Make space: release and receive

Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam, after the rain (Photo: Irene Bom)


An evening prayer

Gracious God,
We place ourselves in your presence.
Our minds and our spirits are cluttered.
Help us make space for you.
Help us to be fully present here, now.

We release to you all that we have done today –
whether for good or for ill.

We release all that we feel like we should have done today,
but did not do.

We release all of the people
who weigh on our hearts and minds this evening.

We release our fears.
We release our anxiety.
We release our impatience.
We release our pride.

All of the thoughts,
all of the feelings that pull us away from you, O God,
we release.


And now with open hearts
we receive what you offer us now:

We receive the gift of this space and this time.
We receive the gift of being with each person here.
We receive the Holy Spirit’s presence within us
for guidance and healing.
We receive the sacred words that will be spoken and thought.
We receive the holy touch of hand and heart.
We receive the silence.
We receive the music.

Fill us now with the peace of your deep, abiding presence.
We offer all of ourselves to you,
our One God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
~ written by Joanna Harader, and posted on Spacious Faith.

From the blog
Evening prayer #1 ~ written by St Augustine of Hippo
Evening prayer #2 ~ attributed to St Patrick
Evening prayer #3 ~ written by Dag Hammarskjöld

Turn to the light

Rotterdam at twilight  (Photo: Irene Bom)


Here is a prayer inspired by Phos Hilaron — the earliest Christian hymn (outside of the Bible), dating from the 3rd or 4th century. Known as the “Lamp-lighting hymn,” it was traditionally sung as the evening lamps were lit.
May this prayer, inspired by those ancient words, give us words and inspiration as we to turn to God, our Gladsome Light, especially “in times of stress, fear, and grief, in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition”.


Twenty-first Century Phos Hilaron

O God, who is light in the darkness,
      we pray for those among us who in the night hours work their shifts,
            or those who labor in places where light is dim.
Be for them and for us protection in the dark.

O God, who is the bright morning star,
      we pray for those among us who grieve the loss of loved ones,
            the tarnishing of innocence,
            the failing of health,
            the flight of security.
Be for them and for us a sure defense and the promise of a new day.

O God, who is sight to the blind,
      we pray for those among us whose eyes are clouded,
      who are blind in soul, mind, or body.
Be for them and for us both courage and sight.

O God, who is strength to the besieged,
      we pray for those among us who are beset by temptation,
            those who are in danger,
            those whose enemies are close and whose help seems far away.
Be for them and for us a present fortress against our foes.

O God, who is salvation to the lost,
      we pray for those among us who have never found your way,
            or who, having found it, have strayed from your path.
Be for them and for us the beacon that guides safely home.

O God who is comfort to the fearful,
      we pray for those among us who live in fear of threats real or imagined,
            whose lives are torn by war,
            whose thoughts are confused by mental illness,
            whose souls and bodies are ravaged by abuse.
Be for them and for us consolation and surety against anxiety.

Give us wisdom, O God, to turn to you in times of stress, fear, and grief,
      in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition.
Grant us patience to wait for you,
      and courage to be strong in your might,
            through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

~ posted on the Brummhart Publishing website

Phos Hilaron in word and song


Evening prayer #2

Edinburgh twilight, August 2016 (photo: Irene Bom)

May your angels, holy Son,
guard our homes when day is done,
when at peace, our sleep is best:
Bid them watch us while we rest.

Prince of everything that is,
High Priest of the mysteries,
let your angels, God supreme,
tell us truth dressed as a dream.

May no terror and no fright
spoil our slumber in the night;
free from care our eyelids close;
Spirit, give us prompt repose.

We have laboured through the day;
lift our burdens when we pray,
then our souls in safety keep,
that our sleep be soft and deep.

‘Evening Prayer’, attributed to St Patrick
(c. 389 – c. 461)

(translation by Michael Counsell)

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 76

Related Scriptures
Psalm 91 (many parallels)
Hebrews 4:14-16 (Jesus, our High Priest)
Genesis 28:10-22 (Jacob’s Dream at Bethel)
Matthew 11:28-30 (Jesus’ invitation to bring him our burdens)