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

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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.

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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

Seasonal Blessings

Image result for hand blessing

Advent

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Christmas

Christ, who by his incarnation gathered into one all things earthly and heavenly, fill you with his joy and peace; and the blessing …

or

Christ the Son of God, born of Mary, fill you with his Word and Spirit to trust his promises and obey his will; and the blessing …

Epiphany

Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing …

Ash Wednesday to Lent 4

Christ give you grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him; and the blessing …

Lent 5 and Holy Week

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing …

Easter

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing …

or

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work to do his will; and the blessing …

or

God the Father, by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead, strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life; and the blessing …

or

God, who through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the victory, give you joy and peace in his faith; and the blessing …

Ascension

Christ our king make you faithful and strong to do his will, that you may reign with him in glory; and the blessing …

Pentecost

The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth, give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and to proclaim the word and works of God; and the blessing …

Trinity Sunday

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing …

Saints’ Days

God give you grace to follow his saints in faith and hope and love; and the blessing …

or

God give you grace to follow his saints in faith and truth and gentleness; and the blessing …

or

God give you grace to share the inheritance of his saints in glory; and the blessing …

Unity

Christ the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep, draw you and all who hear his voice to be one within the fold; and the blessing …

General

The God of grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, establish, strengthen and settle you in the faith; and the blessing …

or

God, who from the death of sin raised you to new life in Christ, keep you from falling and set you in the presence of his glory; and the blessing …

or

Christ who has nourished us with himself the living bread, make you one in praise and love, and raise you up at the last day; and the blessing …

or

The God of peace fill you with all joy and hope in believing; and the blessing …

Source: Various sources. “…and the blessing of almighty God…” may have its origin in the Urbi et Orbi papal blessing.

Source of this version: Modified from the Alternative Service Book 1980 (http://www.oremus.org/liturgy/asb/ea/blessing.html)

In the second Christmas blessing, the Alternative Service Book has “…fill you with his grace…”

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.
Amen.

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.

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.
Amen.

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.

 

Prayers from the Evangelical-Lutheran Heritage by [Stratman, Paul]Prayers from The Pomeranian Agenda are included in Prayers from the Evangelical-Lutheran Heritage, available from Amazon.com, and also available for Amazon Kindle. It is a collection of prayers from the history of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church from Luther to Loehe. The collection includes prayers by Johannes Bugenhagen, Georg C. Dieffenbach, Veit Dietrich, Matthias Flacius, Wilhelm Loehe, Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Joachim Mynsinger, Johann G. Olearius, Johann Jacob Rambach, and the early agendas and prayer books of the Austrian, Brunswick, Hamburg, Lueneberg, Norwegian, Nuremberg, Pomeranian, Riga, Russian, Saxon, Schleswig-Holstein, and Swedish Evangelical-Lutheran churches.

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

Christ,
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.
Amen.

Source: Mozarabic Collects.

The New Mozarabic Collects: A Revision and Refreshing of 'Mozarabic Collects' by Charles R. Hale by [Stratman, Paul]

 

The New Mozarabic Collects is available from Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle.