65. FESTIVAL PRAYERS (Various Prayers)

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FESTIVAL PRAYERS.

1. Prayer for the Beginning of a new Church-Year.

O Eternal God! faithful Father, at the beginning of our Church-year, we, in deepest humility, thank Thee, first of all, for all Thy special spiritual benefits shown us during the past Church-year. Thou hast thus far granted unto us Thy holy Word and its public preaching, also the use of the holy sacraments, although on account of our unthankfulness we have indeed deserved that Thou shouldst have withheld such goodness. We are indeed no better and have not sinned against Thee less than so many of our brethren in the faith elsewhere, from whom Thou, through Thy just judgment, hast either entirely or measurably withheld the word of Thy gospel and its public preaching; and it appears that Thou, through Thy judgment, wouldst yet at many more places take away the light of Thy Word. O Lord! we are indeed too insignificant for all Thy mercies, which Thou hast hitherto shown us unworthy servants, and that Thou doest still deal with us so sparingly. Forgive us in mercy all our sins by which we, whether by the neglect and incomplete performance of good or the committing of evil, have offended Thee during the past Church-year. Grant this to be our first blessing in this Church-year, that Thou wilt with the blood of Thy dear Son blot out all our sins of the past year, and in order that we may be worthy of such grace, do Thou work true repentance in all our hearts, so that we may not bear into the new Church-year any of our old sins unforgiven and which we do not by Thy power mean entirely to abandon. Preserve unto us still further Thy holy word and sacraments and thus the kingdom of Thy Son among us, and do not bestow such power upon the enemy, that will enable him to rob us of such gifts and that the kingdom of darkness be extended among us. In this however, dear Father, look not upon that what we are deserving, but that the honor of Thy Son be not blasphemed by the enemies who may imagine to have destroyed His kingdom among us. Preserve all our faithful teachers and ministers, whom Thou hast given us, and bestow upon them, at this beginning of the Church-year, new light and strength in Thy Holy Spirit, that they may present unto us, by Thy power and presence, Thy Word in its purity and simplicity without the admixture of human wisdom; also may they at all times have the wisdom and light rightly to conceive the most needful things to be treated of before their christian congregations. Permit them therefore not to speak what they desire, but do Thou alone rule their tongues and hearts, that they may always speak what is pleasing unto Thee. Give such efficacy to Thy Word and Thy holy Sacraments, that we may also in this Church-year experience that they are still the blessed means of our salvation, that they will save our souls. Seal anew the good Thou hast already wrought in the hearts of Thy children during the past year, and the Word Thou hast made effectual among them; and let it still further manifest its power in teaching the ignorant, in converting the unregenerate, in convicting the malicious, in strengthening the souls that already know Thee, whose number Thou wilt also in the ways known to Thee largely increase during this year. Grant also unto all hearers, that they not only receive the Word out of the mouth of their pastors with attention and meekness, but also at all times, whilst hearing, present their hearts unto Thee in such stillness and resignation, that Thy Holy Spirit may complete the work of faith in them, and by whose influence they may during this Church-year lead a more holy life before Thee than heretofore. Especially grant Thy grace that we make Thy Word the firm foundation of our knowledge of the truth among us, in order that it may become a living knowledge, which in its fruits will praise Thee, and we indeed experience that, to know, here by faith and there by sight, that Thou Father art the only true God and whom Thou hast sent is Jesus Christ, is everlasting life. Amen.

2. Prayer for the Advent Season.

O Lord of glory and God over all, blessed forever! I heartily thank Thee for all Thy great and inexpressible benefits, also that Thou out of unspeakable love didst leave Thy throne of divine glory and condescend to us poor creatures in this vale of tears, to release us lost and condemned sinners from the prison of affliction. I praise Thee, Jesus! Thou King of glory! with all my strength and powers, that Thou didst not appear upon earth for any other purpose than to deliver us from the power of our enemies, of sin, of death, hell and the devil; to effect by Thy precious blood eternal reconciliation between us and Thy heavenly Father, and to regain for us, through Thy precious merits, the lost righteousness. Hosanna! Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord, Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity!

I cast myself in deepest humility before Thee and ask Thee with all my heart to gladden at this time also by Thy gracious advent Thy church which is everywhere oppressed; always dwell and abide with and among us in this land and place at all times, and in our hearts, with Thy pure Word and most holy Sacraments, and let goodness and mercy come upon us. Be gracious unto us, most beloved Saviour! and bless us, bestow upon us temporal and eternal peace. Our enemies however cast into the prison which they have prepared for us, change their counsels directed against us into foolishness, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Hosanna! Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord, Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity!

Dear Jesus! grant unto me and all christians Thy Spirit, that He may cleanse and purify our hearts of all impurity and sin, in order that Thou mayest desire to enter in and dwell among us. Help us to receive Thee with true faith, heartily to rejoice with Thy spiritual Zion for Thy benefits, to follow Thee constantly with christian patience and humility and confidently await Thy second coming with constant repentance and believing hope, also at the same time serve Thee here in the kingdom of grace with a holy walk, and finally in the kingdom of glory we shall with glorified tongues everlastingly sing our Hosannas to Thy honor, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Hosanna! Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord, Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity! Amen.

3. Christmas Prayer.

Merciful and eternal God, heavenly Father! we Thy children thank Thee from the depth of our hearts that Thou didst so faithfully keep Thy promise and turn to us Thy kind and paternal heart, didst send unto us Thine only-begotten Son, the highest Good, to be our Saviour, and to assume our human nature, and thus didst render us acceptable through Thy Beloved. O Lord Jesus! Thou eternal Son of God, we honor, praise and glorify Thee, that Thou to-day didst become our brother and Emmanuel, that is: God with us, didst out of unspeakable love befriend us and clothe Thyself with our poor flesh and blood. Thou didst in nowise assume the nature of angels, but didst honor the seed of Abraham, our human nature, this poor earth, wretched ashes and worthless dust even so much as to connect Thyself personally and inseparably with the same to all eternity. Thou wast conceived holy and without sin, and born into this world of a pure and chaste virgin; whereby Thou didst sanctify and consecrate our Adamic, sinful and impure conception and birth, so that it may not be harmful to us who by nature are children of wrath, conceived in sin, and flesh born of flesh. Thou wast born in a stable, poor and lowly; Thou in a manger didst lie, in poverty great, and of Thy crib, though hard, no offence didst take, in order that Thou couldst enrich our souls and make us lords in Thy heavenly mansion. Thou didst humble Thyself, in order to exalt us; Thou didst appear upon earth, in order that we in turn might come unto Thee in heaven. O God, Holy Spirit! our most exalted teacher and comforter, we to-day offer unto Thee the sacrifices of our lips and thank Thee with our hearts that Thou didst reveal this exalted mystery of godliness; and as the angels proclaimed it to the shepherds and chanted it on the plain, so let it still be preached unto us through Thy Word and its servants. Glory be to Thee, O God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost! in the highest, peace on earth and good will towards men. Help, O faithful God and father! that we may be partakers of the new birth of Thy dear Son, be relieved of our old sinful nature, and be and remain new born children of Thy grace and heirs of Thy kingdom. My Jesus, whom I count most dear, a clean soft bed prepare Thou here, to take within my heart Thy rest, so shall I hold Thy memory best. Grant, O God, Holy Spirit! that thus our Saviour be now and forevermore spiritually born and developed within us. Help also, that by virtue of this birth we may rejoice and be comforted amidst all temptations, patiently endure and overcome all things, and with all the angels of God praise, honor and glorify Thee, here in time and in heaven forever. Amen.

4. Prayer on New-Year’s Day.

O triune God, Thus have we again by Thy grace brought a year of our wretched life and weary pilgrimage upon earth to a close, and to-day in Thy name begin another. Lord! how unspeakably great is Thy goodness, how innumerable are Thy benefits which Thou hast shown unto me and mine in the past, though on account of our sins we have deserved nothing at Thy hands but wrath and punishment! Thou hast graciously preserved Thy precious Word and holy sacraments in Thy holy congregation, peace and unity in the government, prosperity and blessing in material comforts, and didst richly bestow for our enjoyment all manner of blessings for body and soul. Thou with paternal care didst protect Thy church from false doctrine and persecution on account of the true faith, our land from hostile invasion and evil contagion, our houses and property from fire and water, and didst by Thy care faithfully avert from us all dire calamities. How shall I find words to express the inestimable value of these blessings? How can I according to my obligations be sufficiently thankful? Behold, Lord, I offer to Thee, at the close of the old year, the fruits of my lips, and glorify Thy grace and mercy with all my strength and powers. My soul must honor Thee, my spirit must praise Thee, my mouth shall thank Thee, and all that is within me must proclaim Thy glory. I prostrate myself in heartfelt sorrow before Thy feet and confess unto Thee with a penitent heart all my sins in which I was conceived and born, and with which I have offended Thee during the past year, as well as during the whole of my past life.

Most beloved Father! do not now reckon such past sins to my condemnation, and do not remember in Thy wrath my past transgressions, but graciously forgive and forget the same for the sake of the sufferings of Thy dearly beloved Son. Jesus, my beloved Saviour, be merciful to me, a poor sinner, blot out like a cloud and mist all my transgressions by Thy merit, cast them into the sea of Thy innocent blood, that they may never more come to light or before the judgment of God. O God, Holy Spirit! create within me the new man, that I may not bring into the new year old sins and impurities, but to-day begin a new life and partake anew of Thy grace. Withhold from me, O Triune God! all long and well deserved punishment, and continue to bless me and mine with all manner of bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal gifts. Let Thy grace rest upon us anew every morning, and renew Thy good will to all who in this new year seek their refuge with Thee and wait upon Thy goodness. Grant unto us still further Thy precious Word, which is a joy and comfort to our hearts. Enlighten our teachers and pastors, and grant unto their holy work the blessing of heaven; strengthen our faithful rulers and prosper all their good undertakings, which are pleasing to Thee. Bless our parents, and prosper Thou the work of their hands. Fill our souls with true fear of God, and our hearts with joy in the Holy Ghost. Bestow unto our bodies health, and grant peace within our borders. Crown this year with Thy goodness and grant unto us that which is necessary to the support of life. Protect Thy church from error in the faith and from scandalous living, our land from war, famine and pestilence, our homes from consuming flames and all damage and danger, the products of the field from hail and tempest. Curb the wrath and fury of satan, and send Thy heavenly hosts that they may guard and protect us in all our ways. Convert our enemies and check all our persecutors, help the oppressed, provide for the poor, feed the hungry, give drink unto the thirsty, clothe the naked, free the innocent captives, comfort the distressed, gladden the sorrowing, strengthen the weak, care for the sick, be merciful to the widows and orphans, deliver the oppressed, guide the traveler and accompany the dying through death unto life.

Lord! teach us to act according to Thy good pleasure, and Thy good Spirit direct our footsteps, that we may walk before Thee in faith, patience and hope, in godliness and honesty, in meekness, humility and chastity, and all Christian virtues. But when we sin, then chastise us gently; when our sins trouble us, comfort us with Thy grace, and Thy joyful Spirit uphold us. When satan assails us, do Thou support us, when the world persecutes us, then protect us; when our flesh and blood would overpower us, then strengthen our spirit; when we err, set us aright again. When we fall, lift us up by Thy hand. When we become weak and weary in our calling, refresh us. When we are in necessity and danger, relieve us. When we are sick and weak, then be our physician. Should we according to Thy will during this year depart from hence, grant that our spirits be commended into Thy hands. O Lord! hear; Lord! be merciful; Lord! take heed and grant it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

5. Prayer on Epiphany.

Most merciful Saviour! Thou didst indeed show Thyself to be the God of the Jews and the Gentiles, and as the true light that desires to enlighten all men who come into this world unto everlasting life, as Thou didst not only by a bright and wonderful star lead unto Thyself the wise men of the east, who were induced to honor and worship Thee as their king, but didst also lead us poor heathen by the enlightening power of Thy holy Word into Thy gracious kingdom and unto the saving knowledge of Thee. O my Saviour! Thy faithfulness and mercy shown unto us are so great, that we can never sufficiently praise Thee. We were without God strangers and excluded from the commonwealth of Israel. But Thou hast made us Thy people, fellow-citizens with the saints and a household of God. On account of our blindness we were not enabled to know Thee and to find the way to everlasting life; but Thou, Lord Jesus! didst enlighten our minds and enrich us in all knowledge. We sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; but Thou didst let Thy glory shine upon us, so that now we walk in Thy light, and finally enter eternal blessedness in heaven. For this we justly worship and praise Thee with thankful hearts and tongues on this holy day, and will sing of Thy grace and goodness all the days of our life. But we pray Thee, O most faithful Saviour! with our whole soul, that Thou wouldst so multiply Thy grace unto us, as to preserve us and our posterity to the end of time in a saving knowledge of Thee, and by Thy Holy Spirit wouldst so lead and direct us as no more to walk like the heathen in the vanity of our minds and our own fleshly lusts, but rather live godly as children of light, and with humble obedience serve Thee all our days as our King. As Thou, most beloved Saviour, didst so gloriously deliver us from the kingdom of darkness and mercifully received us into the kingdom of grace—into Thy Christian church, grant us also to be blessed saints of heaven, and heirs of Thine eternal glory, for the sake and honor of Thy great name. Amen.

6. Prayer on the Day of Purification.

Lord Jesus! Thou highly exalted and beloved Son of God! I thank Thee with all my heart, that for my good Thou didst not only become true man, but also for my sake didst become subject to the law, and at Thy presentation didst participate in the offering of purification, in order that Thou mightest redeem me from the curse of the law, and cleanse my soul from its abominable impurities. I acknowledge myself therefore under obligations also to present myself unto Thee, and offer myself a living and acceptable sacrifice to God. But whilst I cannot do so of my own self, I ask Thee, beloved Saviour, to sanctify me by Thy innocent blood and holy Spirit, in order that I may henceforth earnestly guard myself against all sins, keep my body and soul unpolluted and serve Thee during my life in holiness and righteousness. Most beloved Saviour! Grant, that, following the example of the devout Simeon, I may amidst all distress and misery of this life, in all fear and anguish of conscience, with the arms of true faith, embrace and press Thee to my heart, yea, enclose Thee in my heart and never permit Thee to depart therefrom. May my eyes ever be directed toward Thee, O desirable Light of the world! and behold in Thee their only delight. Infuse into my heart a knowledge of Thy holy will and a heartfelt confidence in Thy precious merit, and grant, that I may manifest the same through good works before men. Banish from my heart, O Thou Brightness of glory! all innate darkness and evil propensities, and may I with Simeon believe aright, live holy and die happy. When the end of my life draws nigh, then, O beloved Redeemer, bear me up in Thy strong arm and merciful hands, that satan may nevermore separate me from Thee. Grant unto me with Simeon a joyous departure from this world and bestow unto me, Thy servant, such grace that I may depart in peace, and with all the elect behold Thee, face to face, in eternal bliss. Amen, dear Jesus! Amen.

7. Prayer on the Day of the Annunciation.

Awake, my soul, and rejoice in the Lord, thy Saviour, thank the Most High, who so faithfully fulfilled his prophecy and sent his Son into the world. Rejoice and be glad that God himself out of love to thee became man and related to thee through blood. Who can sufficiently praise His mercy and loving-kindness? O Lord! what is man that Thou art mindful of him; and the son of man that Thou doest thus receive him unto Thyself? O dear Jesus! I thank Thee with all my heart, that Thou in the blessed womb of Thy mother Mary didst so intimately unite Thyself with our human nature, and in the assumed humanity didst reconcile me with Thy heavenly Father. Thou, my Saviour! didst humble Thyself so deeply in order that I should be exalted; Thou didst become the son of man in order that I might become a child of God, Thy brother (sister) and a beloved spouse. Thou didst descend from Thy throne unto us, that Thou mightest render it possible for me to partake of Thy great glory in heaven. How couldst Thou indeed have shown greater love to me? Therefore, most beloved Saviour! do I rejoice in my heart and know truly that I stand in Thy grace, for Thou canst not despise nor be angry with Thy own flesh and blood. Though I am sinful and unholy, yet do I comfort myself by Thy holiness and innocence. Though I offended God with sins, yet I know that Thou art the Mediator between God and me, and that Thou wilt appease His wrath and deliver me from all evil, which I have to fear on account of my misdeeds. Jesus, my brother, although I have deserved death and hell, Thou canst make me holy and receive me unto eternal life. Where my flesh and blood reigns, there I hope also to be and remain eternally. To this help me, most beloved Saviour! for the sake of Thy blessed incarnation. Amen.

8. Prayer on Maundy-Thursday.

Most beloved Jesus! I thank Thee with all my heart, in the council of the pious and congregation of the Lord, that Thou, before Thy entrance into death, hast been so mindful of us, Thy christian people, and didst prepare such a glorious feast for our souls. I praise Thee, O most merciful Saviour! with all my powers and abilities, that Thou didst not only present Thyself as an offering, that Thou wast sacrificed upon the cross for my sins and those of the  world, but also doest feed us poor creatures in Thy Holy Supper with Thy body and blood, through which Thou doest appropriate unto us all Thy purchased gifts of grace and benefits. Lord! the bread we break is indeed the communion of Thy body that died for us upon the cross, and the cup we drink at the holy altar, is the communion of the most precious blood, which Thou in all Thy painful sufferings hast shed for us. In what respects indeed are we worthy that Thou doest manifest such grace unto us? Who are we that Thou doest draw so nigh unto us and unite with us in such a manner as to be and dwell within us, and also we, as members of Thy body, shall remain with Thee forever! How can we compensate Thee that Thou doest so heartily receive our souls unto Thyself and freest them from all transgression and threatening condemnation; on the other hand doest bestow upon them Thy perfect obedience, merit and righteousness, yea, doest give Thy own Self as a pledge for their salvation! Most beloved Jesus! as Thou hast instituted by Thy Holy Supper a memorial of Thy wonderful gifts of grace, so it shall be a lasting memorial in my heart of Thy love and mercy. As oft as I shall eat of this bread and drink of this cup, will I proclaim Thy death and with a thankful heart praise what Thou hast done for us. O help! my Saviour and Redeemer, that I may be confirmed more and more in my faith by this blessed food and glorious cup, that I be forever united with Thee and strengthened to lead a holy life upon earth and be positively assured of the eternal life of joy in heaven, for the sake of Thy holy merit. Amen.

9. Prayer on Good-Friday.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou innocent and spotless Lamb of God, who didst suffer for us the ignominious death of the cross, which it is Thy will that it never be forgotten by us. From the depth of our hearts we again give Thee praise, honor and thanks for this Thy love and mercy, that Thou didst so dearly purchase us poor sinners by Thy innocent sufferings and death, and didst become obedient to Thy heavenly Father, unto death on the cross. Thou didst also shed Thy precious blood to wash away and blot out our sins, and didst lay down Thy life in order to rescue us from eternal death. O faithful Saviour! how much didst Thou suffer in our behalf; what unspeakable torture and pain didst Thou endure in body and soul in order that we might be free from it forever. O Lord Jesus! Thou patient Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world, we confess, that with our manifold and gross sins we have caused Thee such pains and labors and brought about this Thy death. Be gracious and merciful unto us and let this Thy bitter and painful suffering not be in vain for us. Grant unto us Thy grace that daily we may think of Thy death, heartily praise and thank Thee for the same, and by the contemplation of these Thy sufferings and crucifixion we may crucify and mortify in us all lusts of the flesh and evil passions of our corrupt nature, and since Thou didst suffer for us, help therefore also, that we may obediently follow Thee with the cross, which we daily deserve on account of our sins, and for Thy sake, bear all things patiently, that, finally, we may, with all the elect, be and forever remain with Thee in heavenly joy and bliss. Amen.

10. Prayer on the Festival of Easter.

We thank Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, Thou blessed Prince of life, that Thou out of divine love, didst give Thyself into death for us, and didst offer Thyself as a propitiation for our sins unto Thy heavenly Father; whereby Thou didst deliver us from the power of death, of the devil and of everlasting damnation, and in proof whereof Thou, as the Prince of life and as the Conqueror of death, didst lift up Thy head on the third day, didst rise again, and didst bring forth righteousness, innocence and eternal life. We beseech Thee, give us grace, and so operate in us through Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily rejoice and find comfort in Thy death and resurrection, and thereby quiet our consciences and overcome all fear of death. Do Thou also permit Thy resurrection to be a cause and an incitement to us to do good works and to bring forth fruits of righteousness, so that we, as Thy people, may be willing to worship Thee in the beauty of holiness. Help that we may daily die unto sin, crucify and slay the old Adam with his evil lusts and desires, and, on the other hand, spiritually arise, begin to live in righteousness, to walk in newness of life, to purge out the old leaven, and to become a new unleavened bread. Help also that we may await with comfort and joyful hope the resurrection of our deceased bodies, which shall come forth in virtue of Thy resurrection, on the last day, and that we may enter into Thy presence with body and soul in the kingdom of Thy everlasting heavenly glory and excellence. Amen.

11. Prayer on Ascension Day.

Lord Jesus Christ, Thou eternal High Priest and King of all thrones, after Thou hadst finished all things upon earth, which had been written concerning Thee, Thou didst enter into the heaven of glory in and according to Thy exalted humanity, and didst sit down at the right hand of God upon the throne of majesty; yet Thou art everywhere and Thy kingdom is over all. We, however, are still pilgrims here below, in the valley of misery, in a world which lies in wickedness, and of which Thou didst say, that Thou hast overcome it. Where now is the way which will lead us safely through to Thee? O Lord, how shall we find the way, unless Thou teachest us through Thy Spirit, and through Him leadest and preservest us upon it?

Lord, the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, and all its best glory is as perishable as the day that was yesterday. Our stay in it, moreover, is of few days that pass away swiftly indeed, more swiftly than water. O, lead us on the way to heaven, into Thy glory, where we can remain with Thee forever. Behold, we die, one after the other, and pass away as a shadow. But we ourselves with difficulty take it to heart: each one travels the road that seems to him to be right. Do Thou therefore make our heart certain, that we may not walk upon any other road than the one that leads us to Thee and to Thy imperishable glory.

Lord, Thou sittest as our Redeemer and Mediator at the right hand of Majesty in heaven, in order to save us eternally and to make us happy in Thy kingdom. Be Thou therefore mindful of us even when we forget ourselves, and save us mightily, and make us happy, not for our sake, but for Thy sake. For the kingdom which we shall inherit, is Thine; Thine is the power to lead us into it; and Thine shall be all the honor and glory forever, when we, as Thy rescued children, shall be happy in Thy kingdom. Amen. Hear us for the sake of Thy eternal love and mercy. Amen.

12. Prayer on Whitsunday.

O God, who didst visit and endow the hearts of Thy saints so graciously and richly with Thy Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, O pour out this Thy Spirit and merciful shower also upon our barren and drooping hearts, refresh Thy inheritance and comfort the miserable. Come, O Holy Spirit, and adorn us with Thy manifold gifts, that we may truly perceive and praise the great deeds of God, which were accomplished through Jesus Christ, and that we may speak, glorify and spread Thy Word with new tongues; enkindle us with the fire of Thy wholesome fervor, burn out all internal malice, together with all other fleshly lusts and desires; light the lamp of Thy truth, so that we may serve our God fervently in spirit and in faith, and with true earnestness and zeal.

O Thou God of peace, bind our hearts with the bonds of Thy peace, that we may remain and live with each other in meekness and humility, in peace and unity. O Thou God of patience, give us patience during the time of our life, and firmness unto the end. O Thou Spirit of prayer, awaken our hearts, that we may lift them together with holy hands up to God, and call upon him in every time of need; and as we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, O do Thou, as our faithful Interceder, make intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered. O Thou gentle wind, cool and refresh our hearts in every fiery trial and anguish, be our protection and shelter in time of need, our help in affliction, our comfort in adversity.

Come, Thou mighty God, and comfort the weak, teach the miserable Thy way, help those also who have fallen, put those aright who err, hold them with Thy right hand. Come, O Thou eternal Light, Salvation and Comfort, be our Light in darkness, be our Salvation in life, be our Comfort in death, and lead us upon the straight path unto life everlasting, in order that we may praise, extol and glorify Thee, O Holy Ghost, together with our heavenly Father and His beloved Son, our only Saviour, with truly new tongues on the true day of Pentecost in heaven for ever and ever. Amen.

13. Prayer on the Festival of the Holy Trinity.

O Thou incomprehensible, eternal God, Thou King of kings, and Lord of lords, Thou, who only hast immortality and dwellest in the light which no man can approach unto, we thank Thee in humility of heart, that Thou didst come forth out of Thy light and reveal Thyself as one God in three persons. But because this exalted mystery of the holy Trinity transcends all our conception and understanding, do Thou Thyself bring our reason, which thinks itself to be wise, into captivity to Thy obedience, and do not permit its foolishness to set itself against Thy wisdom. But do Thou impress upon our hearts the living and believing knowledge, that Thou art Three and One, in order that we may steadfastly preserve this truth as a precious treasure against all error, and with the deepest humility may worship Thee, O Triune God, with equal honor, according to Thy revelation.

Give us, O holy Father, a knowledge of Thee, that Thou comest from no one, but didst beget Thy Son from eternity and together with Him lettest the Holy Spirit proceed from Thee; but also how Thou didst give Thyself to us as our Father, in order that we might, in childlike obedience and confidence, consecrate unto Thee every thing in us that is Thy work. Eternal Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, reveal Thyself unto us also; how Thou wast begotten from eternity by Thy heavenly Father as the brightness of His glory and as the image of His essence, Light of Light, very God of very God; how Thou out of love to us didst become our brother and didst redeem us with Thy obedience, suffering and death, that we might in Thee learn to know the Father aright, and through Thee come to Him, and also enjoy the fruits of Thy salvation, here in righteousness and holiness, hereafter in the communion of Thy glory. Lord God Holy Ghost, put Thy light into our souls, in order that we may know how Thou proceedest as the essential Breath from the Father and the Son from eternity, as the true God and as a true person, also how Thou laborest faithfully at the work of our sanctification. O continue the same in power, to enlighten, purify, comfort and keep us, and to urge us to do all that is good, in order that we may through Thy operation at last appear altogether holy and pure before the throne of Thy glory.

To Thee, O Thou holy Trinity, be ascribed, by us and all creatures, praise, honor, glory and thanks to all eternity, for Thy eternal majesty and glory which Thou hast revealed unto us in Thy Word, and for all the grace and benefits with which Thou hast blessed us. Amen.

14. Prayer on the Day of John the Baptist.

Merciful God and Father in heaven, to Thee I give the humblest thanks with heart and lips, that Thou didst so mercifully visit us poor human beings through the giving of Thy dearest Son, and didst raise up our Lord Jesus as a horn of salvation in Thy church, in order that we should lay hold of the same in true faith, receive comfort, joy and salvation from the same, and sustain ourselves by it in danger and in death. Equal thanks do I owe Thee, Lord Jesus, Thou day-spring from on high, that Thou didst so gloriously enlighten, through Thy appearing, us poor, blind people who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, and didst direct our feet upon the way of divine peace. No less do I thank Thee, O God Holy Ghost, that Thou didst raise up John as a prophet of the Highest, and didst give through him the knowledge of salvation which consists in the forgiveness of sins. O holy Trinity, give me Thy grace, that I may worthily acknowledge such great benefits, and be thankful to Thee always for the same, not only in words, but also in a Christian life, and serve Thee all the days of my life in holiness and righteousness, which are pleasing to Thee, until in the land of eternity I shall behold Thee face to face, and sing, with the assembly of the chosen, the never-ending hymns of praise and thanks. Amen.

15. Prayer on the Day of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary.

Gracious God, heavenly Father, how great is Thy grace, how unsearchable Thy mercy toward me, a poor sinner! Thou didst send Thy only Son and permit Him to become a true man, in order that I might, through the blessed fruit of the womb of a virgin, receive the divine blessing, and be and remain one of the blessed of the Lord. For such Thy great kindness I give Thee hearty thanks, and humbly beseech Thee at the same time, that Thou wouldst be pleased to enkindle my heart with the fire of the Holy Spirit, in order that my soul may also magnify Thee, and my spirit rejoice at all times in my Saviour. O why should I not magnify Thee with due praise, how could my spirit refrain from rejoicing? Thou, kind God, hast done great things for me, not only in my creation and preservation, but also in the salvation of my soul, which Thy dearest Son Jesus Christ snatched from death, with which He united Himself, and which He has promised to love eternally. O Lord, continue to look upon me with the eyes of Thy mercy, as Thou didst look upon the Virgin Mary, and permit Thy grace to be ever with me, and I shall glorify and praise Thee forever and ever. Amen.

16. Prayer on St. Michael’s Day.

O thou faithful God! Lover, Protector and Preserver of the human race, Thou Lord of Hosts, unto whom thousand thousands minister, and before whom ten thousand times ten thousand stand, by whom all things were created, both the visible and the invisible, the thrones and dominions; how great is Thy love to men, that from their infancy Thou hast ordered to be with them Thy holy angels, these constant, humble, friendly, God-loving, obedient, true, good spirits, these beautifully resplendent, heavenly flaming fires, these strong heroes, these holy watchmen, who encamp round about us that fear Thy name, who always behold the face of our Father in heaven, and stand before Thy throne; by means of whom Thou dost protect the three estates which Thou Thyself hast ordained on earth. O God, what is man, that Thou art thus mindful of him! We render unto Thee everlasting praise and thanks for Thy goodness, that Thou hast sent forth the ministering spirits, to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. We pray Thee, give Thy angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways, to bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone; that we may tread upon the lion and adder, and trample under our feet the young lion and the dragon. Drive away from us all evil spirits, which are murderers and liars from the beginning. Protect us against their anger and rage, their lies and blasphemies, their cunning and deceit, that they may not sow their tares among the wheat in our hearts. Restrain the lying spirits in the mouth of all false prophets, the murderous spirit in all tyrants, the spirit of pride and avarice in the family. Let Thy holy angels always accompany us like Jacob, protect us like the prophet Elisha, bring us bread and water and furnish us with fiery horse and chariot like Elias, let them give unto us wholesome counsel and comfort. Let them be with us in our tribulation, as they were with the three men in the fiery furnace and with Daniel in the lion’s den; let them deliver us, and lead us out, from all our troubles, as they led out Lot from burning Sodom, Peter from the prison, Paul from the shipwreck. Let our house and land, our children and all that we possess, be protected by Thy holy angels, as was the house of Job, that the enemy may not molest us. Let us live in Thy fear, love Thy Word and Gospel, into which the angels desire to look. Work true repentance in our hearts, that the angels in heaven may rejoice over us. Kindle in us fervent prayer and praise of Thy name, that we may perform an angel’s office and sing with them: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth. And finally let also our souls be carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, and in the resurrection on that day make us like unto the holy angels, that we may be in their society. Amen.

17. Prayer on the Festival of the Reformation.

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst come into the world to call sinners to repentance and to enlighten all men unto life eternal, we praise Thee with our whole heart, and extol Thy great goodness and mercy, that Thou didst not only enter into this place and into this church and congregation with Thy divine Word and holy Sacraments, and didst purge out the leaven of papistic doctrine and idolatry, but that Thou hast also redeemed us poor sinners from the kingdom of darkness, hast called us into the light of Thy holy Gospel, and hast transplanted us into Thy kingdom of grace.

O Lord Jesus, we are not worthy of all Thy goodness and faithfulness, yet we pray Thee with humble hearts, that Thou wouldst continue among us Thy grace, with Thy divine Word and holy Sacraments, that Thy holy name may be known by us, that it alone may be feared and honored by us, and we all may live, and serve Thee, according to Thy divine pleasure. And what we have done amiss against Thee and Thy holy Word, by not having been obedient to the Gospel, do Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, graciously pardon, and do not on account of our sin take from us this saving treasure, but preserve it unadulterated unto us and unto our posterity. Yea, Lord Jesus, preserve unto us Thy Word, for it is the joy and comfort of our hearts.

Guard and defend us and Thy whole Christian, especially Thy Evangelical Lutheran, Church against all error, unbelief, and the pernicious doctrine of others. Restrain all enemies, persecutors and blasphemers, and be Thou our refuge, our strength, our shield and buckler, that the gates of hell may not prevail against us. Especially do we beseech Thee, O Lord our Saviour, that Thou wouldst enter into the house of our heart, that Thou wouldst enlighten us by Thy Holy Spirit, purify our hearts and graciously grant, that we may walk worthy of the Gospel, and remain steadfast in the truth once known and confessed, unto our end. O Lord Jesus, let our souls obtain Thy salvation, that we may be saved through Thee and in Thy kingdom behold Thee and Thy great glory forever and ever. Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen.

18. Prayer on Church-Consecration Day.

Lord God, our heavenly Father, who dost through Thy Word and Thy Holy Spirit gather for Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, a church and holy congregation in our midst, and hast hitherto preserved pure doctrine and the true worship of God against the devil and all enemies, yea, against the gates of hell: do Thou, O good and faithful God, continue to preserve unto us this dear and precious treasure, do Thou also make our descendants partakers of the same, so that we, instructed in saving knowledge, may grow and increase, until we shall receive an everlasting habitation in the kingdom of Thy Son, and be saved through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.

19. Prayer on Harvest Festival.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: because His mercy and truth endure forever. Let Israel now say, that His mercy endureth forever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that His mercy endureth forever. Let them now that fear the Lord say, that His mercy endureth forever. O, how we feared the destruction of the precious grain in the fields! O, how we took thought and troubled ourselves, lest the bread which God has yet given us in these hard times might be snatched away before our eyes and out of our hands! But it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning. Now all, to God give thanks, who has everywhere done marvelous things, who has preserved us alive from our birth, and has done countless favors. May He grant us a joyful heart, and in these times continual peace in Israel, and that His grace remain always with us, and uphold us, as long as we live. O God, give peace to Thy land, prosperity and salvation to every estate. Lord God, heavenly Father, who dost create holy courage, good counsel and good works, give to Thy servants peace, which the world cannot give, so that our hearts may cling to Thy commandment, and that we may, by Thy protection, live through our days quietly and securely against our enemies, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, our Lord. Amen.

And now, O God, we know and confess with grateful hearts, that Thou hast given us the early and the latter rain in due season, and hast faithfully and annually protected our harvests. Thou hast watered our ridges abundantly: Thou hast settled our furrows: Thou makest it soft with showers: Thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou hast prospered our grain, and tilled our land. Thanks, praise, glory and honor be unto God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

We also pray Thee, O our God and Father, from the depth of our hearts, that Thou wouldst give unto us all Thy Holy Spirit, so that we may receive with thanksgiving what Thou bestowest upon us, and may sanctify it with Thy Word and prayer, that it may be employed and used to Thy glory and for our temporal support, for the benefit of churches and schools, and of our needy neighbor, and that thereby the shameful and hurtful worship of mammon may be most diligently avoided. Protect this place and also the entire country against war and danger, against dangerous and hostile invasion and destruction. Give to our government the spirit of wisdom, of counsel, of power and strength. Confirm and preserve peace among us. Let us pass the days of our earthly life in true knowledge of Thy holy name and in Thy fear, also in health, peace and union, and finally grant to us all everlasting salvation, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

20. Prayer on Mission Festival.

Almighty God, Thou who created the world and all that is therein, and hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth: Thou who art not far from every one of us; for in Thee we live and move and have our being: Thou, who in times past didst suffer the gentiles to walk in their own ways, but now commandest all men everywhere to repent and with Thy grace doest visit their hearts.

Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, that Thy salvation may everywhere abound, and the glory of Thy name extend itself unto the ends of the earth. Look down from Thy height upon the misery of so many nations, who yet sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, who are ignorant of their divine origin, and lie under the cruel tyranny of satan. The Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, hath not yet risen upon them. They walk in the vanity of their minds. Their reason is clouded because of great darkness. They are estranged from the life that is of God, through the ignorance that is in them and through the blindness of their heart. The god of this world hath blinded their understanding, and the common enemy of souls has taken them captive according to his will.

Grant, merciful God, that by the misfortune of others we may realize our own blessedness, and bewail the lamentable state of blindness, with which Thou hast smitten the gentiles, and worthily apply the greater light so graciously presented unto us to so much the greater holiness. O do Thou finally suffer the light of the Gospel to rise unto those, who are yet far from Christ, the true Sun, and who have hitherto altogether groped in thick darkness of idolatry. Through the loving voice of the Gospel, bring back these scattered sheep into Thy spiritual fold. Grant such shepherds, who will not rule vigorously and harshly over the sheep, nor devour their substance and clothe themselves with their wool; but who, in the spirit of love and gentleness will wait upon the weak, heal the sick, bind up the wounded, bring back the erring, seek the lost, and in walk and life present themselves a living example to the gentiles. And inasmuch as the word of the Gospel, concerning the love of God as revealed in Christ, is the only means to reconcile man with God, and to gather the erring sheep into the fold of Christ, do Thou grant, that all who go forth to proclaim the Gospel unto the heathen, may, with divine wisdom, make known the word of reconciliation, with boldness overcome all hindrances, and disregarding all selfish motives in the discharge of so holy an office, may seek nought but the glory of Thy name, and the extension of the kingdom of heaven. Grant, that they themselves may plainly know and acknowledge the mystery of the cross, as the central point of Evangelical doctrine, may not pretend to know anything among the gentiles, save Christ Jesus and Him crucified, and worthily extol Him to others as the only hope of glory and fountain of salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Amen.

21. From Caspar Neuman’s Substance of all Prayers.

(Thanksgiving.)

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Thou art the almighty God of heaven and earth, and in Thee we live, move, and have our being. Thou, however, doest desire that man should live by bread, and therefore didst, in the beginning of the world, make the earth fruitful through Thy almighty Word, and after the days of the flood, didst declare that while the earth remaineth seed-time and harvest shall not cease. Behold, Lord, this Thy order, once established, continueth yet, and Thou still doest ever crown the year with Thy goodness. Thou doest cause grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man. Thus Thou bringest bread out of the earth and doest fill our hearts with joy and gladness. Most loving God, how wisely indeed hast Thou ordered all things! How great is Thy goodness toward us, who are not worthy of Thy bread. And how wonderfully infinite Thy omnipotence, when Thou doest increase the little grain which moulders in the earth, into a hundredfold! It is Thy unsearchable wisdom, this Thine unutterable goodness, mercy and omnipotence, which hath again this year visited our land. Men had sowed their seed in hope, but Thou hast hitherto blessed the seed in the fields, and hast moreover permitted us to live to the time, when men everywhere reap and gather into barns what Thou hast given. O Lord, Thou God of riches, all that men harvest is indeed Thine; for we of ourselves can bring forth nothing out of the earth, and be it little or much, it is still more than we have merited. Thanks be also unto Thy holy name for each and every gift, which Thou hast bestowed on our fields during this year. Thou alone art the God, who doest sustain us from the day of our birth, and shower Thy blessings upon us. Wherefore unto Thee alone be all the praise, honor and thanksgiving now and in eternity.

(Petition.)

We beseech Thee, O kind Father, that Thou wouldst not again take from us in Thy wrath, what Thou in Thy grace hast given. Thou Thyself hast said in Thy Word, that rain is not seemly in harvest. So do Thou not permit that the blessings of the fields, which Thou hast hitherto spread out before our eyes, may perish by unfavorable weather. Do Thou also henceforth guard that which has been gathered into barns and garners, against danger by fire and water, against thieves and unfaithful stewards, against usurers and unscrupulous grain-speculators, and against all else that might rob us, or destroy Thy gifts. Moreover let us not forget that all we receive comes from Thee and is Thine. Do Thou likewise help that because of this we may never be discontented with what Thou givest, never uselessly squander aught of it through luxury and wantonness, never lock up any of Thy gifts unmercifully against our needy neighbor through avarice or envy; nor in mistrust against Thee brood over it with cares, as though that which Thou hast given be not sufficient for our wants. Inasmuch as we in future will have need of Thy providing care, do Thou not in Thy wrath let our land remain uncultivated, lest it lie waste and become unfruitful when forsaken. Prevent every thing which might hinder the tilling of the fields after harvest. And, that no years may come, in which man sows but does not reap, do Thou provide that neither frost nor heat, neither floods nor drought, nor destructive insects destroy the seed in the earth by which we in future are to live.

(Prayer.)

Be Thou with us, O gracious loving Father, and preserve unto us our daily bread, which Thou during the present harvest doest everywhere distribute. Above all grant favorable weather and constant sunshine, that the ripening grain may all fully mature, so that which yet remains in the fields may be stored away in good condition. Bless that which has been gathered into barns, that it may be prepared for our daily use, increase it while passing through our hands in preparing it, may it be blessed to our nourishment; grant us life and health, peace and quietude, to enjoy all that Thou hast given in such a manner, that it may not only give strength to the body, but also be good and wholesome to the soul, so that Thy temporal blessing may thus in manifold ways redound to our welfare. When Thou hast heard these our petitions and prayers, then remind us also of our obligations, and grant that we acknowledge all our substance to be the gift of Thy goodness, that we heartily thank Thee for it, savingly use it, serve our bodies with it, as is meet, willingly impart of it to others, and finally devote and use all we have received of Thee alone unto Thy honor. Do Thou continue in future to bless our land with Thy gracious visitation, improve and enrich it with great fertility. Give warmth to the dust of the earth. Refresh the fields with fruitful showers, water their furrows, moisten the plowed ground, and do Thou prosper the grain to be sown therein, that the land may continue to yield forth its increase, the valleys be covered with corn, so that we may shout for joy and sing Thy praise forevermore.

(Intercession.)

Yea, Thou art God, Who Daily Openest Thy liberal hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Therefore do Thou during this season of harvest provide for all people, and let every one receive his proportion of food. Remind each one of his duties, that the indolent may not sleep in time of harvest and neglect the necessary interests of himself and his household. But do Thou likewise grant strength to those, who in the sweat of their face gather their daily bread; refresh them when they are weary, and permit each one with his household to enjoy in good health what his fields have produced, that we all may be truly glad because of Thy benefits. But do Thou also help that the rich may not depend upon their barn bursting with plenty, and thereby forget that their souls may be taken from them unawares, and another obtain possession of that which they have gathered. Remember the poor, who have nothing to harvest. Grant that others may help gather also for them, and do Thou thyself recompense those who permit them to glean ears in their fields, or who impart unto them of their abundance. In short, where there is but little, do Thou bless the small supply, that it may be sufficient for the wants to whom it is given, and where Thou hast given a large supply, do Thou so control it, that it may not be abused unto evil. Preserve tranquility and peace in all lands, that strangers come not unto us and devour our harvests. Do Thou everywhere guard against failures, hard times and famine. And do Thou also ward off from us everything which might render it difficult for us to obtain the necessary things for the support of temporal life. On the other hand, do Thou permit every one to enjoy what Thou hast allotted to him, that rich and poor alike may acknowledge and praise Thee for evermore. Finally, O Thou Saviour of all men, we ourselves are the spiritual stewards in Thy church, and Thou art the Lord of the harvest; we therefore pray Thee to send laborers into Thy harvest, and let Thy harvest among men likewise become great in all places. Grant that good seed may everywhere be sown, and pure doctrine be preached among all christians. Protect the world against the tares, which the devil is busy in scattering forth. Convert those who sow in unrighteousness and reap in sorrow, or sow unto the flesh and of the flesh reap destruction. Sanctify us all together, that we may be of one mind in Christ, and may sow unto the spirit, and of the spirit once reap eternal life. Yea, when once the entire world shall be sufficiently ripe for the last harvest, then grant that we all, as pure wheat, may be bound into sheaves and gathered into Thy garners, and be preserved in heaven unto eternal joys. There shall we as those whom Thou hast promised, reap without ceasing what we have sown here, and rejoice as they that rejoice in harvest, with unspeakable joy. Hear us, O God, and grant us all what we ask, for the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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