Now and Forever: Easter Sampler

Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries is a complete set of prayers written for the Sunday and Festival themes in the Revised Common Lectionary. It is usable in worship, and the 208 prayers can also be used devotionally through the seasons of the church year.

To introduce the book, we present Now and Forever: Easter Sampler, which includes prayers from the Easter Vigil through the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd). Individuals and congregations are free to use the prayers on a trial basis, and invited to purchase through Amazon.com where it is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

For the Commemoration of Musicians

Written for the commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750; Heinrich Schütz, 1672; George Frederick Handel, 1759; musicians, July 28. 

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Paul C. Stratman at the Bach statue near St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany

Jesus, help us
as we work to sing your praise,
not just for beauty,
but for the instruction
and edification of our neighbor
with the message of your holy Gospel.
We give thanks
for the many artists,
musicians and poets
who keep your Word
before our eyes
and in our ears.
Even though many of them
now enjoy the eternal pleasure
of singing  your praise
at your right hand,
their songs of praise to you
are still heard here on earth.
When we make music,
help us to put away
all thoughts of competition,
jealousy, and glory for ourselves.
Instead, turn our thoughts to
doing all of our work,
striving for excellence,
bearing your message,
and making all of our music
to the glory of God alone.
Amen.

© 2016 Paul C. Stratman

Creative Commons License
Prayer for the Commemoration of Musicians by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

“Jesus, help us” recalls Johann Sebastian Bach’s practice of writing “J. J.” or “Jesu, juva,” “Jesus, help” on the top of his manuscripts.

“for the instruction and edification of our neighbor” recalls Bach’s preface to his Orgelbüchlein.

“now enjoy the eternal pleasure…” is a reference to Psalm 16:11

“turn our thoughts to…” is a reference to 1 Corinthians 10:31

“to the glory of God alone” recalls Johann Sebastian Bach’s practice of writing “S. D. Gl.” or “Soli Deo gloria,” “to the glory of God alone” on the bottom of his manuscripts.

Praise

I will say to my God, my Lord, and my King,
“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
which you have stored up for those who fear you.”
But what are you to those who love you?
What are you to those who serve you with their whole heart?
In this especially you have showed me the sweetness of your love;
that when I was not,
you made me,
when I went far astray from you,
you brought me back again, that I might serve you,
and have commanded me to love you.
I wish that I were able,
at least for one day,
to do some worthy service for you.
Truly, you are my Lord,
and I your servant,
bound to serve you with all my might.
This I wish to do, this I desire,
and supply whatever is lacking in me,
I pray.

Source: Thomas à Kempis
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

For Faithful and Prepared Lives

Who can tell what a day may bring forth?
Gracious God,
move us to live every day as if it were to be our last,
for we do not know if it might be.
Cause us to live as if we know it is our last hour.
O grant that we may not die with any guilt on our consciences,
or any known unrepented sin,
but that we may be found in Christ,
who is our only Savior and Redeemer. 

Source: Thomas à Kempis
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

The Quiet Hour

Lord,
I offer to you all my sins and offences,
which I have committed before you,
from that day I first could sin, even to this hour;
that you may consume and burn them,
one and all,
with the fire of your love,
and do away all the stains of my sins,
and cleanse my conscience from all offences,
and restore to me your grace,
fully forgiving me all,
and admitting me mercifully to the kiss of peace.

I offer up also to you all that is good in me,
though it is very small and imperfect,
that you may amend and sanctify it,
that you may make it grateful and acceptable to you,
and always perfect it more and more.

Bring me also,
slothful and unprofitable poor creature as I am,
to a good and blessed end. 

Source: Thomas à Kempis
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

Self-Renunciation

If a man may be
like God’s hand on earth,
let him be content with that,
and not seek further….

May we thus deny ourselves,
and forsake and renounce all things for God’s sake,
and give up our own wills,
and die to ourselves,
and live to God alone and to his will.

May he who gave up his will to his heavenly Father help us,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom be blessing forever and ever. 

Source: Theologia Germanica
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

For Heavenly-Mindedness

O most blessed Lord,
help us,
and in your great mercy abolish our sins.
Detach our minds from earthly things,
and raise them to the love of heavenly riches.

Most merciful God,
you favor all true love,
help and direct us
that we may love you above all things,
recognize your infinite benefits,
keep them in memory,
and give you eternal thanks for them.

Finally,
grant that ours may be the blessed life
which will enjoy your love forever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Raymond Jordanus
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.