Suffering is still our close companion. Maybe it is for you, too. And after years of praying, the words I have about it are often flattened, the meaning smoothed away. So these words, put down more than 150 years ago by a Lutheran pastor, are like fresh water to my soul. I read them the first time to myself, whispering, yes. Yes. Yes. You know what it’s like. You know what we need. Since then, I’ve read them aloud as prayer, in a whisper as comfort, and to myself as a hope too quiet to voice.
Prayer of a Troubled One Who Knoweth Not Whether His Trouble Cometh from the Devil or From His Own Body
O Lord, since I know not whence cometh this grievous anguish and pain that oppresses and troubles my body and soul, whether from the devil or from mine own weak and diseased body, I commit the cause of all my suffering unto Thee and seek my help from Thee alone, O Lord, God of peace that passeth understanding.
Take away, for the sake of Him, Who in Gethsemane and on the cross did suffer all human pain and anguish; take away, for the sake of Christ my only Savior, Who is the eternal covenant between Thee and me; take away my fear-filled heart, for His dear sake, and so bring quiet unto my body and soul.
If it be Thy will, however, O God, that I continue in pain and anguish, grant unto me a sure haven of rest within, from whence I may overcome all things. Grant me Thy peace and the surety of Thy grace in Jesus Christ; and, when it shall seem to me that I am not able to suffer more nor overcome my sorrow, then uphold Thou me and cause me to stand. Suffer me not to be tempted above what I am able; but with the temptation also make a way to escape that I may be able to bear it.
O Thou, Who after the darkness and noonday heat of Good Friday gavest an evening of rest and peace, Thou wilt grant a morn of peace after a night of tears; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bear Thou me up; for I will not leave Thee. Uphold me, O my Light and my Consolation, for I will not leave Thee.
Ever quiet and more quiet let me grow, O peaceful Lamb, content under trial and content in peace, content until my days shall end. Amen.
From Loehe’s Seed-Grains of Prayer, translated by Weller