A Prayer for the Privilege of Martyrdom

In your prayers, ask only this for me,
that the Lord may give me strength
that I may not only be called, but proved to be a Christian.
Then I will be seen faithful when the world no longer sees me,
for nothing that is seen is eternal.
The things perceived are temporal,
but the things not seen are eternal.
I write to the churches and charge you all
that I die willingly for Christ,
if you do not prevent me.
I ask that your love for me be at the right time.
Allow me to be devoured by wild beasts,
through whom I may rise to God.
I am the grain of God ground between the teeth of wild beasts,
that I may be found to be the pure bread of Christ.
Then indeed will I be the true disciple of Christ
when the world will no longer see my body.

Not as Peter and Paul do I command you.
They were apostles,
I am the least of them;
they were free,
but I am a slave even to this day,
but, if you wish,
I will be the freedman of Jesus Christ,
and in him I will rise again and be free. Amen.

Source: Ignatius of Antioch, Second Century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953



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Lutheran pastor and musician serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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