Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer was originally one of the prayers that priests said before the Mass as a form of preparation. It goes back to at least the 11th century. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer translated this prayer into English for the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Although the version said by Episcopal priests today has more modernized language, we’re uniting ourselves with Christians of centuries past when we pray prayers like this one.
What are some of the things that the priest is praying for when he or she says this prayer?
- Acknowledging that nothing we say or do is hidden to God. However, rather than seeing this as an indictment of our ability to sin, we should see it as encouragement that the same God who knows our hearts knows our prayer needs – sometimes before we even see them ourselves.
- The Holy Spirit inspires us to perfectly love God and in doing so, we have a better attitude towards the people in our lives
- The prayer is also a supplication for us to worship God in a worthy way – when we worship God in spirit and truth, there is no place for big egos or personal agendas
For further study:
Hebrews 4:1 – 13
John 4:19 – 24