Historical Committee

Forward | Petition for the . . . Faithful | Petition against Schism | For Political Authorities | For our Enemies | For the Persecuted

Prayer Book for Earnest Christians, A spritually rich Anabaptist Resource

A translation of Die ernsthafte Christenpflicht
Translated and edited by Leonard Gross
Herald Press, 1997

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Prayer and Consolation,
for Those who have been Expelled and Persecuted
for the Sake of having Confessed to Truth

Oh, faithful God, refuge for the forsaken, listen to us in the light of your wonderful righteousness. God, our Salvation, you are the refuge for everyone upon this earth, as well as on the sea. You are our refuge forever and ever. Even before the [76] mountains existed, before the earth and the world were created, you have been, O God, from eternity to eternity.
Have mercy upon us in our misery. Behold, nowhere does the world want to tolerate us; we continue to be persecuted, and we have no permanent home. What our Savior, Christ Jesus, had spoken, has come into fulfillment: "Behold, I am sending you like sheep into the midst of wolves; you will need to be hated by everyone, for my name's sake. Whoever stays the course to the end, will be blessed." Oh, may we, dear Father, in genuine patience and perseverance stay the course!
And since it is said of us: "If they persecute you in one town, flee to another," we thus have this hope and comfort, You have arranged for an abode with these words, and will be at our side in our flight, as you were with the infant Jesus, and with Jacob the progenitor when the host of God met him.
Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, may your example comfort us when you speak: "If the world hates you, know that they had earlier hated me; the disciple is not above his master. I chose you from the world; therefore the world hates you."
Therefore, grant us patience, since it can not be otherwise; and since all must suffer persecution who desire to live in you, O Christ, in a manner blessed from On High. Grant us grace that we may patiently take upon ourselves the cross [77], considering the example of the holy apostles, as Saint Paul recounts: "I maintain that God considers us apostles as the very least, having given us over to death; for we have become a theatrical play in the eyes of the world, and in the eyes of the angels and earthlings." To this very hour we suffer hunger and thirst, and are naked and are beaten, having no certain abode. If we are abused, we bless; if we are persecuted, we bear with it; if we are blasphemed, we flee; we are always like a curse to the world, and a stomping ground for all people.
Allow, O Lord Christ, your Word to be our consolation, where you speak: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs; Blessed are you when men revile and persecute you for my sake, and speak every sort of evil against you, spreading in this manner their lies; be joyous and comforted, all this will be rewarded to you in heaven, for they have persecuted in the same manner the prophets who lived before your time."
Oh, Lord God, permit the word of the holy Apostle Paul also to be our comfort: "We are persecuted, but we will not cave in." And again: "We will need to experience much tribulation during our journey into the kingdom of God."
Let us also reflect on the friendly words of St. Peter, where he says: [78] "Rejoice that you are suffering with Christ, so that you also at the time of the revelation of his glory may have joy and bliss. Blessed are you when you will be reviled on account of the name of Christ, for the Spirit of the glory of God rests upon you; among them he is blasphemed, but among you he is glorified."
O God, how great a consolation it is for all your joyful witnesses, where you say: "Whoever attacks you attacks the apple of my eye."
Therefore we hope you will care for all your pilgrims, and those among us who are forced into misery, like an apple in the eye, and protect them in the shadow of your wings, being with us wherever we are, accompanying us, and caring for us; for "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwells therein."
Lord, your grace extends as far as the heavens, and your truth as far as the clouds. Take note of our times of fleeing; gather our tears into your pocket; without a doubt you are counting them. Blessed is the one whose help comes from the God of Jacob, whose hope rests in the Lord-God who created heaven, earth, sea and everything that is therein; who keeps faith eternally, who metes out justice to those who suffer coercion and injustice; who feeds the hungry.
The Lord ransoms the imprisoned, the Lord opens the [79] eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who have been struck down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord cares for the strangers and orphans, and keeps the widows and pushes back the way of the ungodly. The Lord is king, eternally, your God, Zion, forever and ever. Hallelujah! Amen. (pp. 66-69)