Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Elizabeth Fry and Edith Cavell *


My dearest Lord, be a bright flame before me, be a guiding star above me, be a smooth path beneath me, be a kindly shepherd behind me, today and ever more. Amen.

( Columba, 521-597 )


Walk in the light: so shall you know that fellowship of love
his Spirit only can bestow who reigns in light above.

Walk in the light: and sin abhorred shall never defile again;
the blood of Jesus Christ, your lord, shall cleanse from every stain.

Walk in the light: and you shall find your heart made truly his
who dwells in cloudless light enshrined, in whom no darkness is.

Walk in the light: and you shall own your darkness passed away,
because that light has on you shone in which is perfect day.

Walk in the light: and even the tomb no fearful shade shall wear;
glory shall chase away its gloom, for Christ has conquered there.

Walk in the light: and yours shall be a path, though thorny, bright;
for God, by grace, shall dwell in you, and God himself is light.

( Bernard Barton, 1784–1849 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Elizabeth Fry: the "angel” of prisons
Edith Cavell: more than a patriot

Today Saint Laika’s remembers two amazing women, servants of God, whose compassion saved lives. We have become accustomed to women taking their place alongside men, equal partners in the public square, but these women broke ground as they lived in times where the role of women in public was defined more by home and family.

Betsy Fry was born in 1780, into a family of Quakers in Norwich, England. At age eighteen, moved by the preaching of William Savery, an American Quaker, she took an interest in the poor, the sick, and the prisoners. She collected old clothes for the poor, visited those who were sick in her neighbourhood and started a Sunday school in the summer house to teach children to read. She visited Newgate Prison and was horrified by the condition of both prison and prisoner. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept on straw. She went on to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the "Bible." In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This led to the eventual creation of the British Ladies' Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners, the first nationwide women's organisation in Britain. She also helped the homeless, establishing a nightly shelter in London and in 1824, in Brighton, she started the Brighton District Visiting Society, arranging for volunteers to visit the homes of the poor and provide help and comfort to them.

She died on the twelfth of October, 1845.

Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse during the First World War. She saved the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination. She had the opportunity to help some two hundred Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, for which she was arrested and taken to Germany where she was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

The night before her execution, she told the Reverend Stirling Gahan, the Anglican chaplain who had been allowed to see her and to give her Holy Communion, "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

These words are inscribed on her statue in Saint Martin's Place, near Trafalgar Square in London.

Her final words to the German Lutheran prison chaplain, Paul Le Seur, were recorded as, "Ask Father Gahan to tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe, and that I am glad to die for my country."

She died on thy twelfth of October, 1915.

Scripture. In the "First Letter of Peter," chapter four, at verses nine and ten we read:

Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for prisoners and those who provide for their welfare.

... for women prisoners who are pregnant, incarcerated with a young child or separated from their children.

... for the children of prisoners, that they may not have to suffer because of the crimes of a parent.

... for nurses working in war zones or looking after casualties of war.

... for prisoners of war and political prisoners, in particular, those sentenced to death or fearful for their lives.

... for those who are blind or suffer from severe visual impairment and for those who assist them; for eye surgeons and those who are seeking cures for blindness and poor sight; for the charities that exist to help the blind, especially those that train dogs to work with blind people. DETAILS

... for the people of Equatorial Guinea and Spain who celebrate their national days today.

... for those who were killed, injured or made homeless when Cyclone Titli slammed into India’s eastern seaboard earlier today and for those similarly affected as Hurricane Michael made its way through Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Florida in the United States.

... for those who have died recently 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 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 for ever. Amen.


From a sermon by Elizabeth Fry:

Are there not many here present whose desires are raised up to the living God and to his kingdom of everlasting rest and peace, who are ready to adopt this language, "Oh Lord revive your work in the midst of the years" and are there not among you some of the bowed down, of the broken-hearted, some who have many trials of faith and of patience, some of those conflicts which are much hidden from the eye of man? Oh, my friends, remember that we have to deal with a compassionate Father, who pities his children, who knows our frame, who remembers that we are dust, who sees us not as man sees, who judges us not according to appearance but according to the heart. Oh, my friends, whatever be the trials of your faith and of your patience, I sympathise with you; I desire that you may be upheld, that you may be strengthened, that you may find the grace of your Lord to be sufficient for you; and if we poor frail, feeble, unworthy mortals can feel as we do at seasons one for another, oh, what consolation is it to remember, that he who is infinite in mercy, infinite in love, and infinite in power also feels for us; we have a high priest who is touched with the sense of our infirmities. Oh, my friends, however many of you may be cast down for a season, however you may not know any peace, oh, trust in the Lord and stay yourselves on your God, for his tender mercies are over all his works. Oh, remember, that the very hairs of your head are all numbered; remember that not a sparrow falls to the ground without him and you are of much more value than many sparrows. Were not these expressions made use of by our blessed Lord for the encouragement of his poor little tender ones, those who are brought very low before him? How consoling is it to remember that there is no desire however feeble after himself but he regards it, he is willing to strengthen it, and it rises before him even as a pure and acceptable sacrifice, therefore you humble, broken-hearted, contrite and afflicted ones, lift up your hearts and put your trust in him who suffered for you, who was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Oh, how he did bear our sorrows; what an encouragement is it for us to remember this in all our tribulations, of whatever nature they may be, that the Lord can make all our trials, as well as all our blessing, work together for our good.

Oh, may the language of our hearts increasingly be unto the Lord, "that which I know not, teach me; if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more."

Oh, may we be strengthened to walk closer to God, to cleave very close unto him in spirit, to follow the Lamb our saviour wherever he leads us, to make it the first business of our lives to be conformed to his will and to live to his glory, whether we pass through heights or depths, whether prosperity or adversity be our portion, although our years pass away as a tale that is told, the blessings of the Most High will rest upon us, and through his unbounded love and through his unmerited mercy in Christ Jesus, we may indeed humbly trust that when this passing scene is closed to our view, an entrance will be granted unto us, even abundantly ministered unto us, into the everlasting kingdom of our lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.

Indeed it is well for us, my friends, to enquire, "What do you owe to your Lord?"

Ah, dear friends, is it not well for us to do this when we reflect on what he has done for us, even he who was wounded for our transgressions, who was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace, we may remember, was on him, and by his stripes we are healed. It is well for us to remember what he has been from time to time doing for us in the visitations of his love unto our souls; how often have the proofs of his love been extended towards us to gather us and keep us within his sacred enclosure, even the revelation of the will of God through Jesus Christ our lord, our hope of glory. Oh, then seeing, my brethren and sisters, that the work is a progressive one, the enquiry arose in the secret of my heart, is our salvation nearer than when we first believe? What do we owe unto the Lord? what can we rightly perform that he may be pleased to receive at our hands? And the language of the Psalmist came before the view of my mind with renewed instruction, whilst I have been led to believe that he, the Lord Almighty who dwells on high, is calling us up to go forward, to look not behind, to tarry not in the plain.

"Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully; he shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."


Almighty God, you filled your servants Betsy and Edith with compassion for those in need and with courage in the face of danger. Help us, following their example, to care about those in need today, and to work with imagination and skill to improve their lot; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.

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


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