Thought for the Month - Holy Trinity, Prestwood

DH-1 A thought for the month by our Rector, Deiniol.

I have a challenge for everyone who reads this article. Tell me what your favourite prayer is. If you don't have one, well why not have a go at reading some and try to find one that resonates with you?
I'll tell you about mine. It is the General Thanksgiving. It's at the bottom of this article. You'll find it in the Book of Common Prayer, and for me it instantly sends me back to my youth as a choir boy and Choral Evensong. Every so often, as the evening sun streamed through the west window, picking out the dust motes as they drifted through the church, the Vicar would slot the General Thanksgiving into the prayers. There would be a flurry of muted activity as the congregation and choir rushed to flip through their prayer books to find the right page, and gradually, as we caught up, the volume would increase as we all got up to speed. By the time we got to "We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life," we were all there. What lovely words they are. It's hard to think of anything so beautiful being written today.
The prayer was written by a chap called Edward Reynolds, who was a 17th C Bishop of Norwich, and it is said to have been inspired by a private prayer of Elizabeth I.
I like it because it encapsulates so much in such a genuine and lyrical way. It is a prayer to be said out loud, and to enjoy the saying of it--to let the words roll around your mouth, and let the utterance itself be a part of the prayer. Noble without pomposity, humble without hypocrisy and clever without exclusivity, it is a prayer for all seasons.
It has gone out of fashion these days, and that's a shame. There are modern language versions, but like Cramner's prose, it doesn't really work to modernise it. You lose too much of what makes it wonderful. It's better to do something new. In the meantime, if your hearts are ever unfeignedly thankful enough to give thanks to God for his inestimable love (and I hope that sometimes they are), you could do a lot worse than pray the General Thanksgiving, a true gem of our Anglican heritage.

A General Thanksgiving
ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we shew forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Holy Trinity, Prestwood is an Inclusive Church. We are part of the Church of England.
We are in the Oxford diocese and the Wendover Deanery.

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Prestwood is a registered charity, no. 1129233.

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