Thursday, June 28, 2007

Litany: for our enemies

"Pray for those who persecute you." - Christ
I was searching the hymnals on my shelf looking for prayers for our enemies. Couldn't find any. Odd, considering all the other prayers available there, and that's one of the prayers we're specifically called to make. So I thought, "Why not?"

Lord, we praise you for your loving kindness.
Your mercy endures forever.

While we were yet your enemies
Christ died for us

The righteous for the unrighteous
To bring us back to you.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us sinners.

Lord, if you kept record of our sins
Who could stand before you?

When I hid my faults
I wasted away.

When I confessed my transgression
You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

You oppose the proud
But give grace to the humble.

You have taught us to pray: Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.

Let mercy be the measure we use for others;
May their cups overflow with blessing.

We remember before you all hateful souls:
May knowing you bring peace.

We remember before you all who have wronged others:
May your mercy turn hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.

We remember before you all who hide secret guilt:
Create clean hearts, O Lord, and renew a right spirit.

Let the guilty heart turn to you:
May the forgiven celebrate your goodness.

May the redeemed celebrate your glory:
May your compassion be proclaimed to all the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His mercy endures forever.


P.S. an after-thought said...

This is very good. Another one of yours that I've printed out.

I have a data base on my computer of about 2500 hymns and songs from our church's music library. Just titles, composers, authors, and sometimes subject. I looked up "enemy." Not there, of course.

I looked up prayer. Since I don't have the hymm books handy, I couldn't look up the actual hymns, so it wasn't too much help.

But one of the hymns, several versions, actually, is The Lord's Prayer. Jesus didn't just say we should pray for our enemies, but he taught us to forgive as we have been forgiven. And he demonstrated that he forgave those who harmed him physically.

People often talk about WWJD. Praying is part of doing.

Weekend Fisher said...

Wouldn't it be cool if we actually prayed for our enemies in a worship service?

Working for the day ...

Robert W. Wentzel said...

Most Lutheran hymnals contain prayers for the erring, those who persecute the church, those outside the church, etc.

"Lutheran Service Book," the most recent LC-MS hymnal includes the following:

For our enemies: Almighty, everlasting God, through Your only Son, our blessed Lord, You commanded us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. Therefore, we earnestly implore You that by Your gracious working our enemies may be led to true repentance, may have the same love toward us as we have toward them, and may be of one accord and of one mind and heart with us and with Your whole Church; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Weekend Fisher said...

It's strange, in my current hymnal (not the one you reference) I looked through the occasional prayers and couldn't find one for enemies. I have an older hymnal with two short prayers under the heading "for our enemies" (somehow I don't recall ever praying them during a service). The fact that there were such prayers in the hymnal still isn't quite the same as there being one during the service, ey?

We don't miss a Sunday praying for all kinds of other things ...

Take care & God bless

Matt said...

This is an excellent topic! In the military, we are very aware of the enmity of some towards the U.S..

As a chaplain I have often prayed prayers with petitions both for our enemies and for those deployed from our base. I was sensitized to the need to pray for our enemies by young people preparing for combat--some specifically asked for prayers FOR the enemies they would confront.

I've wrestled with the best way to approach such a prayer. Typically I will pray that the Lord will fulfill the true desires of their hearts that they will no longer turn to arms to solve their problems. That they may be partners in peaceful construction rather than violent destruction.

I also pray that the Gospel will permeate troubled lands bringing the peace that passes all understanding.

I think that this is a very important topic in times of war.

On a more personal level, I often have young people seek counsel for dealing with problems with their supervisors. I usually will have the person pray for their supervisor in the midst of our counseling--it's powerful and effective. I try to have the counselee word the prayer themselves although I frequently have to lend assistance!

One place I have found prayers for enemies is in the book "Prayers For People Under Pressure" by Don Deffner. I think it's only available through the Ft. Wayne Seminary bookstore (if it's available at all.)

Sharktacos said...

Hey WF,
That's good stuff!

There is a line in the Didache (One of the oldest documents of the Apostolic church) that is along these lines. Maybe it could be converted into a prayer...:

"You shall not hate any man;
but some you shall reprove,
and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life."