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

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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.

Send Your Holy Spirit

800px-lucas_cranach_d-c384-_-_martin_luther2c_1528_28veste_coburg29_28cropped29Dear God,
send us your Holy Spirit,
that he may take the Word we have heard
and write it in our hearts,
so that we grasp it,
believe it,
and find our joy
and comfort in it

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, #70.

Original in German:

Lieber Gott, gieb uns deinen heiligen Geist, der das gehörte Wort in unser Herz schreibe, also, daß wir annehmen, glauben, und uns dessen in Ewigkeit erfreuen und trösten mögen. Amen. Luther.

Open and Enlighten Our Minds

Lucas_Cranach_(I)_-_Johannes_Bugenhagen[1].jpgAlmighty and eternal God,
Lord, heavenly Father,
your Word is a lamp to our feet
and a light for our path,
open and enlighten our minds
that we may understand your
pure, clear and holy Word,
and then, rightly understanding your Word,
live our lives that we may never displease your majesty;
through Jesus Christ, your Son,
our dear Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God in eternity.

Source: Johannes Bugenhagen, 1485-1558

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, #34.

“Sprechend: Vater u. s. w. indicates that this prayer would be followed by the Lord’s Prayer.

Allmächtiger, ewiger Gott, Herr, himmlischer Vater, deß Wort eine Kerze ist unsern Füßen und ein Licht unsern Wegen, thu auf und erleuchte unser Gemüth, daß wir dein Wort rein, lauter, und heiliglich verstehen und dann nach dem, das wir recht verstanden haben, unser Leben gestalten, auf daß wir deiner Majestät nimmer mißfallen, durch Jesum Christum, deinen Sohn,  unsern lieben Herrn, der mit dir in Einigkeit des heiligen Geistes lebt und regiert, Gott in Ewigkeit, sprechend: Vater u.s. w. Johannes Bugenhagen

Guide Us by Your Word and Spirit

800px-Agende_001[1]O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of almighty God,
send your Holy Spirit
into our hearts
through your Word,
that he may govern and guide us
according to your will,
comfort us in all afflictions and misfortunes,
lead and uphold us in your truth against all error,
so that we may stand firm in your love
and offer ourselves to do good works,
and through the certain hope of your free grace
be blessed forever;
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign,
forever and ever.

Source: Pommersche Agende

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, #623.

Original in German:

Herr Jesu Christe, du Sohn des allmächtigen Gottes, wir bitten dich, du wollest durch dein Wort deinen heiligen Geist in Herzen geben, daß derselbe uns regiere und führe nach deinem Willen, in allerlei Anfechtung und Unglück tröste, in deiner Wahrheit wider allen Irrthum leite und erhalte, auf daß wir im feststehen mögen, in der Liebe und guten Werken zunehmen, und durch gewisse Hoffnung deiner erworbenen und geschenkten Gnade ewig selig werden, der du mit dem Vater und dem heiligen Geiste lebest und regierest von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit. Amen. Pommersche Agende.

Abide with Us

Abide with us, Lord,G_C_Dieffenbach
for it is toward evening and the day is far spent;
abide with us, and with your whole Church.
Abide with us in the evening of the day,
_______________ in the evening of life,
_______________ in the evening of the world.
Abide with us in your grace and mercy,
_______________ in holy Word and Sacrament,
_______________ in your comfort and your blessing.
Abide with us in the night of distress and fear,
_______________ in the night of doubt and temptation,
_______________ in the night of bitter death,
_______________ when these shall overtake us.
Abide with us and with all your faithful ones,
O Lord, in time and in eternity.

Source: Georg Christian Dieffenbach (1822-1901)

Part of this prayer is found here: The Oxford Book of Prayer, ed. Appleton, © 1985, 1992

A reflection on Luke 24:29

A version of this prayer is found in Lutheran Worship (LCMS 1982) as an alternative collect for Easter Eve.

Original in German:

Bleibe bei uns, Herr,
denn es will Abend werden,
und der Tag hat sich geneigt.
Bleibe bei uns und bei deiner ganzen Kirche.
Bleibe bei uns am Abend des Tages,
am Abend des Lebens, am Abend der Welt.
Bleibe bei uns mit deiner Gnade und Güte,
mit deinem heiligen Wort und Sakrament,
mit deinem Trost und Segen.
Bleibe bei uns,
wenn über uns kommt
die Nacht der Trübsal und Angst,
die Nacht des Zweifels und der Anfechtung,
die Nacht des bitteren Todes.
Bleibe bei uns und allen deinen Gläubigen
in Zeit und Ewigkeit.

Source of the original German prayer: Evangelische Haus-Agende by Georg Christian Dieffenbach, 1853

* Although this prayer is often attributed to The Lutheran Manual of Prayer in many prayer books and anthologies, I have never seen or found a book with that title. A search on and on Google Books yields several Lutheran prayer books, but none with that title.

The Conversion of St. Paul

Lord God, heavenly Father,
you graciously called St. Paul
from being a sinful persecutor
to be a follower and a faithful witness.
Give us your grace
so that we may take to heart your Word and warning
and have humble sorrow over our sins
and receive forgiveness,
and find comfort in your grace and mercy
through Christ alone,
and be blessed forever.

Source: Veit Dietrich

Source of this version: Freely modified from Summaria Christlicher Lehr, Veit Dietrich, 1548.

The Conversion of St. Paul

O Christ, the Son of God,
you graciously chose Saint Paul to be your apostle,
and enabled him to sow the good seed
of your Word throughout the world.
From his preaching there has sprung up
an abundant harvest for you.
Grant that his teachings may sink deep into our hearts
and bring forth fruit to your glory;
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
you live and reign,
one God, now and forever.

Source: Freely modified from Mozarabic Collects, ed. Rev. Chas. R. Halle, New York, 1881