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.

Move Us to Thanks for Jesus’ Suffering

matthiasgrunewald_thecrucifixion2Almighty Father, eternal God,
for us you sent your Son
and let him suffer
the pain of the cross,
that he might drive away from us
all the terror of the evil foe.
Move us to joyfully give thanks for his suffering
through which we have received
forgiveness of sins
and redemption from eternal death;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Martin Luther

Source of this version: Translated for A Collection of Prayers. German source: Gebetbuch, enthaltend die sämtlichen Gebete und Seufzer Martin Luther’s, ….Evangelischer Bücher-Verein, 1866, #590.

Original in German:

Allmächtiger Vater, ewiger Gott, der du für uns hast deinen Sohn des Kreuzes Pein lassen leiden, auf daß du von uns des Feindes Gewalt treibest: verleihe uns also zu begehen und zu danken seinem Leiden, daß wir dadurch der Sünden Vergebung und vom ewigen Tode Erlösung erlangen, durch denselben deinen Sohn Jesum Christum, unsern Herrn. Amen. Luther.

Gewalt can be translated as “power,” “violence,” “force,” “might,” or  “control.” “Terror” seemed to sum up all these well.

Swedish Christmas Prayer

church_of_sweden_2856028423629Merciful God, loving Father,
we give you thanks and praise
that you have mercifully fulfilled
the word of your promise to the patriarchs
and sent your only Son to become man
for our salvation and blessedness.

O Lord Jesus Christ,
eternal praise be to you,
that you, being rich, for our sakes became poor,
that we through your poverty might become rich;
that you have become our brother,
that we with you might become the children of God.
Grant that you may be born in our hearts,
just as you, though you are Lord of lords,
have for our sakes become a child,
so give us the right childlike mind.
You are the brightness of the Father’s glory
and image of his person,
renew us in your holy likeness.

Heavenly Light,
lighten us through the darkness of this world.
Eternal Life, give us life in you.
Great Prince of Peace, grant us your peace,
and keep us ever in your kingdom,
that we may praise and magnify you in your glory:
you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign forever.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from The Swedish Rite: a translation of “Handbok för svenska kyrkan” by Eric Esskildsen Yelverton, 1921, Litany Prayer for Christmas Day, p. 52-53

A General Prayer (Advent)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, we give you thanks for the comfort you have given us in the gift of your dear Son Jesus Christ, whom you sent to be a King and Savior to redeem his people from their sin and to deliver them from the might of Satan and the power of everlasting death. Give us your Holy Spirit to enlighten, govern, and sanctify our hearts, that we may confess him as our King and Savior, and always cling to him. Give us a true and living faith so that we may not be offended at his humiliation, Word and Kingdom, which the world esteems so lightly; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Accept also, O Lord, the prayers of your faithful people for the well being of your holy Church throughout the world. Govern and sanctify it, with all its pastors and ministers, by your Holy Spirit, that we may be kept by your Word in true faith and fervent love toward you and one another.

Grant also health and prosperity to all who are in authority, especially, the president of our nation and the governor of our state,* that they may rule over us according to your will to maintain righteousness and hinder and punish of wickedness, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.

Grant also that our enemies may cease their enmity and be inclined to walk with us in meekness and in peace.

All who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor or any other trouble, especially those who suffer for your name and for your truth’s sake, comfort, O God, with your Holy Spirit, that they may receive and confess their afflictions as the manifestation of your Fatherly will.

Cause also the fruits of the earth to prosper, and give us all other things you would have us ask for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Freely modified from Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith  by Wilhelm Löhe, Advent Prayer 1, p. 119-120

* “the president of our nation and the governor of our state” should be modified to fit the circumstances of a country’s national, provincial or district authorities.

When Someone Dies in the Lord

Prayer Book Bible Reading Book Of Common Prayer

Almighty God,
the spirits of those who die in the Lord live with you,
and the souls of the faithful,
after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh,
are in joy and bliss in your presence.
We give you humble thanks
that it has pleased you to deliver this our brother
out of the miseries of this sinful world.
We pray, in your goodness
fill up the number of your chosen ones and hasten your kingdom,
that with all those who have departed in the true faith of your holy name
we also may have our perfect fulfillment and bliss,
both in body and soul,
in your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Freely modified from The Book of Common Prayer (1662), Burial of the Dead

Pour Out the Light of Your Truth

We give you thanks, almighty God,
that you have delivered us from the darkness of the night
and now shine on us with the light of day.
Pour into our hearts
the pure and serene light of your truth,
that we may avoid the darkness of sin,
and always know and follow you,
the eternal light;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: From two Latin Collects

Source of this version: Freely modified from Collects and Prayers for use in Church,  United Lutheran Church in America, 1935, #321

Three Swedish Communion Prayers

When the administration of the holy meal is finished, the pastor turns to the congregation and says:

M: Let us pray.

Turning to the altar, the pastor offers one of the following thanksgiving collects:

M: We thank you, almighty Father, through your Son, Jesus Christ you have instituted this holy supper for our comfort and salvation. Grant us grace to celebrate the remembrance of Jesus on earth, that we may also be partakers of the great communion in heaven.
C: Amen.

or:

M: We thank you, almighty God, that through this precious meal of grace you have refreshed and satisfied us. Use it to increase our faith and advance us in godliness and all Christlike virtues; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
C: Amen.

or:

M: O Lord Jesus Christ, you have called us to this communion. We humbly thank you for your mercy, that you have fed us here with your body and blood and filled and embraced us with your goodness. O Lord, be near us! We commit ourselves into your hands and put our trust in you. Let us abide with you forever.
C: Amen.

Source: Freely modified from The Swedish Rite: a translation of “Handbok för svenska kyrkan” by Eric Esskildsen Yelverton, 1921, The Service of High Mass, p. 32