In the Midst of Life We Are in Death

A Collection of Prayers

In the midst of life we are in death.
To whom may we look for help,
but from you, Lord,
who for our sins
are justly displeased?

Yet, Lord God most holy,
Lord most mighty,
holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Source: Attributed to Notker the Stammerer, battle song from the year A. D. 912, based on the English translation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Most versions render the last line, “deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.”

Original in Latin:

Media vita in morte sumus
quem quaerimus adjutorem
nisi te, Domine,
qui pro peccatis nostris
juste irasceris?

Sancte Deus,
sancte fortis,
sancte et misericors Salvator:
amarae morti ne tradas nos.

Book of Common Prayer 1559 text in traditional English:

In the midst of life we be in death: of whom may we seek for succor but…

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

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