Tag Archives: hymn

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 20, 2015

LAMB OF GOD lamb John 1-29

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Today’s Name of God has such power for me. Such resonance. It’s another of my go-to expressions for God and God’s person. God’s character. My word—Name of God for today is Lamb of God.

As I used Centering Prayer earlier today, this phrase made it so easy, so immediate for me to go to prayer. “Lamb of God” has so many connections in my brain and memory. So many of the memories come from music. This phrase is a touchstone and foundation for countless songs and hymns, not to mention portions of religious services and pieces of classical music.

One of the immediate hymns that came to my mind is from the German liturgical tradition. A hymn I learned as a child in the Lutheran church where I was baptized and confirmed. The words of this hymn were written in the mid 1500’s by Nikolaus Decius, a follower of Martin Luther. Johann Sebastian Bach used the music for this hymn, O LAMM GOTTES, as a basis (cantus firmus) for the opening section of the St. Matthew Passion.

I think my lifelong attraction to and love for this hymn comes from my early exposure to it. (I was a serious, contemplative child. Some might have said precocious.) Here are the words, as found in the Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church, copyright 1958.

“O, Lamb of God most holy!/Who on the Cross didst suffer,/And patient, still and lowly,/ Thyself to scorn didst offer;/Our sins by Thee were taken,/Or hope had us forsaken:/Have mercy on us, Jesus!”

This hymn is usually classified as a Lenten hymn. I have also found it under the Sacraments section of various hymnals. I keep coming back to the hymn and to the words of Decius. Simple, profound, moving. This expression of God, this Name of God will most often bring me to tears. With the imagery of the Passover Lamb, unblemished. As John the Baptist said (in the first chapter of the Gospel of John), “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

So, all of this flashed through my head in the time I centered, using this Name of God. The time of prayer was deeply moving to me. I think it might have been the most intense experience I had all month.

Dear Lamb of God, thank You for this time of prayer, of focus, and of meditation on You and Your Name. Thank You.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 11, 2015

sheep on a hill

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Those words from the hymn printed in the Scottish Psalter move me deeply. And today, when they were printed for me to read in the liturgical daily prayer book, I zeroed in on one particular verse. Or rather, a portion of a verse: “Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale/Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me.”

No matter what, God is with me. I have dealt with some difficulties in my life. Yet, God remains there, to help.

I have had several acquaintances die in the past number of weeks. Recently, I talked with one good friend of mine who just had a loved one die. I asked how the rest of the family was doing as they dealt with the passing, and got filled in. I’ve been privileged to talk with those who mourn quite a number of times in the past, so I sometimes recognize the difficulties in speaking of a recent death. The death of my friend’s loved one was particularly drawn out, and particularly difficult.

God can be with us, holding us in God’s everlasting arms of care and concern. I believe this. Yet, sometimes, I don’t feel God, anywhere.

Where are You, God? I’m scared, and I’m alone. Plus, I don’t know what to do or where to go. What now?

It’s sort of like the sun. Even though the sun is behind dark clouds, I know the sun is still there. Even though I can’t see the sun, I can still feel its heat, still see its faint light.

Even though the weather here in the Chicago area was horrible on Thursday, I still knew the sun was there. Through the dark clouds, even though it was pouring rain most of the day, I was thankful that the sun was a constant in my life, and the lives of the others. Just like God, even though I am not always able to see—even sense—God.

Gracious God, thank You for everything You’ve given us. The knowledge and awareness of Your presence with us, even when You are hidden. You are faithful, and You are there to help. Thank You, God. In Your grace and mercy I pray, amen.


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(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Praying as I Read a Hymn

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 16, 2015

snowy woods with sun

Praying as I Read a Hymn

Ever read the verses of a hymn and find yourself struck by the vivid imagery? Or amazed by the descriptive words used by the lyricist? Today’s prayer suggestion wanted me to read through a hymn composed by Cardinal Newman in the mid 1800’s, “Lead, Kindly Light.”

This is not my first time reading the words to hymns in prayer. A number of times I read the words of lyricist Isaac Watts and his brilliant paraphrases of Scripture, some years ago. I was struck by how, with the smallest turn of phrase, Watts could make the words of the Bible come to life. So many hymns of the 1700’s and 1800’s have words that hit me in the core of my being; make me lift my voice in praise, or cover my face in fear. (Unlike simplistic lyrics of certain praise songs today . . . but I digress.)

“Lead, Kindly Light.” I immediately could relate to the first verse! “The night is dark, and I am far from home.” That brought me into the experience of the lyricist. I knew what it was like to be wandering in the midst of a dark night. I, too, trod on dark paths, a long distance from my safe, warm bed.

The last verse, as is true with so many hymn lyrics, talks about coming home. Yet, this home Newman speaks of is not our earthly home, but home to heaven. And, I can easily think of myself as a child, especially in the arms of my loving, caring Heavenly Parent. Being carried close and led by the hand. I can remember doing the same thing when my children were small, too. Good memories!

Dear Lord, help me see through these worldly or careworn things, as Cardinal Newman could. As I read this hymn, give me fresh understanding. Not only to lift praise to You as I read, but also to be able to feel with others as they go through their places of dark night, far from home. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.”

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.