A Book of Common Prayer "Peace In Our Time"

Joan Didion

"Peace In Our Time"

Context: The Order for Daily Evening Prayer, from which this quotation is taken, is the second service in the Book of Common Prayer, and like Morning Prayer which precedes it, is a direct descendent of the medieval system of services known as the Canonical Hours or Daily Offices. These offices, in their turn, were developed out of daily practices of instruction, prayer, and praise in use in the early Church from apostolic times. Evening Prayer begins with a series of sentences from the Scriptures which set the theme and the mood for the service to come. The worshipers are then exhorted humbly to confess their "manifold sins and wickedness" to Almighty God in the prayer of General Confession. Following the Declaration of Absolution come the Lord's Prayer, the Psalms, and the appropriate lessons for the day after which the Daily Offices originally ended. However, during the Middle Ages, it became customary to add brief devotions in the form of versicles and responses (litanies) with prayers suitable for the occasion. The devotions thus appended to Evening Prayer are so arranged that each versicle and response aptly summarizes one of the several prayers that accompany them. The litany containing the quotation and the prayer for peace which immediately follows it are here given. Minister. O lord, show thy mercy upon us. Answer. And grant us thy salvation. Minister. O Lord, save the State. Answer. And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee. Minister. Endue thy Ministers with righteousness. Answer. And make thy chosen people joyful. Minister. O Lord, save thy people. Answer. And bless thine inheritance. Minister. Give peace in our time, O Lord. Answer. For it is thou, Lord, only, that makest us dwell in safety. Minister. O God, make clean our hearts within us. Answer. And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed; Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee, we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.