Show your power and mercy
on all people who are bound
in the fetters of superstition
or the dreariness of unbelief, idolatry, false doctrine,
or utter careless ungodliness.
May Christ come also to them,
and establish among them
his kingdom of light, truth, and righteousness.
O eternal Father,
with your eternal Son and your Holy Spirit,
may you be praised and worshiped
at all times and in all places,
now and forever. Amen.
-Riga Prayer Book, 1707, from Prayers from the Collection of Baron Bunsen. Based on the translation of Catherine Winkworth and found in Prayers from the Evangelical-Lutheran Heritage by Paul C. Stratman.
Abide with us, O Lord,
for it is toward evening and the day is far spent;
abide with us, and with Thy whole Church.
Abide with us in the evening of the day, in the evening of life,
in the evening of the world.
Abide with us in Thy grace and mercy,
in holy Word and Sacrament,
in Thy comfort and Thy blessing.
Abide with us in the night of distress and fear,
in the night of doubt and temptation,
in the night of bitter death,
when these shall overtake us.
Abide with us and with all Thy faithful ones, O Lord,
in time and in eternity.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
— from The Lutheran Manual of Prayer
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.
General information about the prayer
Exposition of the prayer
“How to” practice the prayer
Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
ruler and judge of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In the darkness of this age that is passing away
may the light of your presence which the saints enjoy
surround our steps as we journey on.
May we reflect your glory this day
and so be made ready to see your face
in the heavenly city where night shall be no more.
Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
-from Common Worship
“Lord, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love. Bless us with your strengthening power so nothing may frighten or worry us. We trust that living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things.”
The Great Litany prayer form dates back to (at least) the fourth century and is one of the great expressions of petition that is common in both Eastern and Western Christian traditions. Every service in the Eastern church begins with a form of these petitions in which the congregation responds: “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord have mercy). Thomas Cranmer and Martin Luther both highly regarded this historic prayer and counted it as an accurate reflection of the Christian’s total dependance on God for life and grace. Luther considered it to be almost as important to Christian worship as the Lord’s Prayer. These are ‘sturdy’ words that have held the weight of Christian lament in every generation. This cry to God for mercy is as appropriate today as it will be in the future. The version below is rooted in the tradition of Thomas Cranmer and is taken from the 1978 edition of The Book of Common Prayer. Go here and here for more background on the history and function of The Great Litany.
Form for Prayers of the People
(based on Psalm 25, Colossians 1, and Luke 10:25-37)
Texts for Common Prayer (ACNA)
Common Worship Prayer (Church of England)
Book of Alternative Services (Canada)
The Valley of Vision (Puritan)
A Simple Way to Pray – by Martin Luther
The Divine Hours: Pocket Edition (Compiled by Phyllis Tickle)
Prayer Book of the Early Christians (Pre-Reformation Compilation)
Praying with the Church by Scott McKnight