Who Has Anything but What You Have Given

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O Lord my God, most merciful,
most secret, most present,
most constant, yet changing all things,
never new, and never old,
always in action, yet always quiet,
creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
who has anything but what you have given?
or what can any man say when he speaks about you?
Yet have mercy on us, O Lord,
that we may speak to you, and praise your Name.

Source: Jeremy Taylor, 1613–67 (from St Augustine) in in Daily Prayer.

Taylor’s version, in traditional English:

O LORD my God, most merciful,
Most secret, most present,
Most constant, yet changing all things,
Never new, and never old,
Ever in action, yet ever quiet,
Creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
Who hath anything but of thy gift?
Or what can any man say when he speaketh of thee?
Yet have mercy upon us, O Lord,
that we may speak unto thee, and praise thy Name.

Perfect Love

Grant me, even me, my dearest Lord,
to know you, and love you, and rejoice in you.
And, if I cannot do these perfectly in this life,
let me at least advance to higher degrees every day,
until I can come to do them in perfection.
Let the knowledge of you increase in me here,
that it may be full hereafter.
Let the love of you grow every day more and more here,
that it may be perfect hereafter;
that my joy may be full in you.
I know, O God, that you are a God of truth,
O make good your gracious promises to me,
that my joy may be full;
to your honor and glory,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Source: Augustine of Hippo, Fourth Century

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

The Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit, Love of God,
pour out your grace,
and descend plentifully into my heart.
Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling,
and scatter there your cheerful beams.
Dwell in that soul that longs to be your temple.
Water that barren soil, overrun with weeds and briars,
and lost for lack of cultivating,
and make it fruitful with your dew from heaven.
Come, refreshment of those who languish and faint.
Come, Star and Guide of those who sail in the tempestuous sea of the world. You are the only Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked.
Come, Glory and Crown of the living, and only Safeguard of the dying.
Come, Holy Spirit, in your great mercy, and make me fit to receive you. Amen.

Source: Augustine of Hippo, Fourth Century

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

For Heavenly-Mindedness

O Lord,
you teach us not to worry about earthly things,
but to love heavenly things.
Even now,
while we live among things that are passing away,
help us cling to those things that will remain forever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Leonine SacramentaryNew Ancient Collects, #259

 

For over 150 years, Bright’s Ancient Collects has been a standard resource for classic Christian prayers. The New Ancient Collects is a complete revision and refreshing of all the prayers in Bright’s Ancient Collects with updated language. It is available in paperback and for Amazon Kindle from Amazon.com.

 

For Refreshment

O Lord our God,
let us find hope under the shadow of your wings.
You will support us,
both when little,
and even to gray hairs.
When our strength is from you, it is strength.
When our own, it is weakness.
We return to you, O Lord,
that our weary souls may rise towards you,
leaning on the things which you have created,
and passing on to yourself,
since you have wonderfully made them;
for with you is refreshment and true strength. Amen.

Source: Augustine of Hippo, fourth century

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

Invocation

Lord,
God of inconceivable power,
incomprehensible glory,
immeasurable mercy,
unspeakable kindness,
look on us in your tender love
and show your rich mercy and compassion
to us and those who pray with us.
Amen.

Source: Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, fourth century

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

On the Lord’s Day

O Lord Almighty,
you have created the world by Christ,
and have commanded us to remember the Sabbath,
to rest from our works,
and to meditate on your Word.
We[1] have also appointed festivals that bring joy to our souls,
to remember that Wisdom, your only Son,
who submitted to be born of a woman for us.
He appeared in life,
and showed himself in his baptism.
He appeared as both God and man.
He suffered for us according to your will,
and died,
and rose again by your power.
To remember and proclaim this,
we solemnly celebrate the feast of the resurrection on the Lord’s Day,
and rejoice in him who has conquered death,
and has brought life and immortality to light. Amen.

Source: Apostolic Constitutions

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

[1] Original: “Thou hast also appointed festivals”