A few nights ago, I spent the evening praying with friends. In a quest to stretch ourselves and walk into prayers that we might have no personal ability to voice, we explored some prayers of godly men and women from years gone by.
I’m so grateful that such things have actually been recorded on paper.
Just as an author can sometimes express a thought that I’ve had a million times before, but couldn’t put into words…
Like a song-writer can piece together a tune with lyrics that makes me close my eyes and join in because THAT is what I WANTED to express…
Like a speaker who voices what you felt so clearly that you feel forced to nod your agreement or even (dare I say) shout an “amen”…
Yeah, that’s what some old prayers do for me. They make it easy to say “amen”.
Here’s five beauties…
Old Prayers Made New: Clement of Rome
We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us.
Deliver the oppressed, pity the insignificant, raise the fallen, show yourself to the needy, heal the sick, bring back those of your people who have gone astray, feed the hungry, lift up the weak, take off the prisoners’ chains.
May every nation come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture.
Old Prayers Made New: Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
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;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life,
Old Prayers Made New: Julian of Norwich
God, of your goodness give me yourself, for you are enough for me, and I can ask for nothing which is less which can pay you full worship.
And if I ask anything which is less, I am always in want; but only in you do I have everything.
Old Prayers Made New: Dag Hammarskjold
Before Thee, Father
In righteousness and humility,
With Thee, Brother,
In faith and courage,
In Thee, Spirit,
Thine—for Thy will is my destiny.
Dedicated—for my destiny is to be used and used up according to Thy will.
Old Prayers Made New: Evelyn Underhill
O Blessed Jesus Christ, who did bid all who carry heavy burdens to come unto you, refresh us with your presence and your power.
Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal.
Open to us the mind of God, that in his light we may see light. And crown your choice of us to be your servants, by making us springs of strength and joy to all whom we serve.