Prayer is, always, most effectual as it rises, formed in fervency, from the burdened spirit of a “righteous man” (James 5:16). The “righteous” believer is one who is “in Christ;” covered by His perfect life and faithfully following God’s revealed will through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, there are times, seasons of life, when the righteous one lies prostrate before Christ Jesus in prayers that are fervently, inexplicably silent. Such seasons yield the righteous “groanings” that St. Paul wrote of: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Sometimes the silent one is the priest. Zechariah-like he may struggle to form words in prayer for those in the flock.
The days in which we live are trying days on our souls. Horrendous acts of violence have, now, touched our people —here. Our nation is at war. In reading and praying through the timeless intercessions from the Prayerbook for Soldiers and Sailors (1941) I knew, personally, that this would be a remarkable resource for military chaplains, as well as their intrepid parishioners. Since we are each and all “Soldiers of the Cross” these prayers are most suitable, most Biblical, and most needed, for all of the Church during these difficult days.
There is much being made—appropriately so—of the religion of the enemy. Let us, also, be found faithful as a people in the religion of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us pray:
FOR GOD‘S HELP
Grant us, O Lord, in all our duties thy help, in all our perplexities thy counsel, in all our dangers thy protection, and in all our sorrows thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR GOD‘S PROTECTION
O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR AID AGAINST PERILS
Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR GOD‘S MERCY
O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
O God, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR CHRISTIAN GLADNESS
O God, Author of the world‘s joy, Bearer of the world‘s pain; At the heart of all our trouble and sorrow let unconquerable gladness dwell; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR THE COMPANIONSHIP OF CHRIST
O blessed Christ, who didst draw near to thy disciples as they walked together by the way and were sad; So draw near to us as we journey along our daily way. Open to us the meaning of life, and reveal thyself as our strength and our companion; as thou art our Lord and Saviour evermore. Amen.
FOR VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION
Grant us, O Lord, to pass this day in gladness and peace, without stumbling and without stain; that, reaching the eventide victorious over all temptation, we may praise thee, the eternal God, who art blessed, and dost govern all things, world without end. Amen.
Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR CONTROL OF SPEECH
O God, who knowest how often we sin against thee with our tongues; Keep us free from all untrue and unkind words; consecrate our speech to thy service; and keep us often silent, that our hearts may speak to thee and may listen for thy voice; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, grant us thy gift of loyalty. For our homes, give us love and obedience; for our country, sacrifice and service; for our Church, reverence and devotion; and in everything make us true to thee; through thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
FOR THOSE WE LOVE
O Thou who hast ordered this wondrous world, who knowest all things in earth and heaven; So fill our hearts with trust in thee, that by night and by day, at all times and in all seasons, we may without fear commit those who are dear to us to thy never-failing love, for this life and the life to come. Amen.
FOR LOYALTY TO OUR HOMES
Grant, O Lord, to those in the service of their country who have left wives and children at home, a stedfast loyalty through all the days of separation, that returning at length to their beloved they may know the joy of unbroken fidelity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE NATION
O eternal God, through whose mighty power our
fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR ALL IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY
O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE ARMY
O Lord God of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray thee, thine almighty arm to strengthen and protect the soldiers of our country. Support them in the day of battle, and in the time of peace keep them safe from all evil; endue them with courage and loyalty; and grant that in all things they may serve without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE NAVY
O eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens, and rulest the raging of the sea; Vouchsafe to take into thy almighty and most gracious protection our country‘s Navy, and all who serve therein. Preserve them from the dangers of the sea, and from the violence of the enemy; that they may be a safeguard unto the United States of America, and a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our land may in peace and quietness serve thee our God, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL IN CIVIL AUTHORITY
Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hearts of thy servants THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, The Governor of this State, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honour them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY
O Lord God Almighty, guide, we pray thee, all those to whom thou hast committed the government of this nation, and grant to them at this time special gifts of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and strength; that upholding what is right, and following what is true, they may obey thy holy will and fulfil thy divine purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR JUSTICE AND FREEDOM
O God, the King of righteousness, lead us, we pray thee, in ways of justice and peace; inspire us to break down all tyranny and oppression, to gain for every man his due reward, and from every man his due service; that each may live for all and all may care for each, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR WORLD PEACE
Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; Kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all men the true love of peace, and guide with thy strong and peaceful wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Almighty God, who makest even the wrath of man to turn to thy praise; We beseech thee so to order and dispose the issue of this war that we may be brought through strife to a lasting peace, and that the nations of the world may be united in a firmer fellowship, for the promotion of thy glory and the good of all mankind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and no strength known but the strength of love; So guide and inspire, we pray thee, the work of all who seek thy kingdom, that the nations may find their security not in force of arms but in that perfect love which casteth out fear, and in that fellowship revealed to us by thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
IN TIME OF WAR
O God, who seest that in this warfare we are seeking to serve thee, and yet in the waging of it must needs do many things that are an offence against thy love; Accept we pray thee, our imperfect offering. Arm us with thy Spirit that our warfare may further the victory of thy justice and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR GRACE TO FORGIVE
Merciful God, in whose dear Son we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins; Give us such strong belief in this the only power that can abolish evil that we shall be enabled to forgive our enemies; and grant us grace not only to forgive but to accept forgiveness through Christ, the crucified. Amen.
FOR THE PERSECUTED
O blessed Lord, who thyself didst undergo the pain and suffering of the Cross; Uphold, we beseech thee, with thy promised gift of strength all those of our brethren who are suffering for their faith in thee. Grant that in the midst of all persecutions they may hold fast by this faith, and that from their stedfastness thy Church may grow in grace and we ourselves in perseverance, to the honour of thy Name, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost art one God, world without end. Amen.
We beseech thee, O God, for all prisoners and captives, and all who suffer from oppression, that thou wilt manifest thy mercy toward them, and make the heart of man merciful as thine own; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE LONELY
Have compassion, O most merciful Lord, on all who are lonely and desolate. Be thou their Comforter and Friend; give them such earthly solace as thou seest to be best for them; and bring them to the fuller knowledge of thy love; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THOSE WHO MOURN
Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of all comfort; Deal graciously, we pray thee, with all those who mourn, that, casting every care on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THOSE WHO MINISTER TO THE WOUNDED AND SICK
O merciful God, whose blessed Son went about doing good; Uphold with thy strength and grace those who do service to the wounded and the sick; grant to the ministers of thy gospel faithfulness and love, to the physicians and surgeons wisdom and skill, to the nurses sympathy and patience; and we beseech thee to protect and bless them in all dangers, anxieties, and labours; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THOSE WOUNDED IN WAR
O Lord, we pray thee to have mercy upon all who are this day wounded and suffering. Though kindred and friends be far away, let thy grace be their comfort. Raise them to health again, if it be thy good pleasure; but chiefly give them patience and faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FOR THE DYING
Unto God‘s gracious mercy and protection we commit you. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace, both now and evermore. Amen.