3 Surviving Prayers of Jane Austen

Along with her works of fiction, Jane Austen was a very faithful Christian. Her surviving prayers give us extraordinary insight into her personal faith as well as God’s character and great encouragement for us today.

Updated Feb 23, 2023
3 Surviving Prayers of Jane Austen

Jane Austen is one the most beloved and influential authors of all time, who is well-known for her six completed novels: Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion.

Jane Austen passed away on July 18, 1817, never knowing to what extent her posthumous success would reach. During her lifetime, she received very little for her works and was not widely appreciated. In the modern day, she is esteemed as one of the greatest authors of all time.

Along with her works of fiction, Jane Austen was a very faithful Christian. Her father was a rector of the Anglican parishes at Steventon and Deane. So, She spent her entire life in the church.

Her surviving prayers give us extraordinary insight into her personal faith as well as God’s character and great encouragement for us today.

Each prayer was meant to end with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. To avoid repetition, I’ll end the article with the Lord’s Prayer from the King James Version, which is the translation Jane used in her daily meditations.

1. Have Mercy and Grace on Us

Give us grace, Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address Thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Thou art everywhere present, from Thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on Thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain.

Look with mercy on the sins we have this day committed, and in mercy make us feel them deeply, that our repentance may be sincere, and our resolutions steadfast of endeavoring against the commission of such in future.

Teach us to understand the sinfulness of our own hearts, and bring to our knowledge every fault of temper and every evil habit in which we have indulged to the discomfort of our fellow-creatures, and the danger of our own souls.

May we now, and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words, and actions during it, and how far we can acquit ourselves of evil.

Have we thought irreverently of Thee, have we disobeyed Thy commandants, have we neglected any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline us to ask our hearts these questions, O God, and save us from deceiving ourselves by pride or vanity.

Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference.

Be gracious to our necessities, and guard us, and all we love, from evil this night.

May the sick and afflicted, be now, and ever in Thy care; and heartily do we pray for the safety of all that travel by land or by sea, for the comfort and protection of the orphan and the widow and that Thy pity may be shown upon all captives and prisoners.

Above all other blessings, O God, for ourselves, and for our fellow-creatures, we implore Thee to quicken our sense of Thy mercy in the redemption of the world, of the value of that holy religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own neglect , throw away the salvation Thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name. Hear us, Almighty God, for His sake who redeemed us, and taught us thus to pray.

2. Pardon Us for Our Transgressions

Almighty God, look down with mercy on Thy servants here assembled and accept the petitions now offered up unto Thee. Pardon, O God, the offenses of the past day. We are concious of many frailties; we remember with shame and contrition, many evil thoughts and neglected duties; and we have perhaps sinned against Thee and against our fellow-creatures in many instances of which we have no remembrance.

Pardon, O God, whatever Thou has seen amiss in us, and give us a stronger desire of resisting every evil inclination and weakening every habit of sin. Thou knowest the infirmity of our nature, and the temptations which surround us.

Be Thou merciful, O Heavenly Father, to creatures so formed and situated. We bless Thee for every comfort of our past and present existence, for our health of body and mind and for every other source of happiness which Thou hast bountifully bestowed on us and with which we close this day, imploring their continuance from Thy Fatherly goodness, with a more grateful sense of them, than they have hitherto excited.

May the comforts of every day, be thankfully felt by us, may they prompt a willing obedience of Thy commandments and a benevolent spirit toward every fellow-creature.

Have mercy, O gracious Father, upon all that are now suffering from whatsoever cause, that are in any circumstance of danger or distress. Give them patience under every affliction, strengthen, comfort, and relieve them.

To Thy goodness we commend ourselves this night beseeching Thy protection of us through its darkness and dangers. We are helpless and dependent; graciously preserve us.

For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection, we equally pray; however divided and far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee, and under Thine eye.

May we be equally united in Thy faith and fear, in fervent devotion towards Thee, and in Thy merciful protection this night.

Pardon, O Lord the imperfections of these our prayers, and accept them through the meditation of our Blessed Saviour, in whose holy words, we further address Thee.

3. Provide Safety for Us and Our Loved Ones This Day

Father of Heaven whose goodness has brought us in safety to the close of this day, dispose our hearts in fervent prayer. Another day is now gone, and added to those, for which we were before accountable.

Teach us, Almighty Father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what Thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.

Give us grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forebearance and patience of which our Blessed Saviour has set us the highest example; and which, while it prepares us for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure to us the best enjoyment of what this world can give.

Incline us, O God, to think humbly ourselves, to be severe only in the examination of our own conduct, to consider our fellow-creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity which we would desire from them ourselves.

We thank Thee with all our hearts for every gracious dispensation, for all the blessings that have attended to our lives, for every hour of safety, healthy, and peace, of domestic comfort and innocent enjoyment.

We feel that we have been blessed far beyond any thing that we have deserved; and though we cannot but pray for a continuance of all these mercies, we acknowledge our unworthiness of them and implore Thee to pardon the presumption of our desires.

May Thy mercy be extended over all mankind, bringing the ignorant to the knowledge of Thy truth, awakening the impenitent, touching the hardened.

Look with compassion upon the afflicted of every condition, assuage the pangs of disease, comfort the broken in spirit.

More particularly do we pray for the safety and welfare of our own family and friends wheresoever dispersed, beseeching Thee to avert from them all maerial and lasting evil of body or mind; and may we by the assistance of Thy Holy Spirit so conduct ourselves on earth as to secure an eternity of happiness with each other in Thy Heavenly Kingdom. Grant this most Merciful Father, for the sake of our Blessed Saviour in whose holy name and words we further address Thee.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen(Matthew 6:9-13).

For further reading:

Prayers for Patience and Understanding

What Does the Church Think of Those Who Have Never Been Married?

What Are the Prayers of the Faithful?

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/elaineh

Molly Law is the Editor of C.com. She has a Master of Arts in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, UK, where she studied and lived for a year in Scotland. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Professional Writing from Gardner-Webb University. Her editorial career includes Senior Editor of a bimonthly magazine for the nonprofit ACA and Editorial Assistant at Luath Press in Edinburgh, UK. She enjoys reading 18th-century British Literature, creative writing, and traveling. 

This article is part of our prayer resources meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

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