16 March 2012

The Prayer of the Church from the Church Liturgy

I just love the scope of these intercessions that were a standard of our early LCMS liturgy - these again from the book I referred to in the article down below a bit, the 1881 English translation of the Agenda:

Let us pray.  Almighty, everlasting God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth, we heartily beseech Thee, that Thou by Thy good spirit wouldst govern Thy Christian Church with all its teachers and servants, so that it be preserved in the true, unadulterated doctrine of Thy pure Word, here and everywhere, in order that by it Thy kingdom may be spread among us, true faith awakened and strengthened, and love to all men grow and increase in us.

We also pray Thee, Lord of Lords, that Thou wouldst graciously look upon this our country, preserve it unimpaired in its liberty, and constantly advance its temporal and spiritual welfare.  Take, we pray Thee, all the officers of this country into Thy divine protection.  Make them all a blessing of Thine, and crown them at all times with Thy favor and goodness, so that under their government we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

Especially do we beseech Thee, let day and night Thine eyes be open upon this city [region] and all its inhabitants, and graciously also remember our congregation.  Almighty Protector of Thy Church, continue to be among us with Thy grace and help, forsake us not, and give Thy divine increase to all that is done for our temporal and eternal welfare.  Grant us holy courage, good counsel, and right works.

Into Thy gracious protection and care do we also commend the brethren of our faith abroad.  Be gracious unto them, Lord our God, and prosper the work of their hands.  Defend them mightily from all dangers which may threaten them, and preserve them in the one thing, to fear Thy name.

Graciously bless the education and instruction of our youth, that they may grow up in Thy fear, to the praise of Thy name.  Especially bless in our country also the institutions of the true faith, in preparing faithful laborers in Thy vineyard.

Advance every Christian trade, business, and occupation, and let every one walk in them before Thee in all good conscience, and support himself honestly.

Graciously provide for all sick, poor, widows, and orphans; keep all mothers and young children; be the guide of all those who travel by land or by water in the way of their calling; have mercy upon all those who are in temptations, and those who suffer persecution for Thy name's sake.  Comfort them, O God, with Thy favor and finally deliver them according to Thy fatherly pleasure.

Give Thy divine increase to the growth of the fruits of the land; avert all hurtful tempests, scarcity, famine, war, conflagration, inundation, and other calamities.  Do thus, O faithful Father, remain with us until our end, and let Thy spirit never depart from us, that we may live in Thy fear, die in Thy grace, and at last receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.

All this grant for the sake of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and His precious blood, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth in equal majesty and glory, true God and man, blessed for ever.  Amen.


Chris Jones said...

the scope of these intercessions ...

... is fairly broad, but seems to be limited to the Church Militant.

For my part I prefer the "Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church" from the Book of Common Prayer (1928), which includes this:

we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom.

I like to see some reference to the communion of saints in the liturgy, not just in the Creed.

William Weedon said...

Hi, Chris. As I was typing it out the exact same thought occurred to me. "A pity that it gets us to death but not beyond." It kind of surprises me given how "alive" the 19th century was to that reality - we think of the great hymns that were composed in those years. I'm glad that the Prayer of the Church in LSB tend to do a bit better on that:

We remember with thanksgiving those who have loved and served in Your church on earth who now rest from their labors (especially...). Keep us in fellowship with all Your saints and bring us at last to the joys of Your heavenly Kingdom.

The Rev. BT Ball said...

Perhaps in your new vocation, you might be able to get this little volume as a print on demand from CPH.

Rev. Luke T. Zimmerman said...

Pr. Weedon:

That is a comprehensive prayer, and yet the words are so well-written that it isn't needlessly lengthy.

Since my parish was an English Synod parish (founded in 1899, prior to the 1911 reception of the English Synod into the LCMS), I should poke around the library and archive rooms. Would love to find a copy of this agenda--or at least find out what my parish was using to govern its worship.

I'd echo Pr. Ball's remarks. Getting this into at least digital print should be done.