April/May 2013 - Vol. 67

A Light that Never Sets
devotional prayer reflections by Lancelot Andrews
Lancelot Andrews (15551626) was a Church of England clergyman and scholar during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. During King James' reign, Andrews served successively as Bishop of Chichester, Ely, and Winchester, and oversaw the translation of the Authorized Version (or King James Version) of the Bible. Andrews was noted for his ability to compose prayers that "lift the mind up to God." The following selection is taken from a book that Andrews wrote for his own "private devotions" and never intended to publish. It consists of written prayers that Andrews used as daily devotional aids.

The sun's radiance
Through the tender mercy of our God, the dayspring from on high has visited us. Glory be to You, O Lord; glory to you, Creator of the light, Enlightener of the world. God is the Lord who has shown us the light.

Glory be to you for the visible light: the sun's radiance, the flame of fire; day and night, evening and morning. For the light invisible and intellectual: that which may be known of God, that which is written in the law, oracles of prophets, melody of psalms, instruction of proverbs, experience of history's light which never sets.

By your resurrection raise us up into newness of life, supplying to us frames of repentance. The God of peace that brought againfrom the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will. Work in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

You who sent down on your disciples your Thrice-Holy Spirit, do not take the gift from us, but renew it, day by day, in us who ask you for it.

I have sinned, Lord
Merciful and pitiful Lord, long-suffering and full of compassion: I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned against You. O wretched man that I am, I have sinned, Lord, against you grievously, as I have participated in false vanities.

I conceal nothing from you, Lord. I make no excuses. I denounce against myself my sins. Indeed, I have sinned against the Lord in the following ways, and call to mind those particular sins I wish to confess.

I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profited me nothing. And what shall I say now? Without plea, without excuse, I am self-condemned. I have destroyed my own self.

O Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but in me there is only confusion. You are just in bringing sentence upon me. And now, Lord, what is my hope? Is it not you, Lord? Truly my hope is in you, if I have hope left, if your loving-kindness will abound in the face of all my sins.

O Lord, remember what I am made of and who made me, for I am the work of your hands. I was made in your image, I am the reward of your blood, a name from your Name, a sheep of your pasture, a son of your Covenant. Do not forsake the work of your own hands. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness, according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

Incline my heart
I will lift up my hands into your commandments which I have loved. Open my eyes and I shall see, incline my heart and I shall desire, order my steps and I shall walk in the way of your commandments.

O Lord, be my God, and let there be no other before you. Grant me to worship you and serve you according to your commandments: with truth in my spirit, with reverence in my body, with the blessing upon my lips both in private and in public.

Help me to show honor and submission to those who have been put over me. Help me to show affection for and care for those who have been put in my charge. Help me to overcome evil with good, to be free from the love of money, and to be content with what I have. Help me to speak the truth in love, to be desirous not to lust, or to walk after the lusts of my flesh.

O Lord, help me: To bruise the serpent's head. To consider the end of my days. To cut off occasions to sin. To be sober. Not to sit idle. To shun the company of the wicked. To make a covenant with my eyes. To bring my body into subjection. To give myself to prayer. To come to repentance.

Hedge up my way, O Lord, with thorns that I may avoid the false path of vanity. Hold me steady with the bit and the bridle so that I do not pull away from you. O Lord, compel me to come in to you.

This most holy faith
I believe in you, O God, Father, Word, Spirit one God. I believe that by your Fatherly love all things were created; that by your goodness and love all things have been gathered into one in your Word, who for us and for our salvation became flesh, was conceived, born, suffered, was crucified and was buried, descended, rose again, ascended, sat down, and will return and judge.

I believe that by the operation of your Holy Spirit you have called the whole world into a commonwealth of faith and holiness. I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins in this world, and the resurrection of the flesh and life everlasting in the world to come. I believe this most holy faith, once delivered to the saints. O Lord, help me in my unbelief.

Help me to receive faith from his miraculous conception, humility from his lowly birth, patience from his suffering, power to crucify the sin in my life from his Cross, burial of all my evil thoughts in good works from his burial. Grant that I might be able to meditate on hell from his descent, to find newness of life in his resurrection, to set my mind on things above from his ascension, to judge myself in preparation of his returning judgment.

One heart and one soul
O God of truth, establish all who stand in truth, and restore all who are sick with sin and false beliefs. Remember your congregation which you purchased and redeemed long ago. Grant to all who believe that we may be of one heart and one soul.

O Lord of the harvest, send forth laborers into the field. Grant unto our clergy the ability to proclaim your word of truth and to live their lives according to those truths. Grant that these ministers who love you would obey and submit to your word of truth.

Profound and perpetual peace
O Lord, King of all nations, strengthen all the states and the leaders of the inhabited world who have been given authority from you. Scatter all the people who delight in war. Make all war cease unto the ends of the earth.

And remember especially our divinely guarded king, and work with him more and more. Prosper his ways in all things; speak good things to his heart for your Church and your people. Grant to him profound and perpetual peace, that in his tranquility we, too, may lead a quiet and peaceable life.

Grant unto farmers good seasons. Grant unto the fishermen good weather. Grant unto the tradesmen a desire not to compete with one another. Grant unto all merchants to pursue their business with lawful integrity.

O Lord, you have called us to overcome evil with good and to pray for our enemies. I ask, Lord, that you have pity on my enemies, just as you have pity on me. Lead them, together with me, into your heavenly kingdom.

Remember my family and my kin
O God, not of us only, but also of our seed, bless our children that they may grow in wisdom as in stature, in favor with you and with all people. You have called us to provide for our families, and you despise those who do not care for their households. Remember my family and my kin according to the flesh. Grant me to do all I can for their good.

Bless all who have blessed me, Lord; bless all from whom I have received blessing. Grant me, Lord, to love those who love me: my friends and my family?s friends, and all of the children of my friends. Never forsake them.

Remember the lonely
Remember, Lord, all the infants, the children, the youth, the young, the middle-aged, and the elderly who are hungry, sick, thirsty, naked, captive, or friendless in this world. Be with those who are tempted with suicide, those who are sick in soul, those who are in despair.

Remember those who are in prison, all those who are under sentence of death. Remember the widows and widowers, the orphans, and those who travel in a foreign land. Remember all who this day will work under oppressive conditions. Remember the lonely.

You are the Fountain of Life
It is right and good that we, for all things, at all times, and in all places, give thanks and praise to you, O God. We worship you, we confess to you, we praise you, we bless you, we sing to you, and we give thanks to you: Maker, Nourisher, Guardian, Healer, Lord, and Father of all.

You are the Fountain of Life, the Treasure of everlasting goods to whom the heavens sing praise all the angels and heavenly powers, crying out to one another while we, the weak and unworthy join with them singing:

"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, the whole earth is full of the majesty of your glory"

Blessed be the glory of the Lord for his Godhead, his mysteriousness, his sovereignty, his almightiness, his eternity, and his providence.

The Lord is my strength, my strong rock, my defense, my deliverer, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge. Amen.

[Excerpts from Lancelot Andrews and his Private Devotions, translated by Alexander Whyte, 1985.]

 copyright © 2013 The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom