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On the Christian Life

King Alfred's Prayer

December 2012

King Alfred reigned over Wessex in southwestern England, and later over all of England from AD 871 to 899. He ruled during difficult times, defending England against foreign invaders (Vikings). He worked to restore learning and culture in his realm, and himself translated books from Latin into Old English for his people. At that time the Church in Europe was undivided, and so he was an Orthodox ruler over an Orthodox nation. He was a pious man and composed the following prayer, which was translated from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) by Archpriest George Lardas. The Old English text was taken from A First Book in Old English; Grammar, Reader, Notes, and Vocabulary, by Albert S. Cook, Professor of the English Language and Literature in Yale University, Boston, U.S.A., Ginn & Company, Publishers, 1894, Section XI. "A Prayer of King Alfred", p. 163.

Original Text:

Dryhten, ælmihtiga God, Wyrhta and Weald-end ealra gesceafta, ic bidde ðé for ðínra miclan mildheortnesse, and for ðǽre hálgan róde tácne, and for Sanctæ Marian mægð-háde, and for Sancti Michaeles gehíersumness, and for ealra ðín-ra hálgena lufan and hiera earnungum, ðæt ðú mé gewissie bet ðonne ic áworhte tó ðé; and gewissa mé tó ðínum willan, and tó mínre sáwle ðearfe, bet ðonne ic self cunne; and gestaðela mín mód tó ðínum willan and tó mínre sáwle ðearfe; and gestranga mé wið ðæs déofles costnungum; and áfierr fram mé ðá fúlan gálnesse and ǽlce unrihtwísnesse; and scield mé wið mínum wiðerwinnum, gesewenlicum and ungesewenlicum; and tǽc mé ðínne willan tó wyrceanne; ðæt ic mæge ðé inweardlice lufian tóforan eallum ðingum, mid clǽnum geðance and mid clǽnum líchaman. For-ðon-ðe ðú eart mín Scieppend, and mín Álíesend, mín Fultum, mín Frófor, mín Tréownes, and mín Tóhopa. Síe ðé lof and wuldor nú and á á á, tó worulde bútan ǽghwilcum ende. Amen.


Lord, Almighty God, Maker and Ruler of all creation, I pray Thee by Thy great mercy, and by the sign of the Holy Cross, and by Saint Mary’s maidenhood, and by Saint Michael’s obedience, and by the love of all Thy Saints and their merits, that Thou guide me better than I have wrought unto Thee; and guide me to Thy will, and to my soul’s good, better than I myself may know; and establish my mind in Thy will and to my soul’s good; and strengthen me against the Devil’s temptations; and remove from me foul lusts and all unrighteousness; and shield me against mine adversaries, seen and unseen; and teach me Thy will to work; that I may love Thee fervently above all things, with clean mind and with clean body. For Thou art my Creator, and my Redeemer, my Helper, my Comfort, my Trust, and my Hope. To Thee be praise and glory now and forever and ever, unto world without any end. Amen.

Founded in 1929, St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT, is a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Read more...

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