Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Implore Thy Clemency for All
Such old-fashioned language! That’s my initial thought, now. (And to think, as a teenager, I used to love the King James Version of the Bible for the beauty of its expression…)
Perhaps I’ve been listening too much to my husband, the journalist. He regularly tells me “eliminate needless words.” One of his favorite quotes is that of George Orwell: “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.” Accordingly, I often try to follow my husband’s advice. Except—when I consider lovely writing from The Oxford Book of Prayer.
Today’s prayer is about Relationships. The prayer I chose for today from The Book of Prayer concerns “As We Forgive” (Prayer 372, page 113)  This prayer for clemency and for love from our God is attributed to St. Anselm (1033-1109).
“…Grant us grace that having received Thine undeserved bounty, we may love everyone in Thee and for Thee.” O, Lord! Undeserved grace and undeserved bounty? I do not deserve any of it. Do You hear me? I feel like Isaiah beholding the vision of the Lord Almighty seated on the heavenly throne in the Temple. Falling flat on my face, and not even daring to lift my eyes.
“We implore Thy clemency for all, but especially for the friends whom Thy love has given to us.” Is it any wonder that I have any friends at all? According to the good saint, it is only through Your gracious love that I even have friends. And, clemency? You are merciful, indeed, Lord! Merciful to me, a sinner. Imagine, the audacity of St. Anselm, asking—nay, imploring mercy and clemency for all. Not for some, not for most, but for all. Fairly takes my breath away.
“Love Thou them, O Thou fountain of love.” What an expression! Fountain of love. I can imagine the Lord having a never-ending supply of love. (which is quite possibly the image Anselm had in mind. I’m not sure.)
Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Anselm’s gracious and generous words. Thank You for the opportunity I have to examine these words more closely. Help me to heed them, and to follow Your will and Your ways. O blessed Lord, in Your name I pray, amen.
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 The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 113.