We beseech You, Master, to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us; have mercy on the lowly;
Raise up the fallen; appear to the needy; heal the ungodly;
Restore the wanderers of Your people;
Feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners;
Raise up the sick; comfort the faint-hearted.
St Clement of Rome, 1st century-101 AD
Lord, our God, you know who we are: People with good and bad consciences; satisfied and dissatisfied, sure and unsure people; Christians out of conviction and Christians out of habit; believers, half-believers, and unbelievers…But now we all stand before you: in all our inequality equal in this, that we are all in the wrong before you and among each other…but also in that your grace is promised to and turned toward all of us through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy great mercy didst save Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and also didst safely lead the children of Israel thy people through the Red Sea, figuring thereby thy holy Baptism, and by the Baptism of thy well beloved Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan, didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin; We beseech thee, for thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt mercifully look upon this Child; wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost; that he, being delivered from thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church; and being steadfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with thee, world without end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
–1789 Book of Common Prayer (Baptism Prayer)
“We adore you, Christ, Son of the living God. In triumph you rose from the grave and bore in your hands the keys of death and hell: we rejoice in your almighty power and glory. Raise us up with you above all earthly desires. Inspire us with thoughts of joy, hope and love. Enter within our hearts and say, ‘Peace be with you.’ Give us grace to see you with the eyes of understanding so that we may know you walking by our side on our earthly pilgrimage. Come to us and dwell within us; stay with us and make yourself known to us in the scriptures and in the breaking of bread. Teach us, as we sail our boat through the darkness of life, to see you standing on the everlasting shore of peace and let us come to you across the waters.”
–from Downside Abbey Prayerbook, by David Foster (2001).
Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient song,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth!