Prelude to a Song of Worship

I read this prayer in the book Prayers for Life, published by Publications International, Ltd., which can be found here. It is a lovely book with beautiful artwork, scripture, and prayers for a variety of occasions.  It would make a lovely gift, in fact, I liked it so much that  I recently purchased a copy for a friend.  I didn’t know anything about the author of the prayer, but the words were familiar from a song that I remembered from the 1970s. So, I Googled Richard of Chichester and found a bit of information about the man, the priest, the bishop, the saint, and the song–all thanks to Wikipedia

Richard of Chichester was the Bishop of Chichester and canonized in 1262. He is recognized as a saint by both the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches. He was born in 1197 and died April 3, 1253. He was an ascetic who wore a hair shirt and refused to eat off of silver. He ate simply and was a vegetarian. When elected Bishop of Chichester, King Henry VIII refused to accept him and confiscated the see’s properties and revenues. The church and Richard held their ground and eventually, full rights and property of the see were returned to him in 1246 and he earnestly began to write a body of statues to reform the morals and manners of his clergy and make changes to improve the order and reverence of the services.  Richard is the patron saint of the county of Sussex in England. His feast day is April 3 on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA).  He is also remembered for this beautiful prayer whichreflects his love of and devotion to Jesus: 

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ

For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.

The prayer was adapted for the song “Day by Day”  for the musical Godspell (1971) which is why it was familiar to me.

Day by Day

Day by day,
Dear Lord,  three things I pray:
To see Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by Day.



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