Thurstable and Winstree Team Ministry

serving the parishes of Tiptree with Tolleshunt Knights and Great Braxted, Copford, Easthorpe, Messing, Inworth,
Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch, and Layer Marney

The 'Layer' Parishes: Layer de la Haye • Layer Breton with Birch • Layer Marney

Praying and Prayers
A brief introduction to Christian prayer
and some favourite prayers

To build and maintain a close relationship with someone we need to spend time with them, to listen to them and to speak to them. Through being with them we learn to understand and love them and to appreciate their love for us.

Durer - HandsThis is true of our relationship with God which is why prayer is such a vitally important part of the Christian life. Jesus himself regularly withdrew to a quiet place to be alone with His heavenly Father in prayer (Matt 14 v.23; Mark 1 v.35; 6 v.46; Luke 5 v.16; 6 v.12). We too need to come apart from the world and spend time alone with God. We need to be quiet and listen to what He is saying to us through the Bible, through worship and the Church, through other people and the world around us. We also need to speak to God. Part of our response to the love God has shown to us in our Lord Jesus Christ should be to offer Him our praise, to confess to Him our failings, to thank Him for all He gives to us, and to pray for the needs of others as well as ourselves.

Often we struggle to find words to express ourselves in prayer. At such times one way forward is to draw on the rich treasury of prayers compiled by other Christians throughout the centuries. On this page you will find a small selection of prayers, some old favourites, some less well-known, which you may like to use as appropriate. It is also worth remembering that many Christian hymns make excellent prayers.

The Christian Family Prayer

This is the prayer which Our Lord himself taught to his first disciples (Matt 6 vs. 9-13; Luke 11 vs. 1-4) and which features, in slightly different forms, in virtually every act of Christian worship.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.   Amen.


O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God: and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are all the corners of the earth: and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands prepared the dry land.
O come let us worship and fall down: and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

(Psalm 95, verses 1-6.)


Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I confess that I have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
I have not loved you with my whole heart.
I have not loved my neighbours as myself.
In your mercy
forgive what I have been,
help me to amend what I am,
and direct what I shall be;
that I may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, my God. Amen.

(adapted from Common Worship, Evening Prayer on Sunday)

Almighty and most merciful Father;
We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;
And there is no health in us.
But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.
Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults.
Restore thou them that are penitent;
According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu Our Lord.
And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake;
That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous and sober life,
To the glory of thy holy name.   Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer, 1662)


Almighty and everlasting God,
we thank you that you have brought us safely
to the beginning of this day.
Keep us from falling into sin
or running into danger,
order us in all our doings
and guide us to do always
what is righteous in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend myself this day.
Let your presence be with me to its close.
Strengthen me to remember that in whatever good work I do I am serving you.
Give me a diligent and watchful spirit,
that I may seek in all things to know your will,
and knowing it, gladly to perform it,
to the honour and glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I arise today with the power of God to guide me,
the might of God to uphold me,
the wisdom of God to teach me,
the eye of God to watch over me,
the ear of God to hear me,
the word of God to give me speech,
the hand of God to protect me,
the way of God to prevent me,
the shield of God to shelter me,
the host of God to defend me
against the temptations of vices,
against the lusts of nature,
against every man who meditates injury to me,
whether far or near, with few or with many.
(Saint Patrick)

Be O Lord, a guiding star above me,
a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
and a bright flame before me;
today, tonight and for ever. AMEN.
(Saint Columba)


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.

SunsetBe present, O merciful God,
and protect us through the silent hours of this night,
so that we who are wearied
by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
may repose upon your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God,
who at this evening hour didst rest in the sepulchre,
and didst thereby sanctify the grave
to be a bed of hope to thy people:
make us so to abound in sorrow for our sins,
which were the cause of thy passion,
that when our bodies lie in the dust,
our souls may live with thee;
who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end. Amen

(from the Office of Compline)

Let the day end,
the night fall,
the world move into silence,
And let God’s people say Amen.

Let minds unwind,
hearts be still,
bodies relax,
And let God’s people say Amen.

But before the day is done,
Let God’s holy name be praised,
And let God’s people say Amen.

(Iona Community)

Service and Dedication

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226)

Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which thou hast given us;
for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may we know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly;
for thine own sake.

(Saint Richard of Chichester, 1197-1253)

Teach me to serve thee as thou deservest;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labour and not to seek reward,
Save that of knowing that I do thy will.

(Saint Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556)


God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.   Amen.

(attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, Theologian, 1892-1971)

Before reading the Bible

Heavenly Father,
we thank you for speaking to us through the Bible;
help us both to listen with our minds,
that we may understand its message;
and to listen with our hearts,
that we may respond in faith.
So may your Word change and shape our lives,
and truly be a lamp for our path
a constant light for our lives.   Amen

For the home

Visit, Lord, we pray, this home
and drive far from it all the snares of the enemy.
Let your holy angels dwell here to keep us in peace,
and may your blessing be upon it evermore;
through Jesus Christ Our Lord.   Amen

Grace before Meals

Bless, O Lord, this food to our use
and ourselves in your service,
make us mindful of the needs of others,
and give us thankful hearts,
for Jesus Christ's sake.

Lord Jesus be our holy guest,
our morning joy, our evening rest,
and with our daily bread impart,
your love and peace to every heart. Amen.

For food in a world where many walk in hunger;
For faith in a world where many walk in fear;
For friends in a world where many walk alone;
We give you thanks, O Lord. Amen.

Page updated: 26 Dec 2020 at 15:30