A Leauki's Writings
Published on January 28, 2009 By Leauki In Religion

With every power for good to stay and guide me,
comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I'll live these days with you in thought beside me,
and pass, with you, into the coming year.

The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening;
the long days of our sorrow still endure;
Father, grant to the souls thou hast been chastening
that thou hast promised, the healing and the cure.

Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
we will not falter, thankfully receiving
all that is given by thy loving hand.

But should it be thy will once more to release us
to life's enjoyment and its good sunshine,
that which we've learned from sorrow shall increase us,
and all our life be dedicate as thine.

Today, let candles shed their radiant greeting;
lo, on our darkness are they not thy light
leading us, haply, to our longed-for meeting? -
Thou canst illumine even our darkest night.

When now the silence deepens for our hearkening,
grant we may hear thy children's voices raise
from all the unseen world around us darkening
their universal paean, in thy praise.

While all the powers of good aid and attend us,
boldly we'll face the future, come what may.
At even and at morn God will befriend us,
and oh, most surely on each newborn day!

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor in the Lutheran Confessing Church (the part of the official Lutheran church that resisted Hitler) spoke those words a few weeks before his eventual death in the Flossenbuerg concentration camp. When he wrote the prayer/poem he already knew that he would die in the camp.

The German version of the prayer is even better.

 

Von guten Mächten treu und still umgeben,
Behütet und getröstet wunderbar,
So will ich diese Tage mit euch leben
Und mit euch gehen in ein neues Jahr.

Noch will das alte unsre Herzen quälen,
Noch drückt uns böser Tage schwere Last.
Ach, Herr, gib unsern aufgescheuchten Seelen
Das Heil, für das du uns bereitet hast.

Und reichst du uns den schweren Kelch, den bittern
Des Leids, gefüllt bis an den höchsten Rand,
So nehmen wir ihn dankbar ohne Zittern
Aus deiner guten und geliebten Hand.

Doch willst du uns noch einmal Freude schenken
An dieser Welt und ihrer Sonne Glanz,
Dann wolln wir des Vergangenen gedenken
Und dann gehört dir unser Leben ganz.

Lass warm und still die Kerzen heute flammen,
Die du in unsre Dunkelheit gebracht.
Führ, wenn es sein kann, wieder uns zusammen.
Wir wissen es, dein Licht scheint in der Nacht.

Wenn sich die Stille nun tief um uns breitet,
So lass uns hören jenen vollen Klang
Der Welt, die unsichtbar sich um uns weitet,
All deiner Kinder hohen Lobgesang.

Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen,
Erwarten wir getrost, was kommen mag.
Gott ist mit uns am Abend und am Morgen
Und ganz gewiss an jedem neuen Tag.

 

The last stanza is the most commonly quoted. My own translation, word for word, attempts to reflect the meaning of the German text more closely.

Wunderfully protected by good powers,
Without fear we wait for what might come.
God is with us in evening and morning
And most assuredly on every new day.

It is very difficult to translate, the whole prayer is.

 

It is the only Christian prayer I recite.

And I almost cry whenever I read it. Sometimes I do cry when I read it.

 

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 28, 2009

...

on Jan 28, 2009

There's a wonderful  three hour radio theatre presentation on CD that I have on Bonhoeffer that I got from Focus on the Family.  It was a Peabody Award Winner entitled "Bonhoeffer: the cost of FREEDOM." 

He was one of the very few pastors in Germany that dared to speak out against Hitler when everyone else was too afraid to.   He was a true Christian who gave his life for another. 

on Jan 28, 2009

He was one of the very few pastors in Germany that dared to speak out against Hitler when everyone else was too afraid to.   He was a true Christian who gave his life for another.

Amen.

 

on Feb 01, 2009

I am pretty sure that the power of prayer has already been disproven.

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/31/science/sci-prayer31

 

Don't let the foolish fool you.

on Feb 01, 2009

I am pretty sure that the power of prayer has already been disproven.

Go ahead and disprove that the prayer I quoted above made me cry.

Quoting KFC above:

He was one of the very few pastors in Germany that dared to speak out against Hitler when everyone else was too afraid to.   He was a true Christian who gave his life for another. 

Science and technology certainly enabled people to speak up against Hitler, but those people were safe and a long distance from the Nazis. It was faith and prayer that made people speak up at the beginning and within Germany.

Had more people spoken up then, World War 2 and the Shoah could have been avoided. Not enough people did.

To announce now that the few people who did speak up, the few people who were willing to give their lives to save the world were foolish is remarkably arrogant. If more people had been as "foolish" as pastor Bonhoeffer, all those smarter people (those that were not foolish enough) wouldn't have been able to destroy Europe.

 

on Feb 01, 2009

I am pretty sure that the power of prayer has already been disproven.

Don't let the foolish fool you.

What did the study you refer to disprove? !!!

That prayers cant cure your cold or fever?

Was that this prayer's (or any prayer for that matter) objectives? 

I sure hope that people will follow your advice and disregard your first statement.

This poem/prayer certainly has the power to lift anybody's spirit ... anybody who is not foolish that is !!!!

 

on Feb 01, 2009

This poem/prayer certainly has the power to lift anybody's spirit ... anybody who is not foolish that is !!!!

My sentiments exactly.

 

on Feb 01, 2009

ThinkAloud :

The study proves that people after undergoing heart surgery don't do as well on prayer.

ThinkAloud maybe should think more silently.

on Feb 01, 2009

Many things make us cry, so what!

Time cures cold and fevers, not prayer, or do you think the two are equated. Because I pray, time passes colds are cured.

I haven't prayed for any of my colds to be cured, yet they have been, because my body forms cells that cure them.

ThinkAloud me thinks should think silently. Just because you think, doesn't mean you reason.

on Feb 01, 2009

on Feb 01, 2009

The study proves that people after undergoing heart surgery don't do as well on prayer.

That is surely a very relevant fact considering that the article was about prayers said by concentration camp inmates days before their death.

 

Many things make us cry, so what!

Not me.

 

Time cures cold and fevers, not prayer, or do you think the two are equated. Because I pray, time passes colds are cured.

Time was a luxury Bonhoeffer didn't have.

 

I haven't prayed for any of my colds to be cured, yet they have been, because my body forms cells that cure them.

And I will pray that colds that are likely to be cured will be the worst problems you'll ever have. I hope for your sake that you never will be in a situation where only prayer can help you.

 

 

on Feb 01, 2009

ThinkAloud maybe should think more silently.

Agreed. Silent or Aloud is obviously wasted in this case.

on Apr 12, 2009

A fine translation.  Have you done the other version, the "von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen, erwarten wir getrost was kommen mag.  Gott ist mit uns am Abend und am Morgan und ganz gewiss an jedem neuen Tag."? 

 

As to the power of prayer, prayer has the power to heal our hearts, not to influence God or the gods.  God or the gods would be in a cleft stick, wouldn't she or they, deciding which football team to favor.  But seriously, this prayer is to open our hearts and souls to to the certainty of the love that is God.

on Apr 12, 2009

The translation of the one stanza you mention is mine.

Prayers do not influence G-d. They are for our sake, not His.

 

on Apr 12, 2009

Prayers do not influence G-d. They are for our sake, not His.

I agree and disagree.  They can influence God because he said "the prayers of a righteous man avails much." 

But on the other hand, God knows our prayers before we even utter a silent word to Him. 

Our conversation with God is for our benefit mostly but God desires to hear from us as well just as we desire for our children to call their parents once they have moved away. 

Our prayers to God is us speaking to him.  His word to us is his speaking to us. 

As in any relationship, we need the conversation to go both ways for it to be a relationship.  Don't you think? 

 

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