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‘A Godly Prayer, To Be Said at All Times’: From John Knox (1556)

22 August, 2008

John Knox, the ‘thundering Scot’, was an early and very important Scottish Reformer. This prayer was first published in the Book of Common Order, of the English congregation at Geneva, 1556, and later adopted by the Church of Stotland. It’s biblical, humble, pastoral and practical. If you can handle the King’s English (or modernize it!), it’s a great personal prayer — and definitely modernized, it’s an equally great family, Bible study or congregational prayer:

HONOUR and praise be given to thee, O LORD God Almighty, most dear Father of heaven, for all thy mercies and loving-kindness showed unto us, in that it hath pleased thy gracious goodness freely and of thine own accord to elect and choose us to salvation before the beginning of the world.

And even like continual thanks be given to thee for creating us after thine own image; for redeeming us with the precious blood of thy dear Son, when we were utterly lost; for sanctifying us with thine Holy Spirit in the revelation and knowledge of thine holy word; for helping and succouring us in all our needs and necessities; for saving us from all dangers of body and soul; for comforting us so fatherly in all our tribulations and persecutions; for sparing us so long, and giving us so large a time of repentance.

These benefits, O most merciful Father, like as we acknowledge to have received of thine only goodness, even so we beseech thee, for thy dear Son JESUS CHRIST’s sake, to grant us always thine Holy Spirit, whereby we may continually grow in thankfulness towards thee, and be led into all truth, and comforted in all our adversities.

O LORD, strengthen our faith; kindle it more in ferventness and love towards thee, and our neighbours, for thy sake. Suffer us not, most dear Father, to receive thy word any more in vain; but grant us always the assistance of thy grace and Holy Spirit, that in heart, word, and deed, we may sanctify and do worship to thy name.

Help to amplify and increase thy kingdom; that whatsoever thou sendest, we may be heartily well content with thy good pleasure and will. Let us not lack the thing — O Father! — without the which we cannot serve thee; but bless thou so all the works of our hands, that we may have sufficient, and not be chargeable, but rather helpful unto others.

Be merciful, O LORD, to our offences; and seeing our debt is great, which thou hast forgiven us in JESUS CHRIST, make us to love thee and our neighbours so much the more. Be thou our Father, our Captain and Defender in all temptations; hold thou us by thy merciful hand; that we may be delivered from all inconveniences [i.e. hardships], and end our lives in the sanctifying and honouring of thine holy name, through JESUS CHRIST our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.

Let thy mighty hand and outstretched arm, O LORD, be still our defence;

thy mercy and loving-kindness in JESUS CHRIST, thy dear Son, our salvation;

thy true and holy word our instruction;

thy grace and Holy Spirit our comfort and consolation, unto the end and in the end. Amen.

O LORD, increase our faith. Amen.

  1. Barks permalink
    23 August, 2008 7:46 pm

    What a wonderful rubric for helping to think through public prayer. Thanks for publishing this.

  2. creedorchaos permalink*
    25 August, 2008 3:53 am


    This is from Baird’s The Presbyterian Liturgies: Historical Sketches, first published in 1855, and reprinted briefly by Wipf & Stock recently. Unfortunately, I think it’s out of print again and fairly expensive.


  3. 25 August, 2008 8:19 am

    Yo Barks!
    Hey I’m doing some remodoling in Battlemountain NV for Brad. I got to preach at Danny Patterson’s church while I’ve been here. What a great church! Lots of good things were aaid about you by the way. Hope you’re enjoying your internship. You’re working for some great pastors I hear.

  4. Barks permalink
    25 August, 2008 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the source information! And Chaos, I’m glad you got to meet Danny; I was taken under care at his church! If you ever make it up this way, let me know and I’ll be sure to introduce you to the men up here. You’d love them! Later bro!

  5. Brandon Wilkins permalink
    25 August, 2008 5:58 pm

    Hey guys,

    You can also get ahold of this book thru google books under its original title “eutaxia.”

    Great Stuff!


  6. creedorchaos permalink*
    26 August, 2008 2:50 am


    Why didn’t I think of Google books!? That’ll save a pretty penny.

    Thanks for the tip,

  7. Brandon Wilkins permalink
    26 August, 2008 5:51 am

    I shelled out the cash for this and Heppe’s Reformed Dogmatics before thinking to check google books. Lesson Learned (eventually)!

  8. 26 August, 2008 8:18 am

    Yo Wilko! Good to hear from you. Hope you’re well brother.

  9. 27 August, 2008 8:12 am

    sounds great barks. proud of you man. stay faithful. i’m really liking danny and his church. the op looks to have a great future with all of you eager gospel men ready burst forth out into the world…as far as the curse is found.


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