A prayer for peace (1586) from the first Lutheran book of prayers translated into English

The situation in the US, but bot only there, of course, is very unpeaceful at the moment and set to continue to be so or worsen. This prayer struck me as very fitting and hence this is for all but esp. for our brothers and sisters over there:

O merciful God, and eternal father, which art a lover of peace from whom all unitie comes unto us. We aske thee that thou wouldst in thy mercie protect all Christendom on earthe against all foes and bloodethirstie men. So that we, kept in quietness and peace, would serve you in peace and joy, continuing in pure doctrine and holy living always. Wouldst grant that all estates and potentates of Christendom live peacefully and in harmonie with each other in all godeliness and honor so that good order, discipline and polis would not be hindered and obstructed, churches and schools not ruined, the land not laide waste and piteously ravished. For this reason have ye mercie that each would be satisfied with his own and would let that suffice, that neither for avarice and lusting after foreign land an people, for highe mind and vain glorie, for enmite and hatred nor any other reason war and rage or unrest would arise in these lands. Keep us from strive and shedding of blood. Thwart all evile council and will of restless men, who have nothing of goodness on their minds. Confound in their thoughts that they must draw back and come to a fearful end. Stretch forth thy arm to save us, who are called by your name that your inheritance would not be scattered. Help your faithful, who put their trust in thee and calle upon your name. Hear us in our need and your holy name protect us. Send us help from your holy place and strengthen us from on high. Let them have much peace that love thy Lawe and doctrine, let there be peace within thy walls and prosperitie within thy palaces. Oh merciful God, turn the hearts of all men to Christian peace und unitie to which thou hast called us through thy gospel. If strife or bitternesse have perchance taken hold with some, help that they would through helpfulle ways and meanes be settled and reconciled to the honor of thy holie name and the spreading of thy word and the benefite of all Christendom, so that the poor and lowely in the land may rejoice in you and praise thy name, thou, who alone workest miracles and proovest thy might among all peoples. Amen

 

The important part is for you to use this prayer. The unimportant part comes now. This prayer originates from Johann Haberman’s “Christian prayers for all needs and estates”. It is only slightly close to Thomas Rogers rendition (the word “translation” would be inaccurate) in his edition of Haberman’s book in English, “The Enimie of Securitie”. Thomas basically rewrote the prayer, including twice as many quotes from scripture and fundamentally saying: “Wait, I can do this better.” Not an uncommon theme in many historic translations from German Lutheranism. Esp. egregious is the translation (read: complete rewriting) of von Harless’ “Christian Ethics”. So most of this is my translation, sticking to tone and spelling of Roger’s work. If this feels unaccustomed to you at first, this is because most translations currently in use in english-speaking Lutheranism are far later than the German originals, 19th century, if you are lucky. This, of course, eradicates the feeling of age in the text, which, to my mind, is always to our detriment. We should feel how old the stuff is we are confessing, how long the line of our fathers and mothers is to us. May God grant peace in our time!

 

Image: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=706190

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