J. Heermann (1585-1647)
Lord Christ! From the beginning of the world, through all time, You have given teachers and pastors, to teach Your congregation to keep all that You have commanded. I also have been called by You through means of people, that I should be for the service of Your Church and Your Word, advance Your glory with all might, and should lead Your lambs, purchased with Your rose-red blood, to You in eternal blessedness. Dearest Jesus! It is of Your grace that I am what I am, for I am the weakest of Your servants, such that I am not worthy that I should be called Your minister. I am of impure lips. I am slow of speech and have an uninstructed tongue, and I have never been eloquent. So endue me now with power from on high to carry out this holy office as You require. Give me through Your Spirit what I should think and say, that I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners be converted to You.
Lord! Give me, according to Your promise, a mouth and wisdom. Open my understanding, that I may understand the Scripture, and grace me with an instructed tongue, that I know how to speak to the weary at the proper time. Lend me courage and strength, that I lift up my voice as a trumpet, and show my parish children, the rich as well as the poor, their misdeeds, without timidity and respect of persons, and keeping quiet about nothing. Grant that I show favoritism neither to the rich or the poor for the sake of a handful of barley and a bit of bread, so that thereby the godless may not be strengthened in their sins and in the future their blood be required from my hand. Help that I preach Your Word with all candor and withhold nothing from all the counsel of God, that I also do not cease day and night with tears to admonish, that I may be pure from all blood-guilt, and so rescue my soul and those of sinners from destruction.
Lord Christ, the matter and the office is Yours. Give me grace to convert many souls. Through my foolish preaching, create laud and honor to You and great and rich profit in Your Church and congregation, that I may exhort and rebuke the bad, bear the weak, and instruct with a meek spirit those who are overtaken in a fault. Thus may I serve God with a pure conscience and lose nothing which You have entrusted to me. Let me not talk into the wind, and my work in the Lord be in vain, but let it save myself and those who hear me. Teach me, Lord, Your way, that I walk in Your truth, and what I teach others out of Your Word, do myself; that I give no one offense, nor be to anyone an example and an excuse to sin, but instead in all things demonstrate myself to be a servant of God. Grant that I may do the work of an evangelical preacher, that I may cause all laboring and heavy-laden hearts and troubled and anguished consciences to stand upright through the staff of Your Word; that I use sharpness on the unrepentant, according to the power which the Lord has given me to build up and not destroy. Grant me to rightly carry out my office.
But when I, like Jeremiah and all prophets and apostles, will be derided by everybody and become the world’s curse and spectacle, then let me not become languid and impatient in my spirit, nor depart from my service and apostleship, like Judas Iscariot, on account of the world’s thanklessness and for the sake of temporal things, but instead in faith and patience hope for and await the eternal reward. Grant also, that I do not seek glory and honor before men, but rather honor with God, and confess Your Word, which is a Word of the Cross, confidently before the evil world. Then I will be recognized by You, Lord Christ, before Your heavenly Father, and all holy angels and saints on that day, and as a faithful servant may enter into Your eternal glory and perfect joy, for Your own sake. Amen.
Prayer in Great Weakness of Faith
Ev. Luth. Gebets-Schatz
O Lord, I now experience it in truth, that not everyone has faith. I believe, dear Lord, but help my unbelief! You who would not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smoldering wick, O Jesus, You who sit at the right hand of God, intercede and pray for me, that my faith may not cease. Be the beginner and the finisher of faith, wherewith I extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one. Let me believe, even if I cannot see, and so be saved. Amen.
(Johann Albinus, Pastor at Naumburg. d. 1679)
- Prayer for the Church in a Congregational Meeting
(Israel’s Comfort and Joy, 1660)
Lord and God, indeed the number of Your saints has declined, and Your believers have become few on earth. It is to be feared that the godly might become so few that everywhere the godless will abound. Therefore up! Rouse Yourself, and help Your poor and miserable ones, that we, who now are sighing to You, may not be totally destroyed.
Let Your divine truth be confidently taught and confessed without hypocrisy before men. Spread Your Word, which is pure as refined and tested silver, far and wide. Protect us from the evil generation which professes and pushes unprofitable things, or would otherwise not allow religion to be a serious thing among us. Increase the little flock, that it stand firm against the great crowd of the godless and all the gates of hell might do nothing against it, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
O Almighty, merciful God, gracious Father in heaven, I will declare from my heart Your praise, honor, and eternal thanks, because You have protected me once again through the guardianship of Your joyful spirits, the holy angels, so that I have lived to see this day fresh and healthy. I place all my doings and things left undone, my beginnings and endings, into Your will. I pray You that You would from this moment graciously pity me, and rule all my intentions and aspirations, my heart, senses, courage and understanding, and all my words and works, so that I might understand what is good and evil. Grant that in this evil and changeable present time I might walk and live apart from my sins, and carry within myself a heartfelt longing after the eternal fatherland, which Christ my Savior has purchased and won for me, and not make a joke of it by an evil, sinful life. To this end, please graciously help me with Your divine love and the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your dear Son. Amen
Evening Blessing on Wednesday (Marburg Hymnal)
I thank You, O great and mighty God, kind Father, that you have once again graciously protected me this day from all harm and evil. I pray You, through Your divine goodness, that you would cover the sins that I have committed today with my heart and mouth against You and Your holy commandments; that you would not forsake me, Your creation, which You have paid for dearly with the blood of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Defend me this night under Your almighty, gracious wings against the evil foe, who goes around me as a roaring lion to devour me. Let me rest and sleep securely in the shade of Your goodness and mercy, that the evil foe may not come near me nor do me any harm. Amen.
(Seckendorf Hymnbook) (Ev. Luth. Gebets-Schatz)
Good Jesus, by Your grace I have prepared and fit myself to come to private confession [zum Beichtstuhl] for the forgiveness of my sins. But I remember that You earnestly commanded: “When you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, then leave your gift there before the altar, and first go and reconcile yourself with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Unfortunately, now I have fallen into misunderstanding and disagreement with my neighbor. Therefore grant me your grace and govern me, so that my heart lets itself be found willing to be reconciled.
I recognize the hardness of my heart and confess that it is difficult to force flesh and blood and to let go of all anger and vengefulness. But I hope, yes, I pray, that You, Lord, would take from my flesh the heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh—that is, a heart rich in love and willing to be reconciled—and that you would make me a person who loves his enemy, blesses those who curse him, does good to those who hate him, and prays for those who insult and persecute him.
Ah! Let me think on the judgment and strict accounting that I will have to give [one day], that I may let go of hostility (which seeks only death and destruction), and be reconciled with my adversaries while I am still on the way with them, according to Your command, and never again let the sun go down on my anger.
And as I pardon and forgive all those who have offended me, so also let me find those whom I have grieved and angered to be submissive to Your word, so that they for Your sake also forgive and pardon me for all the ways I have offended them.
Oh Jesus, forgive all our sins and govern our hearts, that we may live peaceably as Christians with one another, and praise Your name together here in time until there in eternity we laud You forever. Amen.
Oh my most heartily beloved heavenly Father, whom I love with my whole heart; O You righteous judge of the world, how awfully have I, a poor sinner, sinned against You! Oh, what have I done! How have I so completely and shamefully forgotten your holy commandments, your good deeds toward me, your hard threats against sins, Your terrible, secret judgment, that I have committed this great sin, over which I now fear day and night! Oh God, how frightened Is my soul, how my heart trembles, how must I now be ashamed of myself in my own conscience before You! What a deep abyss of sin and damnation I see before my eyes!
Now, Lord my God, oh dear Father, in this my anxiety I take refuge in childlike trust in your unfathomable, unmerited mercy, and pray You through Jesus Christ for grace. Oh, how many are my sins! How great is my debt, so very great that I can never, even in eternity, pay it! Still have patience with me, a poor sinner, and pay for my misdoings according to your superabundant mercy for Christ’s sake, who also has paid for me.
I have indeed done wrong and sinned very terribly. But it pains me to my heart, and on account of it I suffer daily, as You, O knower of hearts, see in me. Yes, now, O dear God, you will not cast out such a terrified and crushed heart. Yes, You are near to them who are of a crushed spirit, and you help those whose hearts are broken. Oh, then also do not cast me out! Heal, Lord, my stricken heart, my wounded conscience! Help me, a poor sinner, for the sake of Christ, and bind up my wounds. Yes, You are my Father, my Creator, and You know what kind of strength I have; you know that I am weak. Yes, Your Son Jesus Christ also has come into the world to save poor sinners, and His blood cleanses us from all sin. Oh God, thus do not allow the precious merit of Christ to be lost on me, a poor, sorrowful, repentant sinner.
Yes, you have promised that you do not desire the death of the sinner, but instead that he be converted and live. Now, dear God, I desire from my heart to repent by Your grace. You are acquainted with my heart and know that the sin I have committed is truly painful to me, and that I desire to improve myself. Oh, give me life and convert me, Lord, and I will be converted. Indeed, do not enter into judgment with me, and let me not perish in my affliction. Oh God, I am so shaken at times because of my sins that I don’t know where I should go and what I should do. O Lord, cast me not away from your countenance, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Free my feet from the net. Please forgive my misdeed, and let me receive joy and gladness through the power of Your Spirit, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice.
I find now that, as light as Satan previously made out the sin to be, in order to cast me into it, now so terrible and hard he makes it in my conscience in order to bring me to despair. O my God, forsake me not in such hard struggle. Let Your power be mighty in my weakness. Arm me with the power of your might, that in it I might stand against the cunning trials of the devil. Enlighten my eyes also, that I henceforth walk carefully and protect myself from similar sins.
Oh God, when You give joy to my heart with Your grace, how gladly I will to thank You, how diligently I want to improve my life through Your grace, how gladly will I teach other transgressors your ways, that sinners be converted to You. It shall be a warning to me, dear God, and I will protect myself from such plague of conscience for the rest of my life.
I hope in this, my God, that You are gracious, and my heart rejoices that You so gladly help and cast no one out who comes to You. Therefore I come to You now and pray You, be gracious to me, a poor sinner, for the sake of Your most dear Son, my only Savior and mediator Jesus Christ, who has promised that what we will ask in His name, the same You will also give to us, and who has commanded us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
(Riegisches Gebetbuch, 18th century)
from Ev. Luth. Gebets-Schatz
Rust und Schatzkammer (Spiritual Armory and Treasury)
Passages of Holy Scripture
Fear God and give Him the glory, because the time of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth and the sea and the springs of water. Rev. 14.
He who serves God with gladness is acceptable to Him. His prayer reaches up to the clouds; the prayer of the wretched pierces through the clouds, and does not desist until it enters [God’s ears], and does not cease until the Most High sees.
Let the book of this law not leave your mouth, instead, meditate on it day and night, that you may keep and do according to what is written in it. Then you will be successful in all that you do and will be able to handle things wisely.
O Jesus Christ, my Lord and God, You know—yes, You have taught us Yourself how great is the weakness and foolishness of man, yes, how he can do absolutely nothing without Your help and assistance. Where he trusts and believes in himself, he is bound to fall into a thousand disasters.
Have mercy on me, dear Lord, on account of this works-righteousness of Your child. Graciously assist me, that through Your enlightenment I may see what is righteous, through Your admonition desire it, and through Your power finally also might obtain it. Now I surrender myself, yes, commend myself wholly and completely, in body and soul, to You alone, who with God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are praised, one true and Almighty God forever and ever.