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Inspiring Early Christian Prayer

  

I just came across this amazing prayer written by Clement of Rome towards the end of the first century. He probably lived through the persecution of Nero after the fire of Rome and wrote some time before the second generation of Christians–those appointed by the apostles–had died out. This prayer is well balanced, saturated with praise, and biblically accurate. He carefully distinguishes between the only God and Jesus, his servant. Furthermore, his prayer for the government is one of courageous submission in accordance with Romans 13. Here is his prayer from Michael Holmes’ translation:

We…ask…that the Creator of the universe may keep intact the specified number of his elect throughout the whole world, through his beloved servant Jesus Christ, through whom he called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to the knowledge of the glory of his name.

Grant us, Lord, to hope on your name, which is the primal source of all creation, and open the eyes of our hearts that we may know you, who alone are highest among the high; you are holy , abiding among the holy. You humble the pride of the proud; you destroy the plans of nations; you exalt the humble and humble the exalted; you make rich and make poor; you kill and make alive. You alone are the benefactor of spirits and the God of all flesh, looking into the depths, scanning th eworks of humans; the helper of those who are in peril, the savior of those in despair; the creator and guardian of every spirit. You multiply the nations upon the earth, and from aong all of them you have chosen those who love you through Jesus Christ, your beloved servant, through whom you instructed us, sanctified us, honored us.

We ask you, Master, to be our helper and protector. Save those among us who are in distress; have mercy on the humble; raise up the fallen; show yourself to those in need; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who wander; feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners; raise up the weak; comfort the discouraged.

Let all the nations know that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your servant and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture. For you through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate:

forgive us our sins and our injustices, our transgressions and our shortcomings. Do not take into account every sin of your servants and slaves, but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth, and direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart, and to do what is good and pleasing in your sight and in the sight of our rulers.

Yes, Lord, let your face shine upon us in peace for our good, so that we may be sheltered by your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by your uplifted arm; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly. Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on earth, just as you did to our ancestors when they reverently called upon you in faith and truth, that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and to our rulers and governors on earth.

You, Master, have given them the power of sovereignty through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor that you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing. Grant them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, so that they may blamelessly administer the government that you have given them. For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to human beings glory and honor and authority over the creatures upon the earth. Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority that you have given them they may experience your mercy.

You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and benefactor of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be glory and the majesty to you both now and for all generations for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Responses to “Inspiring Early Christian Prayer”

  1. on 31 Oct 2012 at 2:43 amGeorge

    Beautiful his meekness shows and his knowledge not only of the word but also the needs of the people,those in in seats of goverment and those who walk with God,those that are weak and to keep in tact the specified number of the elect in the world.He knows his God and he knows His heart.Thank you for sharing such a wonderful prayer it helps to see his tender boldness.Love gw

  2. on 06 Mar 2014 at 9:58 amgeorge

    O LORD open our eyes to the needs of your people in this day and time as we look to the example of Your only begotten son grant onto us wisdom that we may be able to share Your heart to those who hunger and thirst with boldness and love in Christ Jesus name we pray Amen

  

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