prayer of thanksgiving

Many folks in the congregation have asked about the prayer that I used during communion this past Sunday.

So here is a little reminder:  this prayer was re-discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945 along with many other documents in clay jars.  Go here to learn more about those papers.

It has no known author, and the date cannot be specific, but it is probably from sometime between the 1st and 3rd centuries.  It was written in Coptic (more on the Coptic language here).

The translation I read comes from a book entitled The New New Testament, edited by Hal Taussig.  (Click here to learn more about this book. Or find it on Amazon, here.)

So after all that stuff… here is the prayer!


The Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give thanks to you,

every life and heart stretches toward you,

O name untroubled,

honored with the name of God,

praised with the name of Father.

To everyone and everything

comes the kindness of the father,

and love

and desire.

And if there is a sweet simple teaching,

it gifts us mind, word, and knowledge:

mind, that we may understand you;

word, that we may interpret you;

knowledge, that we may know you.

We rejoice and are enlightened by your knowledge.

We rejoice that you have taught us about yourself.

We rejoice that in the body you have made us divine through your knowledge.

The thanksgiving of the human who reaches you

is this alone:

that we know you.

We have known you,

O light of mind.

O light of life,

we have known you.

O womb of all that grows,

we have known you.

O womb pregnant with the nature of the Father,

we have known you.

O never-ending endurance of the Father who gives birth,

so we worship your goodness.

One wish we ask: we wish to be protected in knowledge.

One protection we desire:

that we not stumble in this life.

     [and then one more line I did not read in church because it would have been a tad confusing]

When they said these things in prayer, they welcomed one another, and they went to eat their holy food, which had no blood in it.


Enjoy this ancient prayer, and how it still speaks to many today.


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Filed under classic, music&worship

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