Scripture Verse

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

— Isaiah liii:6, Opening Sentence for Evening Prayer [Good Friday]

Prayer Cards

We have gotten a number of requests for some of the more distinctive prayers we use a St Stephen’s, so we have prepared Prayer Card versions of them. Plain paper prayer cards are available at 50¢ each, while laminated versions (suitable for use as bookmarks) are $1 each. Laminated letter-size posters are also available for $2 each (or you can download the posters and print them yourself gratis).

For the Armed Forces

St George and the Dragon by Raphael

St George and the Dragon by Raphael

O most powerful and glorious Lord God, the Lord of hosts, that rulest and commandest all things: Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to bless the men and women of our armed forces. Grant that in the midst of the dangers and temptations which beset them, they may fight manfully against the world, the flesh, and the devil; and resisting all evil by the mighty power of thy Spirit, may acquire true courage in the hour of danger and in the day of battle. Prosper them in the maintenance of our country’s honour; keep them safe from enemies, spiritual and temporal; that they may glorify thee upon the earth, until they are called to rest in the triumph of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We regularly use this prayer, taken from a 1928 book of supplemental offices, at Morning Prayer.

In the Evening

"The Monk by the Sea (Der Mönch am Meer)" by Caspar David Friedrich

The Monk by the Sea (Der Mönch am Meer) by Caspar David Friedrich

O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.

We regularly use this prayer, adapted from a sermon by John Henry Cardinal Newman, at the dismissal prayer at the conclusions of services. The Choir call this the “Hush” Prayer, for reasons which are obvious if you have attended a choral service at St Stephen’s.

A Prayer of St Augustine

"Paradise Lost: Angels Guarding Paradise" by John Martin

Paradise Lost: Angels Guarding Paradise by John Martin

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love’s sake. Amen.

We regularly use this prayer at Choral Evensong. It is also used in a number of versions of the Service of Compline.

For A Birthday

"Jesus Blesses the Little Children" by Gustave Dore

Jesus Blesses the Little Children by Gustave Dore

Watch over thy child, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be, keeping him unspotted from the world. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Many of us who grew up as Episcopalians remember using the Birthday Prayer in Sunday School or at children’s serivces. The Rector will administer this blessing to anyone, regardless of age, upon request.

For a Sports Team

Audubon Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole (Plate XII) from Birds of America by John James Audubon

Audubon Raven

Raven (Plate CI) from Birds of America by John James Audubon


Be mindful of thy servants the NN., O Lord, and watch over their endeavors on the field*; grant them to fight the good fight with courage and strength in adversity, and grace in victory; that their good example and their success may bring credit to our city**, and earn them the approbation of all; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

* Substitute court, field, ice, or pitch, as appropriate.
** Substitute school, county, state, or nation, as appropriate.

This collect was originally written in anticipation of the Ravens’ participation in the Playoffs on Sunday, 22 January 2012, and it was used at all three services that day. It is reproduced here in a more generic form, suitable for use for any team in any sport.

The Riot Act of 1714

The Queen Square Riot of 1831

The Queen Square Riot of 1831

Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

Okay, so this isn’t really a prayer. It’s the Magic Paragraph from The Riot Act of 1714. Once the constabulary have read out this paragraph, the fracas is officially a riot, and the rioters can be arrested as felons. (This is the origin of the phrase “reading someone the riot act”.)