Prayers of the Reformers (9): Protection of God’s Cause and Preservation of His Church

prayersofreformers-manschreckFrom the little treasure of collected Prayers of the Reformers compiled by Clyde Manschreck (Muhlenberg Press, 1958) come these two from John Knox (dated 1554) and Philip Melanchthon (also dated 1554) respectively.

Place yourself in the context of the fresh age of reformation in the church in the 16th century, and then fast-forward to our own time, and see the relevancy of these prayers then and now.

That God may protect His cause

Ah, Lord, most strong and mighty God, Thou destroyest the counsels of the ungodly, and riddest this world of tyrants, so that no counsel or force can resist Thine eternal counsel and everlasting determination. We Thy poor creatures and humble servants do most earnestly desire Thee, for the love that Thou hast to Thy well-beloved and only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that Thou wilt look upon Thy cause, for it is Thine, O Lord; and bring to nought all those things that are… against Thee and Thy holy word.

Let not the enemies of Thy truth oppress Thy Word and Thy servants which seek Thy glory…. Give unto the mouth of Thy people truth and wisdom which no man may resist. And although we may have most justly deserved this plague and famine of Thy Word, yet, upon our true repentance, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be thereof released.

And here we promise, before Thy divine Majesty, better to use Thy gifts than we have done, and more straitly to order our lives, according to Thy holy will and pleasure; and we will ever sing praises to Thy most blessed name, world without end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Knox, 1554)

For preservation of the church

To Thee, almighty God, eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of all things, including Thy church, and to Thy Son, and to the Holy Spirit: O God of wisdom and goodness, justice and mercy, we give thanks to Thee, because Thou hast preserved Thy church; and we ask Thee for the sake of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to continue to watch over the church. Put upon her lips Thy gospel, that many hearts may turn to Thee, obey Thee, and be members of Thy church everlasting. Grant peace in these lands, O God, and unity among those who govern. Amen. (Melanchthon, 1554)

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