Prayer of the Month
O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The collect for the nineteenth Sunday after Trinity is a favourite prayer of mine, and I sometimes use it at the start of meetings when asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The prayer is very old, and is included in the Gelasian Sacramentary, the second oldest western book of Christian liturgy compiled in Paris around 750AD. The prayer reminds us that the purpose of life is to please God, and it emphasises the Trinitarian nature of God, in that without God the Holy Spirit we are unable to please God the Father.
The prayer brings back memories of an educational charity in the East End of London where I served as a trustee in the 1990s. John Hall, now Dean of Westminster and then Chief Education Officer of the Church of England and a fellow trustee, would often use the prayer at the start of our meetings.