An Evening Prayer
Came across a gem this morning: an evening prayer by Thomas Ken entitled, “Glory to Thee My God This Night.”
Thomas Ken is little known today, but in his day he was a highly regarded Bishop of the Church of England, Chaplain to the Court of William of Orange and Chaplain to the British Navy.
Most interesting to me was his friendship with Izaak Walton, the old angler. (His stepsister, Anne, was married to Walton). He was deeply influenced by the character of that good and gentle man.
In the course of his life he penned a number of poems, one of which is this nighttime prayer—you’ll be surprised by the last stanza—an alternative perhaps to counting sheep, or “Now I lay me down to sleep…”
All praise to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light!
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the judgment day.
O may my soul on Thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that may me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.
When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest.
O when shall I, in endless day,
Forever chase dark sleep away,
And hymns divine with angels sing,
All praise to thee, eternal King?
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
—Thomas Ken (1637-1711)