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Prayer Of The Month

Introducing you to some classic Christian prayers from around the world....

Dr Johnson's Prayer of Dedication

Portrait of Dr Samuel Johnson, LexicographerDr Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is perhaps best known for his great English dictionary, published 250 years ago in 1755.

This prayer was, however, written a few years earlier, as he began a series of essays; in it he asks for God's blessing and help for his new project.


Almighty God, the giver of all good things,
without whose help all labour is ineffectual,
and without whose grace all wisdom is folly:
grant, I beseech Thee, that in this my undertaking,
thy Holy Spirit may not be withheld from me,
but that I may promote Thy glory,
and the salvation both of myself and others.
Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Amen. Lord bless me. So be it.

To think about....

Dr Johnson says that without God's help "all labour is ineffectual". Do you agree? Can we be helped by God without knowing it, or is it essential to pray before any new undertaking?

Whatever work you do, can you see it as a way of promoting God's glory and the salvation of yourself and others? Or perhaps this is just too heavy a responsibility? Nevertheless, in our "me first" culture, do we sometimes fail to take seriously the consequences of our actions on others?

In this prayer - unusually - "Amen" is NOT the last word! Instead the author adds further words to express his personal commitment. Do you feel this strengthens the prayer, or not? Perhaps you have a favourite phrase or two that you use when you really really want God to do something for you - if so why not try adding it to the end of Dr Johnson's prayer as a way of dedicating a job or project of your own?


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