Category Archives: Prayers and Blessings

“O God, your unfailing providence…”

“O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord” (BCP 134).

We often use this prayer in Compline. The COVID 19 pandemic casts it in an unwelcome light. Is God’s “unfailing providence” getting confused with an economy in which “essential” too often means “expendable,” whether farm laborers, cashiers, or home health workers like Kim Rockwood, profiled in this New York Times Op-Ed video posted today?

It’s a good prayer. May it kindle anger, and move us to seek effective action.

Three Prayers from Ghana

Ginger Johnston introduced me to these in the late sixties in Berkeley, California.

I lie on my mat and pray

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
four men squat around the mat
on which I lie,
and pray,
and sleep.
Night comes,
sleep comes.
Dear Lord Jesus, come.
Four men
have told us this story.
Your story.
Two sit at the foot,
two at the head.
They will carry me to you,
Lord Jesus Christ,
when the last breath
beats against my tired lips.

Is there work for me?

The day is there.
There is the sun.
Ships are in the harbor.
But is there work for me?
The others have friends.
They also have money.
They have given
a dash of whiskey.
And I stand aside
and have no work.
Can’t you make work for me
in the harbor,
dear Lord,
so that I can share money
with my wife and children?
Then, on Sunday,
I can put something in the plate.
Please, let me have work.
Dear Lord Jesus,
we praise you.

I lie down to sleep

and cover me with the night.
Spread your grace over us
as you assured us You would do.

Your promises are more
than all the stars in the sky;
Your mercy is deeper than the night.
it will be cold.
The night comes with its breath of death.
Night comes,
the end comes,
but Jesus Christ comes also.

we wait for Him
day and night.

From I lie on my mat and pray and I sing your praise all the day long, edited by Fritz Pawelzik.

A Prayer of Protection from the Coronavirus

Lord our God, You who are rich in mercy,
and with careful wisdom direct our lives,
listen to our prayer, receive our repentance for our sins,
bring an end to this new infectious disease, this new epidemic,
just as you averted the punishment of your people in the time of David the King.
You who are the Physician of our souls and bodies,
grant restored health to those who have been seized by this illness,
raising them from their bed of suffering,
so that they might glorify You, O merciful Savior,
and preserve in health those who have not been infected.
By your grace, Lord, bless, strengthen, and preserve,
all those who out of love and sacrifice care for the sick,
either in their homes or in the hospitals.
Remove all sickness and suffering from your people,
and teach us to value life and health as gifts from You.
Give us Your peace, O God,
and fill our hearts with unflinching faith in Your protection,
hope in Your help,
and love for You and our neighbor.
For Yours it is to have mercy on us and save us, O our God,
and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and forever, to the ages of ages. Amen.

(Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; h/t Bp. Matt Gunter

For additional prayers from the Archdiocese, here.