For the Commemoration of Musicians

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

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.

© 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.

St. Patrick

O almighty God,
in your providence
you choose your servant Patrick
to be the apostle of the Irish people,
that he might bring those
who wandered in darkness and error
to the true light and knowledge of you.
Grant that we may walk in that light,
and come at last to the light of everlasting light;
through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

Source: Irish Prayer Book

Original in traditional English:

O Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, that he might bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting light; through the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

To Witness for Christ

Grant, O merciful God,
that as your holy apostle St. James,
quickly leaving his father and all that he had,
was obedient to the call of your Son Jesus Christ,
and followed him,
and at last cheerfully laid down his life for his gospel’s sake,
so I, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections,
may always be ready to follow your holy commandments,
and whenever your providence will make it my duty,
may readily and cheerfully embrace death,
though armed with his utmost terror,
rather than forsake or deny you.
Let me rejoice in every happy occasion
to testify the sincerity of my love,
by suffering for your truth,
and let the firm belief of those glorious eternal rewards
which you have prepared for those who lay down their lives for your sake,
support me under all the cruelties of the most merciless persecutors.
Grant this,
O blessed Lord,
who died for me,
and rose again,
and now are seated at the right hand of the Father,
to intercede for me,
and all your faithful disciples. Amen.

Source: Liturgy of St. James, Second Century

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



Enlighten Us

Lord God, heavenly Father,
you prepared your Son
to be our Savior,
a light for the gentiles
and the glory of Israel.
We pray,
enlighten our hearts
that we may know
your grace
and fatherly will
toward us
in Christ,
and through him
be saved forever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Coburg Agenda, found in  Gebetbuch, enthaltend die sämtlichen Gebete und Seufzer Martin Luther’s, ….Evangelischer Bücher-Verein, 1866, #584.

Herr Gott, himmlischer Vater, der du deinen Sohn uns zum Heiland bereitet hast, daß er der Heiden Licht und der Juden Preis sein soll: wir bitten dich, erleuchte unsre Herzen, daß wir deine Gnade und väterlichen Willen gegen uns in ihm erkennen, und durch ihn ewig selig werden, durch denselben deinen Sohn Jesum Christum, unsern Herrn. Amen.

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio.jpg

On September 21, the Christian Church remembers St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He was also known as Levi, son of Alphaeus. He was a tax collector, someone the Jews at the time would have regarded as a thief and a traitor. Matthew’s Gospel is written for Jewish readers, quoting the Old Testament and emphasizing Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.

O Lord Jesus Christ,
in your great goodness
you called Matthew the tax collector
to be your apostle and evangelist.
Give us the power to withstand temptation,
turn from all the temptations of the world,
and follow you without delay;
through your mercy, O our God,
you are blessed,
and live and govern all things,
now and forever.

Source: Mozarabic, from The New Mozarabic Collects, #94


Mozarabic, ad.

John the Baptist

The Christian Church remembers St. John the Baptist on his ‘birthday,’ June 24, and also on the commemoration of his death, August 29.

Lord God, dearest Father,
through St. John the Baptist
you have pointed us all
to our one true comfort,
that Jesus Christ, Son of Mary,
is the true Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
May we always rejoice in his preaching
and find our comfort in it,
and finally receive eternal blessedness
with John the Baptist and all believers;
through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Source: Die pommersche Kirchen-Ordnung und Agenda, p. 293#2. Translated for A Collection of Prayers.

Original in German:

Herr Gott, lieber Vater, der du durch den heiligen Taufer Johannen, uns Allen zu Trost hast bezeugen lassen, daß Jesus Christus, Marien Sohn, das wahre unschuldige Lamm Gottes sei, welches der ganzen Welt Sünde tragen sollte; gib uns, daß wir allezeit solches seines Zeugnisses uns von Herzen freuen und trösten und endlich mit Johanne dem Täufer und allen Gläubigen die ewige Seligkeit erlangen mögen, durch den selbigen deinen Sohn, u.



Remembering St. Augustine

Giusto di Gand (Joos van Wassenhove), sant'agostino.jpgAugustine was a bishop who lived in Hippo, a city in North Africa on the Mediterranean. He came to faith and was baptized at age 31 after living a wild life and even spending some time in the Manichaean cult. He became one of the most influential writers in the early church and is considered one of the great ‘Doctors of the Church.’ The Christian Church remembers Augustine on August 28.

Hear, Lord, my prayer;
do not let my soul faint under your discipline,
do not let me faint in confessing to you all your mercies,
for you have drawn me out of all my most evil ways,
that you might be my delight
above all the allurements which I once pursued;
that I may most entirely love you,
and clasp your hand with all my affections,
so that you may still rescue me from every temptation,
even to the end.
For lo, O Lord, my King and my God,
I give for your service whatever useful thing my childhood learned,
that I speak, write, read, reckon for your service.
For you granted me your discipline,
while I was learning vanities;
and my sin of delighting in those vanities you have forgiven.

Source: The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book 1

St. Bartholomew

On August 24 the Christian Church remembers St. Bartholomew. The Mozarabic prayer refers to Jesus’ great commission to all his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:16-18). 

St. Bartholomew by El Greco

the Power of God,
and the Wisdom of God,
you gave your holy apostle
Saint Bartholomew
power to tread on serpents and scorpions.
Strengthen us by your grace,
that in your might
we may vanquish and overcome
all our spiritual enemies,
and with pure hearts serve you,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
we worship and glorify you,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Mozarabic Collects.


Mozarabic, ad.

Mary, Mother of Our Lord.

On August 15, the Christian Church remembers Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. The prayer from the Pomeranian Agenda emphasizes her humility. Her answer to the annunciation was, “May it be to me as you have said.” In her Magnificat, she sang, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior… …The Lord has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

bartolomc3a9_esteban_murillo_the_annunciationLord God, heavenly Father,
we thank you for all your benefits,
physical and spiritual,
that you so richly have poured out on us.
By the example of the dear virgin Mary,
protect us against arrogance and false security,
that no wisdom, strength or power
can help those who do not fear you.
Give us, rather, true humility and holy fear,
so that we may hold on to your Word,
always remain in your mercy and blessing
and finally be saved;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Source: Die pommersche Kirchen-Ordnung und Agenda, p. 293#2 (The Visitation), Translated for A Collection of Prayers.



St. James

On July 25 the Christian Church remembers St. James the Elder. He was the first of the twelve apostles to die for preaching about Christ (See Acts 12:1-2).

File:El Greco - Apostle St James the Greater - WGA10594.jpg
St. James the Greater, by El Greco

Grant, O Lord,
that as your holy apostle Saint James,
as soon as he was called,
left the ship and his father,
and followed your Son Jesus Christ with all his heart,
so we may always willingly and gladly
obey your commandments;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Source: Mozarabic Collects.


Mozarabic, ad.