Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Into thy hands, O Father and Lord..."

Recently, as part of a series offered in our parish on lectio Divina, I used this prayer to concluded a class. A number of participants told me afterwards that they found it very beautiful and moving. So, I copied it off and distributed it to them the following week. Since that time, I have garnered some other positive comments about this prayer when I posted it on my own Facebook page. The upshot is that I am delighted that a classic prayer I have found very meaningful for many years is useful to others, aiding them in offering their concerns to God.

I found this prayer in the early 1980's inside a copy of The Cuddesdon Office Book I purchased in a little bookstore in Canterbury, very near the Cathedral. It appears as one of a number of optional Memorials after the conclusion of the Compline service. From the first time I read it, I felt it speak to my soul and open a channel of assurance and peace in communicating with God.

Years later, I learned that this prayer is traditionally attributed to Edmund Rich (1175-1240), also known as St. Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury (making the purchase of the book there seem very "meet-and-right"). His life is very interesting on a number of levels. His dedication to prayer was exemplary, and this prayer seems to spring from the kind of deeply-engraved experience of turning to God through life behind many of the best written prayers.

So, I offer this prayer for your use and consideration...perhaps at the close of day, or when you feel exhausted by concern or anxiety and simply need to "give it to the Lord."


Into thy hands, O Father and Lord, 
we commend our souls and bodies, 
our parents and our homes, 
friends, neighbours and kindred, 
our benefactors and brethren departed, 
all folk rightly believing 
and all who need thy pity and protection. 

Light us with thy holy grace
and suffer us never 
to be separated from thee, 
O Lord in Trinity, 
God everlasting. 

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