of blessings, so influence my soul with Thy divine Spirit, that Thy will may ever be my pleasure. Amen.

-- Charles How (1661-1745)

May the Fifteenth

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 our souls, that everything discordant may utterly vanish, and all that makes for peace be sweet to us forever. Amen.

-- Mozarabic, before A.D. 700

O Lord, who art a God ready to pardon, and of great kindness, remove far from me all occasions and effects of causeless and inordinate anger. Give me a mild, a peaceable, a meek, and an humble spirit, that, remembering my own infirmities, I may bear with those of others; that I may think lowly of myself, and not be angry when others also think lowly of me; that I may be patient towards all men, gentle and easy to be entreated; that God may be so towards me. Amen.

-- Thomas Wilson (1663-1755)

May the Sixteenth

We pray Thee to compassionate our weakness, O Lord, to guard us in peril, to direct us in doubt, and to save us from falling into sin. From the evil that is around and within us, graciously deliver us. Make the path of duty plain before us, and keep us in it even unto the end. Amen.

-- King’s Chapel Liturgy (1831)

We humbly beseech Thee, O heavenly Father, to do away as the night all our transgressions, and to scatter our sins as the morning cloud. Lord, forgive whatsoever is amiss in us, cleanse us from our sin, and let Thy Holy Spirit so prevent and accompany and follow us day by day, that we may believe in Thee, and love Thee, and keep Thy commandments, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Goulburn’s Family Prayers

May the Seventeenth

Late have I loved Thee, O Thou Eternal Truth and Goodness: late have I sought Thee, my Father! But Thou didst seek me, and when Thou shinedst forth upon me, then I knew Thee and learndt to love Thee. I thank Thee, O my Light, that Thou didst thus shine upon me; that Thou didst teach my soul what Thou wouldst be to me. Thou, Lord, hast become my Hope, my Comfort, my Strength, my All! In Thee doth my soul rejoice. The darkness vanished from before mine eyes, and I beheld Thee, the Sun of Righteousness. When I loved darkness, I knew Thee not, but wandered on from night to night. But Thou didst lead me out of that blindness; Thou didst take me by the hand and call me to Thee, and now I can thank Thee, and Thy mighty voice which hath penetrated to my inmost heart. Amen.

-- St. Augustine (354-430)

May the Eighteenth

O God, our Everliving Refuge! With grateful hearts we lay at Thy feet the folded hours when Thou knowest us but we know not Thee; and with joy receive from Thy hand once more our open task and conscious communion with Thy life and thought. Day be day liken us more to the spirits of the departed wise and good; and fit us in our generation to carry on their work below till we are ready for more perfect union with them above. And if ever we faint under any appointed cross and say, “It is too hard to bear,” may we look to the steps of the Man of Sorrows toiling on to Calvary, and pass freely into Thy hand, and become one with Him and Thee. Dedicate us to the joyful service of Thy will; and own us as Thy children in time and in eternity. Amen.

-- James Martineau

May the Nineteenth

Almighty God, Father of mercies, be pleased to work in me what Thou hast commended should be in me. Give me, O Lord, the grace of an earnest sorrow, - turn my sin into repentance, and let my repentance proceed to pardon; and teach me so diligently to watch over all my actions that I may never transgress Thy holy laws willingly, but that it may be the work of my life to obey Thee, the joy of my soul to please Thee, and the perfection of my desires to live with Thee in the kingdom of Thy grace and glory. Amen.

-- Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

O God, the Life of the faithful, the Bliss of the righteous: mercifully receive the prayers of Thy suppliants, that the souls which thirst for Thy promises may evermore be filled from Thine abundance, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Gelasian, A.D. 492

May the Twentieth

O God, my God, give me a heart to thank Thee; lift up my heart above myself, to Thee and Thine eternal throne; let it not linger here among the toils and turmoils of t his lower world; let it not be oppressed by any earth-born clouds of care or anxiety or fear or suspicion; but bind it wholly to Thee and to Thy love; give me eyes to see Thy love in all things, and Thy grace in all around me; make me to thank Thee for Thy love and Thy grace to all and in all; give me wings of love, that I may soar up to Thee, and cling to Thee, and adore Thee, and praise Thee more and more, until I be fitted to enter into the joys of Thine everlasting love, everlastingly to love Thee and Thy grace, whereby Thou didst make me such as Thou couldest love, such as could love Thee, O God, my God. Amen.

-- E. B. Pusey

May the Twenty-first

O faithful Lord, grant to us, I pray Thee, faithful hearts devoted to Thee, and to the service of all men for Thy sake. Fill us with pure love of Thee, keep us steadfast in this love, give us faith that worketh by love, and preserve us faithful unto death. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

Almighty and merciful God, who dost grant unto Thy faithful people the grace to make every path of life temporal the straight and narrow way which leadeth unto life eternal, grant that we, who know that we have no strength as of ourselves to help ourselves, and therefore do put all our trust in Thine Almighty power, may, by the assistance of Thy heavenly grace, always prevail in all things, against whatsoever shall arise to fight against us; through Jesus Christ. Amen

-- Roman Breviary

May the Twenty-second

O Shepherd of the sheep, who didst promise to carry the lambs in Thine arms, and to lead us by the still waters, help us to know hte peace which passeth understanding. Give us to drink that heavenly draught which is life, the calm patience which is content to bear what God giveth. Have mercy upon us, and hear our prayers. Lead us gently when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Guide us, till at last, in the assembly of Thy saints, we may find rest forevermore. Amen.

-- George Dawson

O God, of surpassing goodness, whom the round world with one voice doth praise for Thy sweet benignity; we pray Thee to remove from us all error, that so we may perform Thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Sarum Breviary, A.D. 1085

May the Twenty-third

O Holy Spirit, who, in all ages hast comforted and strengthened martyrs and confessors; who hast ever been the sustaining comfort and sweet refreshment of the sorrowful and the suffering; who sheddest abroad love, joy, and peace, in the hearts of the faithful and obedient followers of Christ; grant that we may be filled with all the fulness of Thy gifts of grace; that, by Thy holy inspiration, we may think those things that be good, and, by Thy merciful guiding, may perform the same. Amen.

-- Treasury of Devotion, 1869

O heavenly King, Thou Comforter and Spirit of truth, who art in every place, and fillest the whole world with the treasures of Thy goodness; O Life-giver, come into our hearts and dwell there, and save our souls alive, and unto Thee be glory now and evermore. Amen.

-- Book of Hours, 1865

May the Twenty-fourth

O God, who makest cheerfulness the companion of strength, but apt to take wings in time of sorrow, we humbly beseech Thee that if, in Thy sovereign wisdom, Thou sendest weakness, yet for Thy mercy’s sake deny us not the comfort of patience. Lay not more upon us, O heavenly Father, than Thou wilt enable us to bear; and, since the fretfulness of our spirits is more hurtful than the heaviness of our burden, grant us that heavenly calmness which comes of owning Thy hand in all things, and patience in the trust that Thou doest all things well. Amen.

-- Rowland Williams

O grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who in our tribulation are yet of good cheer because of Thy loving-kindness, may find Thee mighty to save from all dangers, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

-- Roman Breviary

May the Twenty-fifth

O King of Glory, bring us all home, I pray Thee, by grace unto glory. Let our light affliction which is but for a moment work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

O God, who hast ordained that whatever is to be desired, should be sought by labor, and who, by Thy blessing, bringest honest labor to good effect; look with mercy upon my studies and endeavors. Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right; and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose, that I may so do Thy will in this short life, as to obtain happiness in the world to come, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

May the Twenty-sixth

Lord, our God, great, eternal, wonderful in glory, who keepest covenant and promises for those that love Thee with their whole heart; who art the Life of all, the Help of those that flee unto Thee, the Hope of those who cry unto Thee; cleanse us from our sins, secret and open, and from every thought displeasing to Thy goodness, - cleanse our bodies and souls, our hearts and consciences, that with a pure heart and a clear soul, with perfect love and calm hope, we may venture confidently and fearlessly to pray unto Thee. Amen.

-- Coptic Liturgy of St. Basil

Lord, keep me ever near to Thee. Let nothing separate me from Thee, let nothing keep me back from Thee. If I fall, bring me back quickly to Thee, and make me hope in Thee, trust in Thee, love Thee everlastingly. Amen.

-- E. B. Pusey

May the Twenty-seventh

O great and lofty God, Thou Father in the Highest, who hast promised to dwell with them that are of a lowly spirit and fear Thy word; create now in us such lowly hearts, and give us a reverential awe of Thy commandments. O come, Thou Holy Spirit, and kindle our hearts with holy love; come, Thou Spirit of Strength, and arouse our souls to hunger and thirst after Thee, their true Guide, that they may be sustained by Thy all-powerful influence. Arise, O Spirit of Life, that through Thee we may begin to live; descend upon us and transform us into such human beings as the heart of God longs to see us, renewed into the image of Christ, and going on from glory to glory. O God, Thou Supreme Good, make Thyself known to us, and glorify Thyself in our inner being. Amen.

-- Gerhard Tersteegen, 1731

May the Twenty-eighth

O make Thy way plain before my face. Support me this day under all the difficulties I shall meet with. I offer myself to Thee, O God, this day to do in me, and with me, as to Thee seems most meet. Amen.

-- Thomas Wilson (1663-1755)

Almighty God, who wast, and art, and art to come, Eternal Home of man, Refuge of the weary, Strength of the weak, - of Thy loving-kindness and tender mercy grant unto us that we, being guided by Thy good Spirit, and coming with lowly hearts unto Thee, may know Thy truth, feel Thy light, drink of the living water, and eat of the bread of heaven; and that, passing through the gate of death, we may enter at last into the life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- George Dawson

May the Twenty-ninth

Our Father, unto Thee, in the light of our Saviour’s blessed Life, we would lift our souls. We thank Thee for that true Light shining in our world with still increasing brightness. We thank Thee for all who have walked therein, and especially for those near to us and dear, in whose lives we have seen this excellent glory and beauty. May we know that in the body and out of the body they are with Thee, and that when these earthly days come to an end, it is not that our service of Thee and of one another may cease, but that it may begin anew. Make us glad in all who have faithfully lived; make us glad in all who have peacefully died. Lift us into light and love and purity and blessedness, and give us at last our portion whit t hose who have trusted in Thee and sought, in small things as in great, in things temporal and things eternal, to do Thy Holy Will. Amen.

-- Rufus Ellis

May the Thirtieth

O Lord, grant us grave never to parley with temptation, never to tamper with conscience; never to spare the right eye, or hand, or foot that is a snare to us; never to lose our souls, though in exchange we should gain the whole world. Amen.

-- Christina G. Rossetti

O heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength, I beseech Thee, look mercifully upon me, and send Thy Holy Spirit into my breast; that when I must join to fight in the field for the glory of Thy holy Name, then I, being strengthened with the defence of Thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of Thy faith, and of Thy truth, and continue in the same unto the end of my life, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

-- Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555)

May the Thirty-first

We give Thee thanks, yea, more than thanks, O Lord our God, for all Thy goodness at all times and in all places, because Thou hast shielded, rescued, helped, and guided us all the days of our lives, and brought us unto this hour. We pray and beseech Thee, merciful God, to grant in Thy goodness that we may spend this day, and all the times of our lives, without sin, in fulness of joy, holiness, and reverence of Thee. But drive away from us, O Lord, all envy, all fear, and all temptations. Bestow upon us what is good and meet. Whatever sin we commit in thought, word, or deed, do Thou in Thy goodness and mercy be pleased to pardon. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, through the grace, mercy, and love of Thine only begotten Son. Amen.

-- Liturgy of St. Mark (175-254)




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