A Prayer before Preaching

800px-lucas_cranach_d-c384-_-_martin_luther2c_1528_28veste_coburg29_28cropped29Lord God, you have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in your Church,
but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task.
If I had lacked your help, I would have ruined everything long ago.
Therefore, I call upon you:
I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you;
I shall teach the people.
I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon your Word.
Use me as your instrument — but do not forsake me,
for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.

Source: Martin Luther [Die Gebete Luthers, #515]

Source of this version: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/prayers/sacristy.txt

This text was translated in 1999 for Project Wittenberg by James Kellerman and has been placed in the public domain by him. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text.

Also called “Luther’s Sacristy Prayer”

Original in German:

Herr Gott, du hast mich inn deiner Kirchen eynen ßischoff und Pfarrherr gesetzt, du sihest, wie ich so ungeschickt bin, solch groß und schwer Ampt recht außzurichten, und wo es ohn deinen Rath gewest were, so hett ichs schon vor langst alles mit eynander verterbet, darumb raffe ich dich an; ich will zwaar gern meinen Munde und mein Hertz darzu leihen und neygen, ich will das Volck lehren, ich will auch selbst immer lehrnen und mit deinem wort umbgehen und demselben fleissig nachdencken; brauche du mein als deines Werckzeuges, alleyne, lieber HERRE, verlasse du mich nicht, dann wo ich werde alleyne sein, so werde ichs lcichtlich alles mit eynander verterben.



A Prayer to Receive Jesus and His Word as Heavenly Bread

800px-lucas_cranach_d-c384-_-_martin_luther2c_1528_28veste_coburg29_28cropped29Almighty God,
grant us grace to hear
Jesus Christ, the heavenly bread,
preached throughout the world
and truly to understand him.
May all evil, heretical
and human doctrines be cut off,
while your Word as the living bread
be distributed. Amen.

Source: Martin Luther  [Die Gebete Luthers, shortened from #183]

Source of this version: https://zionlutheranwausau.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/epiphany4-2015-sunday-feb1.pdf

Also quoted in The One Year Book of Personal Prayer, © 1991 Tyndale House Publishers (February 28)

Full original prayer in German:

O Himlischer Vatter, dieweil deinen willen niemand leiden mag1 und wir zu schwach sind, das wir unsers willens und alten Adams2 tödung dulden, bitten wir, du wöllest uns speisen, stercken und trösten mit deinem heyligen wort und deine gnade geben, das wir das Himlische Brot Jesum Christum durch die gantze welt hören predigen und hertzlich erkennen mögen, das doch auffhöreten schädliche, ketzerische, Irdische und alle Menschliche lere und also alleyne dein wort, das war lich unser lebendiges Brot ist, außgeteilet werde.



The Empty Vessel


Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.
O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and trust in you.
In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.
I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; you are upright.
With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give. Amen

Source: Martin Luther  [Die Gebete Luthers, #205]

Source of this version: http://restlesspilgrim.net/blog/2011/06/01/empty-vessel/

Original in German:

Sihe, Herr, hie ist eyn lähr Faß, das bedarff wol, das man es fülle, Mein Herr, fülle es, ich bin schwach im glauben, stärcke mich, ich bin kalt inn der liebe, wärme mich und mache mich hitzig, das meine liebe herauß flisse auff meinen Nechsten; ich habe nicht eynen festen starcken glauben, ich zweifele zu zeiten und kan dir nicht gäntzlich vertrauen. Ach Herr, hilff mir, mehre mir meinen glauben und vertrauen, inn dich habe ich den schatz aller meiner güter verschlos sen, ich bin arm, du bist reich und bist kommen, dich der armen zu erbarmen, ich bin ein sünder, du bist gerecht. Hie bei mir ist der fluß der Sünde1, inn dir aber ist die Fülle der gerechtigkeyt etc.; darumb bleibe ich bei dir, von welchem ich nemmen kan, nicht dem ich geben darf.



The Common Table Prayer

“Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest” by Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911)

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest,
Let these gifts to us be blessed.

Source: Common use

Variant: …Let thy gifts…

Variant: …And let this meal to us be blessed.

Original: German, sometimes attributed to Martin Luther

Komm, Herr Jesu; sei du unser Gast;
und segne, was du uns bescheret hast.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_table_prayer

The Seven Words from the Cross

'Christ_Nailed_to_the_Cross'_by_Giovanni_Battista_Cremonini,_LACMA[1].JPG1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”Luke 23:34

O God in heaven,
give us patience
that we do not strike back
with revenge for any false accusations
or ridicule we endure from your enemies.
Guide us to remain faithful to your Word,
to follow your divine will,
and to forgive all who have done us harm;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.




matthiasgrunewald_thecrucifixion22. “Woman,behold, your son!” John 19:26

O God,
your Son displayed compassion
for his grieving mother
when he placed her into the care
of his beloved disciple, John.
Take us into your care with compassion.
Guard and shield us
from all the assaults of the evil foe
and from all enemies and persecutors
who seek to take Christian lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.



titian_-_christ_and_the_good_thief_-_wga228323. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

O God in heaven,
from this vale of tears
we poor sinners cry to you,
“Lord, remember us in your kingdom.”
When our last hour comes,
comfort our hearts with your life-giving promise,
“Today will you be with me in paradise;”
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


7020227245_1cfa1714bd_b4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

O God, heavenly Father,
you have drawn us all to yourself
through the anguished suffering of Jesus Christ,
who cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”. For the sake of your Son,
do not forsake us
when we bear our heaviest crosses and afflictions,
but reach out to us
and uphold us with your fatherly grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


f_holland_day-_i_thirst_28the_seven_words29_cropped5. “I thirst.” John 19:28

O God,
in the parched suffering of your Son Jesus,
he cried out, “I am thirsty.”
Move us, your people,
to hunger and thirst for your righteousness.
Kindle our hearts with your divine love,
that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor rulers
will be able to separate us from your love.
Make us hunger and thirst to serve each other willingly;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

brooklyn_museum_-_it_is_finished_consummatum_est_-_james_tissot6. “It is finished,” John 19:30

O God in heaven,
according to your will in Jesus Christ,
all is finished for our salvation.
May our lives be filled
with deeds of gratitude according to your holy will,
and not following our own understanding;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.





A 41587. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46

O God in heaven,
help us faithfully follow our Lord Jesus Christ.
When you call us poor sinners from this world,
lead us to submit our souls to you,
and to pray with confidence in our hearts,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
even when our voices cannot speak.
Then receive us at last
into your gracious hands;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Joachim Mynsinger of Frundeck (1514-1588) from Gebetbuch, enthaltend die sämtlichen Gebete und Seufzer Martin Luther’s, wie auch Gebete von Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Matthesius, Habermann, Arnd und andren Gott- erleuchteten Männern, Evangelischen Bücher-Verein, 1866, p. 371-372, #603

Source of this version: Translated for A Collection of Prayers. Revised by Johnold Strey.

Good Friday