Bonhoeffer’s Morning Prayer for Fellow-Prisoners

This prayer was written by the pastor, scholar, spy, and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer around Christmas 1943, while he was imprisoned for his work against the Nazi party.  I quoted excerpts of it in the sermon “The Lord has been/is/will be my Shepherd” (March 26, 2017) and wanted to provide the full prayer for those who are interested.  

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray

And to concentrate my thoughts on you;

I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,

But with you there is light;

I am lonely, but you do not leave me;

I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;

I am restless, but with you there is peace.

In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;

I do not understand your ways,

But you know the way for me.

O heavenly Father,

I praise and thank you

For the peace of the night;

I praise and thank you for this new day;

I praise and thank you for all your goodness and faithfulness throughout my life.

You have granted me many blessings;

Now let me also accept what is hard from your hand.

For you will lay on me no more than I can bear.

You make all things work together for good for your children.


Lord Jesus Christ,

You were poor and in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.

You know all man’s troubles;

You abide with me when all men fail me;

You remember and seek me;

It is your will that I should know you and turn to you.

Lord, I hear your call and follow;

Help me.

O Holy Spirit,

Give me faith that will protect me from despair, from passions, and from vice;

Give me such love for God and men

As will blot out all hatred and bitterness;

Give me the hope that will deliver me from fear and faint-heartedness.

O holy and merciful God,

my Creator and Redeemer,

My Judge and Saviour,

You know me and all that I do.

You hate and punish evil without respect of persons in this world and the next;

You forgive the sins of those who sincerely pray for forgiveness;

You love goodness, and reward it on this earth with a clear conscience,

and, in the world to come, with a crown of righteousness.

I remember in your presence all my loved ones,

My fellow-prisoners, and all who in this house perform their hard service;

Lord, have mercy.

Restore me to liberty, and enable me so to live now that I may answer before you and before men. Lord whatever this day may bring, your name be praised. Amen.

 [found in Letters and Papers from Prison (Enlarged Edition). Ed. Eberhard Bethge. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1972).  Pp. 139-141.]


One thought on “Bonhoeffer’s Morning Prayer for Fellow-Prisoners

  1. Pingback: The Lord has been/is/will be my Shepherd | Katherine Museus

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