On this final Lord’s Day of 2015, we post two more prayers from the book Prayers of the Reformers (compiled by Clyde Manschreck; Muhlenberg Press, 1958). Both are taken from the section “Confession and Penitence” and I include the headings below as they appear in the book (I have slightly edited the prayers by adding paragraphs).
Both prayers are fitting for our reflection and petition as we come to the close of the year and as we worship this day in the presence of our God.
Without God, nothing [Martin Luther]
O God, where would we be if thou shouldst forsake us? What can we do if thou withdrawest thy hand? What can we know if thou never enlightenest? How quickly the learned become babes; the prudent, simple; and the wise, fools! How terrible art thou in all thy works and judgments!
Let us walk in the light while we have it, so that darkness may not overcome us. Many renounce their faith and become careless and weary of thy grace. Deceived by Satan into thinking they know everything and have no need, they feel satisfied and thus become slothful and ungrateful, and are soon corrupted.
Therefore, help us to remain in the ardor of faith that we may daily increase in it through Jesus Christ our real and only Helper.
Confession and hope in Christ [Otto Wermullerus]
O almighty, everlasting God, merciful Father of heaven, thou hast created us after thine own image, and endowed us with exceeding plentiful gifts. Yet notwithstanding all thy benefits, we have in many and sundry ways contemned and transgressed thy commandments. All our days are passed forth with grievous sins. We fear and flee from thee, as from a righteous judge. All this, whatsoever it be, we freely acknowledge and confess, and are sorry for it from the bottom of our hearts.
But, O heavenly Father, we cry and call for thy great mercy: O enter not with us into judgment; remember not the sins of our youth. O think upon us according to thy mercy, for thy name’s sake, and for thy goodness, which hath been from everlasting. Vouchsafe to grant us thy mercy, which thou according to the contents of the gospel hast promised and opened through thy beloved Son, that whoso believeth on him shall have everlasting life.
Now is our belief in Jesus Christ, even in the only Redeemer of the whole world. We utterly refuse all other comfort, help and assistance; and our hope is only through Christ to have pardon of our sins and eternal life. Thy words are true; be it unto us according to thy words: O let us enjoy the benefits of the passion and death of thine only-begotten Son. Take for our sins the satisfaction and payment of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to our own belief. Of this our faith thou shalt thyself, O Lord, be witness, and all thine elect.
Our last will also shall it be, by thy mercy, to die in this faith. Though we now, by occasion of pain, lack of reason, or through temptation should fall away, suffer us not yet, O Lord, to remain in unbelief and blasphemy; but help our unbelief, strengthen and increase our faith, that sin, death, the devil, and hell do us no harm. Thou art stronger and mightier than they: that is our only trust and confidence.