Book of Comfort 2

Evening Prayer and Compline are my two favourite litanies. The prayers for protection and peace have always spoken deeply to me, even as a child... I used to love singing this (and the Magnificat) in the village choir:
Nunc Dimittis
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared
before the face of all people.
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, 
and all just works do proceed.
Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give,
that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments,
and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies
may pass our time in rest and quietness, 
through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts 
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy Holy Name,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The lyrical words of all these prayers are held deep in my DNA... I 'know' them in my bones... I don't necessarily hold to all the theology they espouse (the whiff of triumphalism, the enforced humility); but the second Collect of Evening Prayer is something I often say before I go to sleep...

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord,
And by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night.
For the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Certain words sing out from each of these prayers... Peace, Light, Rest, Quietness, Defence from Peril, Fear and Darkness, Cleansing, Inspiration, Perfect Love, Open Hearts... These are things EVERY Soul seeks, whatever their persuasion, and yes, they bring me Comfort.

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