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;
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.]