John Donne: Prayer


John Donne

O ETERNAL and most gracious God, who calledst down fire from heaven upon the sinful cities but once, and openedst the earth to swallow the murmurers but once, and threwest down the tower of Siloam upon sinners but once; but for thy works of mercy repeatedst them often, and still workest by thine own patterns, as thou broughtest man into this world, by giving him a helper fit for him here; so, whether it be thy will to continue me long thus, or to dismiss me by death, be pleased to afford me the helps fit for both conditions, either for my weak stay here, or my final transmigration from hence.

And if thou mayst receive glory by that way (and by all ways thou mayst receive glory), glorify thyself in preserving this body from such infections as might withhold those who would come, or endanger them who do come; and preserve this soul in the faculties thereof from all such distempers as might shake the assurance which myself and others have had, that because thou hast loved me thou wouldst love me to my end, and at my end.

Open none of my doors, not of my heart, not of mine ears, not of my house, to any supplanter that would enter to undermine me in my religion to thee, in the time of my weakness, or to defame me, and magnify himself with false rumours of such a victory and surprisal of me, after I am dead. Be my salvation, and plead my salvation; work it and declare it; and as thy triumphant shall be, so let the militant church be assured that thou wast my God, and I thy servant, to and in my consummation.

Bless thou the learning and the labours of this man whom thou sendest to assist me; and since thou takest me by the hand, and puttest me into his hands (for I come to him in thy name, who in thy name comes to me), since I clog not my hopes in him, no, nor my prayers to thee, with any limited conditions, but inwrap all in those two petitions, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” prosper him, and relieve me, in thy way, in thy time, and in thy measure. Amen.

See also: