Prayer for Ascension

Almighty and eternal God,
bless us as we celebrate this day’s festival
and direct our eyes heavenward
where in human flesh, your only Son is with you;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Leonine Sacramentary, Ascension, Fifth Century

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

For Light to Follow You

O Lord,
direct our steps this day
into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts
to obey your commandments.
May the Dayspring visit us from on high,
and give light
to those who sit in darkness
and the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy,
follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness,
for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel,
now and forever. Amen.

Source: An ancient Collect, A. D. 440
Source of this version: Freely modified from Service and Prayers for Church and Home, Ed. Wilbur Patterson Thirkield, Methodist Book Concern, 1918

Version in traditional English:

DIRECT our steps this day, O Lord, into the way of peace, and strengthen our hearts to obey thy commandments; may the Dayspring visit us from on high, and give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that they may adore thee for thy mercy, follow thee for thy truth, desire thee for thy sweetness, who art the blessed Lord God of Israel, both now and evermore. Amen.

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.

For Grace

O our Lord and God,
do not look on our many sins,
and do not turn away
because of the seriousness of our iniquities.
In your unspeakable grace
sanctify your servants,
forget our many sins,
and be merciful when you will appear at the end of time,
in the Man whom you have appointed to be our judge,
that we may receive your grace and mercy,
and praise you with all your holy ones. Amen.

Source: Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles

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

“In your unspeakable grace …” Original: “through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins…”

St. Patrick’s Evensong

May your holy angels, O Christ, Son of living God,
Guard our sleep, our rest, our shining bed.

Let them reveal true visions to us in our sleep,
O High Prince of the universe, O great King of the mysteries!

May no demons, no ill, no calamity or terrifying dreams
Disturb our rest, our willing, prompt repose.

May our watch be holy, our work, our task,
Our sleep, our rest without stop, without break.

Source: St. Patrick’s Evensong, translated as prose by Kuno Meyer in Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, New York, 1911.

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

Version in verse:

Jesus, Son of God most high,
May your holy angels keep
Watch around us as we lie
In our shining beds asleep.

Time’s hid veil with truth to pierce
Let them teach our dreaming eyes,
High King of the Universe,
High Priest of the Mysteries.

May no demon of the air,
May no malice of our foes,
Evil dream or haunting care
Mar our willing, prompt repose!

May our vigils hallowed be
By the tasks we undertake!
May our sleep be fresh and free,
Without stop and without break.

St. Patrick’s Evensong, translated as poetry, from A Celtic PsalteryNew York, 1917.

Evensong

Jesus, Son of God most high,
May your holy angels keep
Watch around us as we lie
In our shining beds asleep.

Time’s hid veil with truth to pierce
Let them teach our dreaming eyes,
High King of the Universe,
High Priest of the Mysteries.

May no demon of the air,
May no malice of our foes,
Evil dream or haunting care
Mar our willing, prompt repose!

May our vigils hallowed be
By the tasks we undertake!
May our sleep be fresh and free,
Without stop and without break.

Source: St. Patrick’s Evensong, from A Celtic Psaltery, New York, 1917.