Archives For Prayers


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1612610765″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”222″ alt=”Rainer Maria Rilke” ]“I believe in everything that has not yet been said”

A Featured Review of

Prayers of a Young Poet

Rainer Maria Rilke.

Translated and with an introduction by Mark S. Burrows
Hardback: Paraclete Press, 2012.
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Review by Caitlin Michelle Desjardins


The hour bows down and stirs me

With a clear and ringing stroke;

My senses tremble. I feel that I can—

And I seize the forming day.


Between September 20 and October 14, 1899, Rainer Maria Rilke feverishly composed a cycle of prayers, in the form of poems written by an anonymous Russian Orthodox monk, that we now know as the first part of his famous Book of Hours. Yet the Book of Hours as we have it now, with Rilke’s own revisions, doesn’t include Rilke’s own original annotations that give the date of composition and short epigraphs that suggest something of the poems’ originations. These epigraphs, written from the perspective of the Monk, often suggest insights and signify the thrust of the poem itself. Rilke’s poetry is, in many ways, an exercise in openness and doesn’t always lend any clear “meaning” so much as give a sense of divinity, humanity and the wideness of life. These epigraphs, restored in this new edition of Rilke’s prayers (originally titles simple “die Gebete” or “the Prayers), don’t undermine the expanse of Rilke’s poetry or offer any kind of didactic “meaning”, yet they do helpfully turn our head a bit, and offer new insights into the poems themselves and Rilke’s spirit and imagination as he write them.

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Two striking Thanksgiving prayers from THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER:

“A Litany of Thanksgiving”

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

“Thanksgiving for the Harvest”

Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee hearty thanks and praise for the return of seed time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits, and for all other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.