A child’s thanksgiving for mothers

(Giles Harcourt)

Lord, we thank you for our mothers
and the gift of
their tenderness and understanding,
their patience and thoughtfulness,
their kindness and love.

We can be so wilful,
so thoughtless,
so impatient,
and so unkind;
for often we demand without grace
and receive without thanks
and always we expect more.
We expect our mothers to be there
to cater to our selfishness,
and then we wonder why
she gets tired and irritable
and thoroughly fed up.
Yet through all these things she loves us.

Lord, teach us to be thoughtful
and understanding and sensitive to our mother’s needs,
that we may ease her days
and increase her joy.
We ask this through the generous and loving example
of our saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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A Christian Litany of Humility

(Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val)

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,
– Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
– Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
– Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten,
– Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being ridiculed,
– Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being wronged,
– Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being suspected,
– Deliver me, Jesus
That others may be loved more than I,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase
and I may decrease,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
– Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.



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For Humility – Disturb Us, Lord

(Attr. to Sir Francis Drake, 1577)

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.


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Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart

Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)

Give me, O Lord,
a steadfast heart,
which no unworthy thought can drag downwards;
an unconquered heart,
which no tribulation can wear out;
an upright heart,
which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.

Bestow upon me also,
O Lord my God,
understanding to know thee
diligence to seek thee,
wisdom to find thee,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee;
through Jesus Chris our Lord.


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God be in my head (from The Book of Hours)

God be in my head, and in my undersatnding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.

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Love One Another – A Coptic Prayer

God of love, you have given us a new commandment, that we should love one another;

we are unworthy of your love and wander away from you, but we pray that you will give us throughout our lives a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience and a heart to love others even as you have loved us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Peace Prayer (of Saint Francis of Assisi)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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Prayer before a Crucifix (St Francis of Assisi)

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out Your holy and true command.


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Prayer for contentment with my lot

(after John Bunyan 1628-88, Pilgrim’s Progress)

Lord, help me to know that:
He who is down need fear no fall,
He that is low no pride;
He that is humble, ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
Make me content with what I have
Little be it or much;
And Lord, contentment ever crave
Because Thou savest such.

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Prayer for Forgiveness (Bishop David Konstant)

Lord God,
our loving Father,
you know all my sins and failures,
my weaknesses and temptations.
I come to you with deep sorrow in my heart
for the wrong I have done
and for the good I have failed to do.
Forgive me,
accept me,
stengthen me,
now and always.


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Prayer for Generosity (Jacques Sevin SJ after St Ignatius of Layola)

Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek to rest;
to labour and to ask for no reward
save that of knowing I do your will.

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Prayer for Serenity

(Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference;
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.



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Prayer for wisdom

William Penn (1644-1718)

O God,
help us not to despise or oppose
what we do not understand.


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Prayer from “The Cloud of Unknowing”

(Anon, 14th Century)


unto whom all hearts are open,
unto whom all wills do speak,
from whom no secret thing is hidden,
I beseech thee
so to cleanse the purpose of my heart
with the unutterable gift of thy grace
that I may perfectly love thee,
and worthily praise thee,


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Prayer of Intercession (William Barclay)

O God our Father,
help us all through this day so to live that we may bring help to others,
credit to ourselves and to the name we bear,
and joy to those that love us, and to thee.
Help us to be cheerful when things go wrong;
persevering when things are difficult;
serene when things are irritating.
Enable us to be helpful to those in difficulties;
kind to those in need;
sympathetic to those whose hearts are sore and sad.
Grant that nothing may make us lose our tempers;
nothing may take away our joy;
nothing may ruffle our peace;
nothing may make us bitter towards anyone.
This we ask for thy love’s sake. Amen.

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Prayer of St Thomas More (Be With Us Today)

Father in heaven,
you have given us a mind to know you,
a will to serve you,
and a heart to love you.
Be with us today in all that we do,
so that your light may shine out in our lives.
Through Christ our Lord.


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Prayer of St. Thomas More

Give me, good Lord, a full and fervent charity,
a love of you, good Lord,
incomparable above the love of myself;
and that I love nothing to your displeasure
but everything in order to you.
Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion, or rather, this cold manner of meditation, and this dullness in praying to you.
Give me warmth, delight, and life in thinking about you.
And give me your grace to long for your holy sacraments and especially to rejoice in the presence of your blessed body, my sweet Saviour Jesus Christ, in the holy sacrament of the altar,
and duly to thank you for your graciousness in giving yourself to me.


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Prayer that I may be strong in future sickness

(Thomas Fuller)

Lord, teach me the art of patience while I am well, and give me the use of it when I am sick. In that day either lighten my burden or strenthen my back. In my health I have so often discovered my weakness, presuming on my own strength: make me to be strong in my sickness when I rely solely on your assistance.


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Speak, Lord, your servant is listening

After Christina Rossetti (1820-94)

Speak, Lord, for your servent is listening.
Grant us ears to hear,
Eyes to see,
Wills to obey,
Hearts to love.
Then declare what you will,
Reveal what you will,
Command what you will,
Demand what you will.

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Stay With Me (John Henry Newman, Jesus the Light of the Soul)

Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as you shine:
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be mine.
It will be you who shines through me upon others.
O let me praise you, in the way which you love best,
by shining on all those around me.
Give light to them as well as to me; light them with me, through me.
Teach me to show your praise, your truth, your will.
Make me preach you without preaching; not by words
but by my example and by the catching force, the sympathetic influence, of what I do –
by my visible resemblance to your saints,
and the evident fullness of the love which my heart bears for you.

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