Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Cyprian of Carthage / James Chisholm *


We give you thanks, almighty God, for the bread of the body that perishes and we beseech you to give us that bread by which man’s higher life is fed, that we, laying hold of the life that never dies, may thereby be made fit for the troubles and burdens of this life and look forward with joy to the higher and better life. So may we live in constant childlike trust in you as to believe, though we behold it not, that the end of all things is divine and to catch the music to which this world is set by you. Lead us from the lower life to the better life that little things may lose their power to vex us and in the midst of the troubles of this life we may have the peace of God that passes all understanding. Of your loving-kindness and tender mercy hear us, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.


Give me life, O Lord, according to your word.

My soul is pining for your salvation;
I have hoped in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your word,
while I say, "O when will you comfort me?"

I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I do not forget your statutes.
Give me life according to your loving-kindness;
so shall I keep the testimonies of your mouth.

O Lord, your word is everlasting;
it ever stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness also remains
from one generation to another;
you have established the earth and it abides.

So also your judgements stand firm this day,
for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
I should have perished in my trouble.

I will never forget your commandments,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours, O save me!
For I have sought your commandments.

Lord, how I love your law!
All the day long it is my study.
I have not turned aside from your judgements,
for you have been my teacher.

How sweet are your words on my tongue!
They are sweeter than honey to my mouth.
Through your commandments I get understanding;
therefore I hate all lying ways.

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.

Give me life, O Lord, according to your word.

Lord Christ,
as we sit at your feet,
teach us your living way;
for you are our Word and Wisdom,
one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Cyprian of Carthage and James Chisholm:
bearers of the mercy of God

Today Saint Laika’s spans the centuries by remembering a bishop from the third century and a priest of the nineteenth century.

Cyprian was born around 200 AD in North Africa of pagan parents. He was a prominent trial lawyer and teacher of rhetoric. Around 246 he became a Christian and in 248 was chosen bishop of Carthage. A year later the Roman emperor, Decius, began a severe persecution of the Church. Many, out of fear, renounced their faith in Christ in order to preserve their lives. After the persecution had died down, a controversy arose over these lapsed Christians who now wanted back into the church. Cyprian held that they ought to be received back into full communion after a suitable interval of penance. In this he was opposed by Novatian, who would not receive them back at all, and who broke communion with the rest of the Church over this issue, forming a dissident group particularly strong in Rome and Antioch. Cyprian, who held the same position as the Bishop of Rome on the treatment of the lapsed, wrote urging the Christians of Rome to stand with their bishop.

During the reign of the Emperor Valerian, Carthage suffered a severe plague epidemic. Cyprian organised a program of medical relief and nursing of the sick, available to all residents, but this did not prevent the masses from being convinced that the epidemic resulted from the wrath of the gods at the spread of Christianity. Another persecution arose, and Cyprian was arrested, tried, and finally beheaded on the fourteenth of September 258.

James Chisholm was the rector of Saint John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the early 1850's, when a terrible plague of yellow fever struck the city. In a book written in 1856 entitled “The Great Pestilence in Virginia,” Chisholm was described this way: “He was always at the bedside of the suffering, and there by the fresh-made grave. He cared not just for their physical health but was steadfast in preparing his flock for death, pointing the sinner to the cross of Christ. He carried food and drink to the needy; he was at the hospital whispering peace to the penitent and departing soul. Finally he also succumbed and the fever struck and killed him as well.” He died on this day in 1855.

Two servants of God, separated by the centuries, yet equally dispensing the mercy of God to those they served.

Scripture. In the fourteenth chapter of "Romans," at verses seven and eight we read:

"We do not live to ourselves and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s."


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that we may have the courage and confidence to confess our belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ even when our faith may elicit ridicule or persecution from those who do not believe.

... for those who expose themselves to danger whilst giving aid to people in need.

... for doctors, nurses and for hospital chaplains; for all who tend to the sick.

... on this the International Day of Democracy that all people in all the nations may be allowed to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and to participate in all aspects of life. We pray for an end to all dictatorships and the oppressive institutions that support them. DETAILS

... for the people of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua who celebrate their national day today.

... for those who were injured or traumatised when a terrorist's bomb exploded aboard a packed London Underground train at Parsons Green Underground station, near Fulham, southwest London during rush hour. DETAILS

... for the people of Japan and an end to North Korea's belligerency; that the international community may find and agree to a peaceful and effective way to stop the sabre rattling in the region.

... for all who were abused whilst in the care of religious institutions.

... for the Nigerian "Chibok girls" still held captive by Boko Haram Islamists. 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 a treatise on the Lord's Prayer by Cyprian of Carthage:

Before all things, the teacher of peace and master of unity did not wish prayer to be offered individually and privately as one would pray only for himself when he prays. We do not say: "My Father, who art in heaven," nor "Give me this day my bread," nor does each one ask that only his debt be forgiven him and that he be led not into temptation and that he be delivered from evil for himself alone. Our prayer is public and common, and when we pray, we pray not for one but for the whole people, because we, the whole people, are one. God, the teacher of prayer and concord, who taught unity, thus wished one to pray for all, just as he himself bore all in one.


Almighty God, you gave to your servants Cyprian and James boldness to confess the name of our saviour Jesus Christ to others and courage to be stewards of your mercy to the sick and suffering up to their final hours. Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to suffer gladly for the sake of our lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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


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