Needful Things: Prayers and Supplications

I keep meaning to purchase the New Zealand Prayer Book because it’s got some amazingly beautiful and poetic liturgy in it. Also, things like the Night Prayer and little gems like this:

For People Critically Ill, or Facing Great Uncertainty

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to N,
as s/he/they
wait/s in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make her/him/them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring her/him/them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.

Good, eh?

Speaking of the Night Prayer, it would be neat to do something like this with it.

When Ted was vicar of Holy Innocents, he used to lead the Bishop’s Committees off with the Night Prayer. We’d start with it, do the business meeting, and end with the conclusion of it. The exact version of what he used is below – with one typo corrected; he had it as “The angles of God guard us through the night,” which always amused me, because of course as a science buff who’s also a person of faith, I’m fine with the image of God as the Great Geometer.

Night Prayer

Adapted from A New ZealandPrayer Book

The offering of prayer late in the evening, by laity, religious orders or clergy, often called Compline, has sometimes been described as the ‘good night prayer of the Church.’ It rounds off the day and prepares us for a quiet night. As the psalmist wrote: “I lie down in peace and take my rest for itis in God alone that I dwell unafraid.” Night prayer derives it content from the wisdom of the centuries in Scripture and above all in the psalms, but also from contemporary Christian experience of God. It celebrates the awareness that each of us who tries to pray is part of the human whole. So we are taken over the threshold from daytime, not in a mood of self-centered spirituality but as representativesof humanity, acknowledging our creaturehood before God.

Approach

The angels of God guard us through the night,

and quieten the powers of darkness.

The Spirit of God be our guide

to lead us to peace and to glory.

It is but lost labour that we haste to rise up early,

and so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety.

For those beloved of God are given gifts even while they sleep

Silence

My brothers and sisters,

our help is in the name of the eternal God,

who is making the heavens and the earth.

Silence

We have wounded your love,
O God heal us.

We stumble in the darkness,

Light of the world transfigure us.

We forget that we are your home,

Spirit of God, dwell in us.

Invocation

Eternal Spirit, flow through our being and open our lips,

that our mouths may proclaim your praise.

Let us worship the God of Love.

Alleluia. Alleluia.

Psalm 134

We your servants bless you, O God,

as we stand by night in your house.

We lift up our hands towards the holy place,

and give you thanks and praise.

Bless us from all places where you dwell,

O God, creator of the heavens and the earth.

Reading

Lord you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name.

Leave us not. Jeremiah 14:9

Prayers

Into your hands, O God, I commend my spirit,

for you have redeemed me, O God of truth and love.

Keep me, O God, as the apple of an eye;

hide me under the shadow of your wings.

Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen.

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness,

Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.

What has been done has been done;

what has not been done has not been done;

let it be.

The night is dark.

Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet.

Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,

all dear to us,

and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.

Let us look expectantly

to a new day,

new joys,

new possibilities.

In y our name we pray.

Amen.

Final Versicle

The divine Spirit dwells in us.

Thanks be to God.

An exact quote of the last part of the Night Prayer is found here. I suppose the adaptations were to remove the alternate responses that are in Maori:

Final Versicle
The divine Spirit dwells in us.
Kia noho te Wairus o te Runga Rawa ki a tatou.

Thanks be to God.
Whakamoemititia a Ihowa.

From A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, authorized by General Synod on 26 May 1988 pursuant to the 1928 Church of England Empowering Act procedures, for use in the Church of the Province of New Zealand, in terms of the Canons of the General Synod.

I’ve been trying to have some Lenten quiet time lately, and as it happens that search for calm and quiet confidence in Things Working Out in the universe is something very needful at the present time. Someone we care for, that we don’t see as often as we should, is going through a rough patch, particularly today. My thoughts are with that person and with the entire family.

At a cousin’s bar mitzvah (or was that the bat mitzvah?) the prayer book that they used (since we’re on the subject of prayer books) had the most incredibly beautiful language.I ended up reading a bunch of the special prayers at the back and being very moved by their poetry. Now what was the name of it?

I think it’s Paths of Faith: The New Jewish Prayer Book for Synagogue and Home : For Weekdays, Shabbat, Festivals & Other Occasions. I’d like to look up some of the special prayers for Troubled Times, but it’s not searchable online. However, there are some admirable prayers for troubled times – specificallyin this time of war – here.

Paths of Faith is not really the “new” prayer book of the Reform Movement; the official “new” book comes out next year.This is a personal work by one of the most respected scholars in the Jewish Reform tradition, Chaim Stern, who died in 2001. This one incorporates all or most of the changes agreed on for the next official book, though, including gender inclusive language.

Anyway, thinking all good thoughts and remaining hopeful that Things Will Work Out For the Best here.

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