I.

 

[… ] in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy,

My soul clings to thee: thy right hand upholds me.

 

Psalm 63, verses 7b and 8. RSV.

 

II.

 

Night Prayer, to be spoken on a rooftop under the Sky.

 

My God and my Lord, eyes are at rest, stars are setting, hushed are the movements of birds in their nests, of monsters in the deep. And Thou art the Just who knowest no change, the Equity that swerveth not, the Everlasting that passeth not away. The doors of kings are locked, watched by their body-guards; but Thy door is open to him who calls on Thee. My Lord, each lover is now alone with his beloved, and Thou art for me the Beloved!

 

Night Prayer. From Muslim Devotions, by Constance Padwick, SPCK., 1969.

 

III.

 

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are fatigued by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon Thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Final prayer from the Office of Compline (Ambrosian).

 

IV.

 

Elisabeth‘s prayer.

 

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favourably on thy whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery, and by the tranquil operation of thy perpetual providence carry out the work of man’s salvation, and let the whole world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and all things are returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

From the end of the Shorter Litany II – Scottish Prayer Book.

 

V.

 

Solzhenitsyn‘s Prayer

 

How easy for me to live with you, O Lord! How easy for me to believe in You! When my mind parts in bewilderment or falters, when the most intelligent people see no further than this day’s end and do not know what must be done tomorrow, You grant me the serene certitude that You exist and that You will take care that not all the paths of good be closed. Atop the ridge of earthly fame I look back in wonder at the path which I alone could never have found, a wondrous path through despair to this point from which I too could transmit to mankind a reflection of Your rays. And as much as I must still reflect You will give me. But as much as I cannot take up You will have already assigned to others.

 

Solzhenitsyn’s prayer, circulated at the time of his expulsion from the Soviet Union.

 

VI.

 

Lord, you have examined me and you know me.

You know everything I do; from far away you understand all my thoughts; you see me whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions.

Even before I speak you already know what I will say.

You are all round me, on every side; you protect me with your  power.

Your knowledge of me is overwhelming; it is too deep for me to understand.

Where could I go to escape from your spirit? Where could I get away from your presence?

If I went up to heaven you would be there; if I lay down

in the world of the dead You would be there.

If I flew away beyond the East, or lived in the farthest place in the West, You would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me.

I could ask the darkness to hide me, or the light round me to turn into night,

But even the darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.

You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful.

I know it with all my heart. You saw my bones being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret.

You saw me before I was born. The days that had been created for me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them had ever begun.

O God, how difficult your thoughts are for me; how many of them there are!

If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

Examine me, O Lord, and know my mind; test me and discover my thoughts.

Find out if there is any deceit in me, and guide me in the eternal way.

 

Psalm 139. TEV.

 

VII.

 

O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee.

My soul thirsts for thee, my flesh longs for thee, in a dry and weary land where no water is.

Let me look upon thee in the sanctuary and behold thy power and glory!

Because thy steadfast love is better than life my lips will praise thee and thus will I bless thee: I will lift up my hands and call on thy name!

 

Psalm 63, verses 1-4.

 

VIII.

 

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart,

I was stupid and ignorant, I was like a beast toward thee.

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou dost hold my right hand.

Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards thou wilt receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

 

Psalm 73, v.21-26. RSV.

 

IX.

 

I, for my part, like an olive tree growing in the house of God,

put my trust in God’s love for ever and ever.

I mean to thank you constantly for doing what you did,

and put my hope in your name, that is so full of kindness,

in the presence of those who love you.

 

Psalm 52, v.8-9. JB.

 

X.

 

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name; through Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Communion prayer, Series 3.

 

XI.

 

We do not presume to come to this thy Holy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table: but thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his most sacred Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

 

Communion prayer, Scottish Episcopal Liturgy. Series 2.

 

XII.

 

I confess to thee, O Lord, my .God and Creator; glorified and worshipped, One in holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, all my sins which I have committed every day of my life and every hour, and at this present time, in deed, word, thought, sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and all my feelings of soul and body alike, wherein I have offended thee, my God and Creator, and done wrong to my neighbour. In sorrow for these I present my guilty self to thee, my God, and desire to repent: only do thou, O Lord my God, help me, I humbly pray thee with tears; of thy mercy forgive my past transgressions, and absolve me from them all; for thou art gracious and lovest all men.

 

Daily Confession of Sins. Morning Prayers, from the Eastern Church.

 

XIII.

 

O Lord, I know not what to ask of thee. Thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on thee. My heart is open to thee. Visit and help me, for thy great mercy’s sake. Strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence thy holy will and thine inscrutable ways. I offer myself as a sacrifice to thee. I put all my trust in thee. I have no other desire than to fulfil thy will. Teach me how to pray. Pray thou thyself in me.

 

Prayer for the Acceptance of God’s Will, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, d. 1867.

 

XIV.

 

Prayer of Abandonment to God

 

Father,

I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.

 

Prayer of abandonment to God. Charles de Foucauld, for the Little Brothers of Jesus.

 

XV.

 

Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

 

Paul’s prayer, given by Dr Winifred Rushforth; from Ephesians chapter 3, verses 16-19.

 

XVI.

 

O God appoint for me light in my heart and light in my tomb and light before me and light behind me; light on my right hand and light on my left; light above me and light below me; light in my sight and light in my perception; light in my countenance and light in my flesh; light in my blood and light in my bones. Increase to me light, and give me light, and appoint for me light, and give me more light, give me more light, give me more light!

 

Islamic traditional Prayer of Light, from Padwick op. cit.

 

XVII.

 

The Old Age Prayer

 

O Lord may the end of my life be the best of it,

may my closing acts be my best acts,

and make the best of my days the day

when I shall meet Thee.

 

The Old Age Prayer, traditional Islamic, from Padwick, op. cit. The prayer of an Arab whom the Prophet overheard in passing.

 

XVIII.

 

O Lord, we have waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.

 

Isaiah ch. 26, vv. 8,9.

 

XIX.

 

O Heavenly King, O Comforter, O Spirit of Truth, who art in all places and fillest all things, treasure of blessings and giver of life, come and abide in us. Cleanse us from all impurities, and of thy goodness save our souls.

 

Eastern Orthodox imprecation to the Holy Spirit.

 

XX.

 

O God, Thou knowest that Paradise weighs not with me so much as the wing of a gnat. If Thou befriendest me by Thy recollection, and sustainest me with Thy love, and makest it easy for me to obey Thee, then give Thou Paradise to whomsoever Thou wilt.

 

Prayer attributed to Ibrahim b. Adham, Sufi ascetic, d. 777 A.D.

 

XXI.

 

The Secret Prayer.

 

“May He who knows that which is hidden accept our call for help and listen to our cry.”

 

This is how Rabbi Uri expounded the words of the prayer: “We know very well how we ought to pray; and still we cry for help in the need of the moment. The soul wishes us to cry out in spiritual need, but we are not able to express what the soul means. And so we pray that God may accept our call for help, but also that he, who knows that which is hidden, may hear the silent cry of the soul.”

 

From Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim – Later Masters, p. 145 – Uri of Strelisk.

 

XXII.

 

Night Prayer

 

O God, You who remember and are remembered, O Lord, You who are the aim and desire of my heart, this servant of Yours now lies down to sleep, close by Your goodness, in safety under Your loving kindness. I pray that Your eyes may not close, but by their gaze hold mine from resting on anything that is not You. Increase the brightness of my eyes that they may look for the traces of You in Your creation, and view what is revealed of You to the fullest extent. Truly You are the source of strength. When you appear, how weak then are all other powers! You alone are God, You alone choose and act by right, sovereign over all, all-powerful God. 

 

Bahá’i Night Prayer. Translation from the Arabic, Martin and Farah Turner, 3-Jan-1981.

 

XXIII.

 

If once in my life

I spent a moment

without Thee,

from that time

and from that hour

I repent

of my life.

 

From: ‘What is to be done, O Muslims, for I do not recognise myself?’ Rumi, tr. RA Nicholson.

 

XXIV.

 

Prayer of Dedication

 

Behold, King of all and Lord of the Universe, though totally unworthy yet trusting in your grace and your power, I make my spiritual offering to you and dedicate my entire will to yours. This I do in the presence of your own infinite goodness, in the sight of your glorious Virgin Mother and of all the court of heaven, making this my soul’s true desire, this my deepest resolve (providing only that this is for your greater service and praise) to follow your example in bearing all injuries, all insults and poverty itself, as well as spiritual poverty, so long as your most holy majesty is pleased to call and receive me to such a state of life.

 

Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

 

XXV.

 

I can tell you: Simply stay –

whether in God or close to God;

and ask nothing more,

unless he prompts you.

 

Francis de Sales. In Wisdom of the Cloister: A Monastic Reader ed. John Skinner. New York: Doubleday (Image Books), 1999, p. 252.

 

XXVI.

 

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 that 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 will I 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.

 

­Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

 

XXVII.

 

Great teacher, who is fully enlightened, you listen to my stumbling words, in which I express my spiritual knowledge and insights. I beg you to be patient with my faults, my ignorance, and my errors. Please correct them according to the Way.

Your compassion is like the sun. Its rays burn up my faults, my ignorance, and my errors. Its warmth and light open the lotus of my soul. And as the lotus opens, so I release the fragrance of my gratitude. No fragrance is sweeter than my gratitude for your teaching. To you I render perpetual homage.

Under your guidance I shall strive towards the limit of perfection. May my meditation bear fruit for all living beings.

You, great teacher, are good news. I bow before you. Yes, you are like the sun rising on the dark, snowy mountains.

 

Milarepa 2.4. In Robert van der Weyer (ed). 366 Readings from Buddhism. Cleveland, Ohio: The Pilgrim Press and New Alresford, Hampshire: Arthur James, 2OOO, reading for September 14th.

 

XXVIII.

 

LOVE, who created me to be the image of Thy Godhead;

Love, who in Thy mercy has brought me back after the Fall:

Love, I give myself to Thee to remain Thine for ever.

 

Love, who has chosen me before I was made,

Love, who was born as man and became like me in every way:

Love, I give myself to Thee to remain Thine for ever.

 

Love, who in this temporal world did suffer and die for me,

Love, who has won for me eternal joy and bliss,

Love, I give myself to Thee to remain Thine for ever.

 

Love, who loves me for ever, who intercedes for my soul,

Love, who gives the ransom and are my powerful advocate,

Love, I give myself to Thee to remain Thine for ever.

 

Love, who will wake me out of the grave of mortality,

Love, who will adorn me with the garland of glory,

Love, I give myself to Thee to remain Thine for ever.

 

Angelus Silesius (Johannes Scheffler), 1624-1677.

 

XXIX.

 

Ejaculations

 

  • O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Ps 65:2 AV
  •  O Lord, we have waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: Is 26:8-9 AV
  •  I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness. Ps 17:15 AV
  •  Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Ps 22:11 AV
  •  Oh God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. Ps 63:1-4 AV
  •  .. .in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to thee; thy right hand upholds me. Ps 63:7-8 RSV
  •  When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was stupid and ignorant, I was like a beast toward thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou dost hold my right hand. Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee. Ps 73:21-25 RSV
  •  … you know I have not desired the day of despair. Jer 17:16 NIV
  •  Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. Ps 119:83 NIV
  •  my heart trembles at your word. Ps 119:161 NIV
  •  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ Lam 3:24 NIV
  •  Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live. Ez 37:9 NIV
  •  May my prayer be set before you like incense. Ps 141:2 NIV
  •  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love. Ps 143:8 NIV
  •  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench. Mt 12:2O AV

 

 

XXX.

 

God be in my head, and in my understanding;

God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;

God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;

God be in my heart, and in my thinking;

God be at mine end, and at my departing.

 

Sarum Primer, 1558

 

 

XXXI.

 

O my God, give yourself unto me; restore yourself to me. Behold I love you; and if my love is too slight, let me love you more strongly. I cannot measure my love so that I may come to know how much there is yet wanting in me before my life may run into your embrace, and not be turned away until it is hidden in the secret of your face. This only I know, that I am wretched except in you – not only in external things, but even also within. And all plenty which is not my God is poverty to me.

 

St Augustine, Confessions tr. J.G. Pilkington, ed. J Lovill, Book 13, ch. 8. London: Folio Society, 1993, p. 263.

 

 

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