Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis *


O Lord, may your all-powerful grace make me as perfect
as you have commanded me to be. Amen.

( Thomas Wilson )


Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

I will exalt you, O God my king,
and bless your name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless you
and praise your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
his greatness is beyond all searching out.

One generation shall praise your works to another
and declare your mighty acts.
They shall speak of the majesty of your glory,
and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts,
and I will also tell of your greatness.
They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
long-suffering and of great goodness.
The Lord is loving to everyone
and his mercy is over all his creatures.

All your works praise you, O Lord,
and your faithful servants bless you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your mighty power,
to make known to all peoples your mighty acts
and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
your dominion endures throughout all ages.

The Lord is sure in all his words
and faithful in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all those who are bowed down.

The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand
and fill all things living with plenty.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and loving in all his works.
The Lord is near to those who call upon him,
to all who call upon him faithfully.
He fulfils the desire of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

King of the universe, you show the bright glory of your reign in acts of mercy and enduring love; raise the spirits of the downcast and restore those who have fallen away, that we may sing for ever of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis

Today Saint Laika’s remembers three outstanding musicians of the English Reformation period. Church musicians in England during this time had to be masters of tact and discretion. Chronicled in such works as Eamon Duffy’s “The Stripping of the Altars”,” the political winds blew some days toward Protestant religion and other day toward the Roman Catholic religion.

John Merbecke was born in 1505. As a young man he was a chorister at Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor, and from 1541 until near the time of his death in 1585, he served as chapel organist.

While only a small handful of works by Merbecke have survived, the most notable is "The Booke of Common Praier Noted 1550," composed to accompany the 1549 "Book of Common Prayer." The appearance of the 1552 "Prayer Book" made it obsolete, but in modern times, Merbecke’s musical setting has been recovered and widely used as a setting for the Anglican liturgy.

Thomas Tallis was born near the beginning of the sixteenth century. After a succession of appointments as a church musician, he spent most of his vocation as musician to the Chapels Royal under four successive monarchs, both Roman Catholic and Protestant. He himself remained Roman Catholic, but had the political savvy to survive the shifts in ecclesial loyalties and the inspiration and genius to respond to the changing needs of the Church of England. He is regarded as the father of English Church music since the Reformation.

William Byrd, most likely born in Lincolnshire in 1543, was appointed organist and choirmaster of Lincoln Cathedral in 1563 and served until he joined Tallis at the Chapels Royal in 1572. Like Tallis, he was a lifelong Roman Catholic but was successful in winning the support for his music among Anglicans of Puritan tendencies, though not without occasional difficulties. His liturgical compositions cover a variety of musical forms: mass settings, motets, graduals, psalm settings, English anthems, and occasional music for the great feasts of the church. Byrd composed both sacred and secular music. Four hundred and seventy of his compositions survived him.

Tallis and Byrd collaborated on a number of projects and together held the crown patent for the printing of music and lined music paper for twenty-one years.

Scripture. In "Psalm Forty-Seven," verses five to seven, we read:

God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our king, sing praises. For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for composers of liturgical music.

... that the various denominations of the Church may be united through the singing of praises to God.

... for those killed or injured by a suicide bomber in the town of Mubi, Nigeria, whilst they were attending morning prayer. DETAILS

... for the prominent Chinese human rights lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, who has been jailed for two years, and all victims of China's repressive, authoritarian government. DETAILS

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From the writings of Clement of Alexandria:

King David the harpist urged us toward the truth and away from idols. So far was he from singing the praises of daemons that they were put to flight by him with the true music; and when Saul was possessed, David healed him merely by playing the harp. The Lord fashioned man a beautiful, breathing instrument, after his own image and assuredly Jesus Christ himself is an all-harmonious instrument of God, melodious and holy, the wisdom that is above this world, the heavenly Word.

He who sprang from David and yet was before him, the Word of God, scorned those lifeless instruments of lyre and cithara. By the power of the Holy Spirit he arranged in harmonious order this great world, yes, and the little world of man too, body and soul together; and on the many-voiced instruments of the universe he makes music to God, and sings to the human instrument. "For you are my harp and my pipe and my temple."


O God most glorious: we give you thanks for John Merbecke, Thomas Tallis and for William Byrd, whose music has enriched the praise that your people offer you here on earth. Through their music may we come to fresh awareness of your beauty and grace; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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