Spirituality and Prayer

Some Prayers from William Edwin Orchard (1877-1955) – The Temple (J.M. Dent & Sons, London 1934)

(slightly edited for language)


O light that burns and heals,

O love that breaks and soothes the heart,

O life that stirs and satisfies;

how shall we endure you?


We have prayed so carelessly

that you would show us your love,

forgetting that the very angels veil their faces before you.

We have longed to look upon the beauty of your countenance,

not considering whether anything would ever seem so fair again.

We have sought to know all mysteries,

and never stayed to ask if we had the strength to bear the truth.

We have desired to follow after Christ,

counting not his lonely way,

his utter sacrifice, his broken heart.


And now we have come at length

to apprehend what such answered prayers might mean,

yet with the clearer light we dare to ask them all again.

Answer them even though we do not fully know;

for we are tired of twilight and falsehood, and the easy way.

Tremblingly we place ourselves in your hands.

Lead us by your love into fuller light

and to more glorious light.



O infinite Light of Truth,

dawn upon our darkened minds,

and lead us past all shams and shadows to yourself.

Make us discontented with anything less than you,

lest we be found following broken lights

or moulding some image of you from our own desires.

Cleanse us with a longing for you alone.


O infinite Life of Love,

the Source, the Way, the Goal of all true life;

may we feel the tides of your being

sweeping round our hearts,

catch sight of that immortal sea

which brought us here,

and open the floodgates of our lives

to the ocean of your love.


Forgive us for our shrinking from the light,

forgive us for all fear of love.

Leave us not alone to our darkness and dread,

lift up our hearts and make us strong.




O God, the Source of our being,

the Goal of our desire,

and the Guide of these our pilgrim days;

we have turned aside from the ceaseless fret of life

that we may think of all it means for us.

We would stay for a moment the noisy shuttle of time,

that we may watch the pattern it is weaving.

We would hush our busy thoughts,

that we might learn in silence the mysteries of our being.


Beyond the clouds that veil our sight,

we feel the sun must still be shining;

behind the tangle of human affairs

some mighty purpose working,

beneath the strange yearnings of our souls

there moves you, aweful, vast and holy.

Gleams of purpose have visited our minds,

the sense of some great destiny accompanies all our thoughts.

We have reason for believing that you are nearer than we think.


O God, our Life, our Hope, our Strength;

leave us not.

Make us sure of you.

Disclose your purposes.

Make your way straight before us.