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Posts Tagged ‘Book of Common Prayer’

Litanynoun / a tedious recital or repetitive series

Who would want a litany? But the Greek root of the word points to prayer. And hidden away in the Book of Common Prayer service for the ordination of deacons is this wonderful series of supplications to our Father.

Five reasons I love it:

  1. The posture – again and again we call ourselves ‘miserable sinners’ and again and again we call out for mercy and deliverance – i.e. divine pity on our wretched and helpless state, divine help, divine withholding of the wrath we deserve, divine salvation to carry us through this life into the heavenly kingdom. It’s the posture of pathetic, dirty, desperate creatures before a holy, awesome creator saviour God. It’s not politically correct but it fits reality.
  2. The plurality – it’s not just the pastor praying it’s all of us praying.
  3. The perceptiveness – that it is not just enemies outside us we need saving from – the real dangers are in our hearts.
  4. The public spiritedness – there is an outward-looking concern for all of life – civil as well as church, unbelievers as well as believers, natural disasters as well as spiritual disasters. There is no sacred and secular. God is Lord of all.
  5. The pleasures of God – in the second half, where we move from calling for deliverance from dangers to calling for God to positively give grace to his people, there is a repeated invocation ‘that it may please thee… hear us, good Lord.’ We are asking the ‘good Lord’ – the happy God, the loving 3, the fountain of life, the servant God, utterly good and delighting in good – to do what brings him pleasure, what is in accordance with ‘the dictates of his delights’ (Piper).

Here it is (basically the 1559 text with updated spellings). Spot the nice Christmas prayer about a quarter of the way through:

 

O GOD the Father, of heaven : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

O God the Father, of heaven : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

 O God the Son, Redeemer of the world : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

O God the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

O God the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three Persons and one God : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

 O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three Persons and one God : have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers ; neither take thou vengeance of our sins : spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.

Spare us, good Lord.

Form all evil and mischief ; from sin, from the crafts and assaults of the devil ; from thy wrath, and from everlasting damnation.

Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness,

Good Lord, deliver us.

From fornication, and all other deadly sin; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,

Good Lord, deliver us.

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death,

Good Lord, deliver us.

From all sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion; from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and Commandment,

Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and Circumcision; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,

Good Lord, deliver us.

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost,

Good Lord, deliver us.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,

Good Lord, deliver us.

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church universal in the right way;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to keep and strengthen in the true worshipping of thee, in righteousness and holiness of life, thy Servant, our most gracious Sovereign and Governor;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to rule his heart in thy faith, fear, and love, and that he may evermore have affiance in thee, and ever seek thy honour and glory;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to be his defender and keeper, giving her the victory over all his enemies;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless and preserve all the Royal Family;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to illuminate all Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word; and that both by their preaching and living they may set it forth, and show it accordingly;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless these thy servants, now to be admitted to the Order of Deacons, [or Presbyters,] and to pour thy grace upon them; that they may duly execute their Office, to the edifying of thy Church, and the glory of thy holy Name;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to endue the Lords of the Council, and all the Nobility, with grace, wisdom, and understanding;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless and keep the Magistrates, giving them grace to execute justice, and to maintain truth;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us an heart to love and dread thee, and diligently to live after thy commandments;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give to all thy people increase of grace to hear meekly thy Word, and to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; and to comfort and help the weak-hearted; and to raise up those who fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to succour, help, and comfort, all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to preserve all who travel by land, by water, all women labouring of child, all sick persons, and young children; and to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to defend, and provide for, the fatherless children, and widows, and all who are desolate and oppressed;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all men;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, so that in due time we may enjoy them;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word;

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Son of God : we beseech thee to hear us.

Son of God : we beseech thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God : that takest away the sins of the world;

Grant us thy peace.

O Lamb of God : that takest away the sins of the world;

Have mercy upon us.

O Christ, hear us.

O Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

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