Georg Zeämann, Superintendant of Stralsund, Germany (1580-1638)
O Lord Jesus Christ, faithful guardian of mankind, I thank you from my heart that you do not leave us to be surprised by Your coming, but instead You faithfully warn us beforehand. Rouse me, dear Lord, from the slumber of fleshly security, that I may diligently guard myself against sins against conscience and, as a wise servant, stand in constant preparedness, awaiting Your glorious appearing from heaven with highest joy and desire, for it is our only and last hope in this wretched time. Come Lord Jesus. Hurry, Lord. Bring to an end the evil days, so that the poor community [of Your Church] may not give up hope. O heavenly foundation and cornerstone, strike the image on its feet of clay and iron, and crush them, and lead us into the new heaven and the new earth, wherein righteousness dwell. Let your saints take the kingdom and eternally possess it. Let yourself be moved to this by Your divine promise and ardent love toward your bride, won at such great cost, and by the fervent longing of the whole creation, the unceasing sighs of Your pious Christians, and the blood of so many thousands of martyrs which has been shed for Your name’s sake. On account of these things, come, dear Lord Jesus, and hurry with Your judgment. Let Your glorious, majestic voice be heard, that heaven and earth may quake. No day passes but that we wait for You, and we would gladly soon be with You. Amen, Lord Jesus, 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.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546
from Ev. Luth. Gebets-Schatz
Lord Jesus Christ, please hurry and bring the blessed day when the hope of our glorious redemption shall be fulfilled. For you have called us to pray for this in the Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come! Then, since you have commanded us to pray this, so also give us grace and help that we do pray it and in addition that we firmly believe that we will finally come to such glory. Grant also that the same joyful, blessed day of our redemption and glorification come soon, and that we may experience all that we now hear and believe in the Word. Amen.
This prayer was written in the 1600s, but it sounds like someone wrote it yesterday. From the Gebets-Schatz.
Lord Jesus Christ, though no one knows the hour of your appearing, not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father, who has reserved it for His power—still there will be an end to this world and its form will pass away. You will come with flames of fire to take vengeance on those who do not know You, God, and are not obedient to Your gospel. And so that we do not doubt this, You have allowed faithful hearts to know the signs of Your appearing and identified them. The world is now pregnant with these signs, giving certain proof that the end of all things is near. Great signs happen in the sun, moon, and the stars, which fall from heaven and lose their light. One hears of wars and rumors of wars. One nation is incensed with another and kingdom rises against kingdom. There are earthquakes in various places. It is a time of rising prices and famine. Unrighteousness more and more gets the upper hand. The brotherly love of many has grown cold. The times are so terribly wicked that the people are fearful and anxious. They faint and almost perish because of the tribulation and distress that is in the world.
In the church many people have risen up who speak perverted doctrine and falsify Your Word, and Your Word must still endure being called heresy by many. In the secular government power often passes for righteousness. Right is turned into gall and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood; evil is called good and good evil, black must be called white. In the household estate is great unfaithfulness, disobedience, disunity, discord, quarreling, and strife. Even though everyone in common leads a godless life, no one regards it as sinful. These are all signs of the approach of the last day.
Since these are all now hanging before our eyes, graciously help us, Lord, that we take it to heart, and not be secure, or be rash and have our lamps fail like the foolish virgins. Grant instead that we always be brave and pray, do good and not grow weary, that we might thereby escape Your strict judgment and sentence, and might be worthy to stand before Your holy face, when You will come in the clouds with great power and glory, and send Your angels to gather Your elect from the four winds, and from the end of the earth to the end of the heavens. Lord, we wait daily for Your salvation. Come now, O Lord Jesus. Make an end of all our misery and take us poor wretches, together with all believers, to paradise. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen. Georg Schimmer, 1652-1695