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[Prayers] for courage, by Basil Lucas Quixano Henriques (1916)


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For courage.
I give thanks unto Thee
for the sacred task to which Thou hast called me,
as a member of Thy people Israel,
and I humbly beseech Thee
to help me to fulfil my holy mission.
May I at all times
and in every circumstance
remember that I am Thy messenger,
Thy servant in whom Thou trusteth.
Instil into me the steadfast courage
with which Thou didst inspire my ancestors
throughout all their afflictions,
and the strength to do my duty
manfully and cheerfully.
Breathe into me
the desire to show mercy and charity
to my fellowmen,
so that I may be worthy of the name I bear.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
the God, of Israel,
the Father of all mankind.
Thou alone knowest
my difficulties
and my temptations.
If, when at work
or when at leisure,
when with my comrades
or when alone,
I ever feel mean
and wretched
and disheartened,
and the thought of Thee
fades from my memory,
and I forget the great task
which Thou hast given unto me
and unto all Israel Thy children,
then do Thou, O God of my fathers,
make Thy presence felt unto me,
so that I may realise Thy holiness.
Fortified by the knowledge of Thee,
may I strive to serve Thee better,
and to be more worthy of the love
which Thou hast ever shown unto me
and unto all Thy people Israel.
If my strength should fail me,
if I should fall into temptation,
do Thou make Thy presence felt unto me
and give me courage to arise
and do Thy bidding.
At this hour every thought of mine,
and every wish, is directed towards Thee,
and Thou, all-knowing and all-seeing God,
understandest my weaknesses
and hast pity on me.
Thou wilt give me strength to serve Thee.
O Lord,
help me to testify in my life
to the love that I bear Thee.
When I am surrounded by dangers and fear,
then let me say with perfect faith:
“Into Thy Hand, O Lord, I commend my spirit;
Thou art with me, I cannot fear.”
But when temptations come upon me
and I feel weak and lonely,
then let me cry with all my might:
“O Father,
make Thy presence felt unto me,
and give me strength.”
When I have failed in my tasks,
knowing that I have not done my utmost,
then let me pray:
“O God of mercy,
forgive me,
and create in me
a desire to begin afresh
and the strength to persevere.”
But when I have done what I know to be right,
then let me behold the beauty of the Lord,
and say:
Thou hast rewarded me
with the light of Thy countenance.
No matter what may befall me,
I am at peace and with Thee.”
Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
my Strength and my Redeemer.

Basil L.Q. Henriques’s prayers “For Courage” were first published in The Fratres Book of Prayer for the Oxford and St. George’s Synagogue Jewish Lads Club in 1916, and later reprinted in the Prayer Book of the St. George’s Settlement Synagogue (1929), “Special Prayers” section, pages 91-92.






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