For Absent Friends

O blessed Lord,
you have commanded us to love one another.
Just as we have received your undeserved blessings,
may we love everyone in you and for you.

We ask your kindness for all,
but especially for the friends
whom your love has given to us.
Love them, O fountain of love,
and move them to love you
with all their heart,
that they may will, and speak, and do only those things
which are pleasing to you.

Our prayer is cold,
because our love is so feeble,
but you are rich in mercy.
Do not measure your goodness to them by the dullness of our devotion,
but as your kindness surpasses all human affection,
so let your hearing transcend our prayer.
Do what is best for them, according to your will,
that being ruled and protected by you always and everywhere,
they may receive eternal life in the end;
to you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Source: St. Anselm, eleventh century
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

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

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