Now let us pray to God the Holy Ghost

Now let us pray to God the Holy Ghost

Author: Martin Luther
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

1 Now let us pray to God the Holy Ghost
For the true faith, which we need the most,
That he may defend us when life is ending
And from exile home we are wending.
Kyrieleis. (Lord, have mercy.)

2 Shine in our hearts, O thou most precious Light,
Teach us Jesus Christ to know aright,
That we may abide in the Lord who bought us;
To our homeland true he has brought us.
Kyrieleis. (Lord, have mercy.)

3 Thou sacred Love, thy grace on us bestow,
Set our hearts with heavenly fire aglow
That with hearts united we love each other,
Of one mind, in peace with our brother.
Kyrieleis. (Lord, have mercy.)

4 Thou highest Comfort in our every need,
Help us neither scorn nor death to heed,
That we may not falter nor courage fail us
When the Foe shall rail and assail us.
Kyrieleis. (Lord, have mercy.)

Source: Worship Supplement #753

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Now let us pray to God the Holy Ghost
Author: Martin Luther


Nu biten wir den heiligen Geist. [Whitsuntide.] Wackernagel, ii. p. 44, gives two versions, both in 5 lines; the one from a manuscript sermon [now at Heidelberg] of "Bruder Bertholt von Regensburg," who d. 1272, and the other from the Psaltes Ecclesiasticus, Mainz, 1550. It is one of the very few examples of popular vernacular hymns used in church in pre-Reformation times. According to Koch, i. p. 208, it was sung at Whitsuntide by the people "during the ceremony in which a wooden dove was lowered by a cord from the roof of the chancel, or a living dove was thence let fly down." It was adopted by Martin Luther. (See Nun bitten, as below.) Translated as "Now let us pray the Holy Ghost," by Miss Winkworth, 1869, p. 38. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist. M. Luther. [Whitsuntide.] The first stanza of this hymn is old (see Nu biten wir as above). To this stanza Luther added a second, invoking the Holy Spirit as the true Light, a third as the blessed Love, and a fourth as the great Comforter. The full form in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, with Kyrioleis, appeared in the Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn, Wittenberg, 1524. Thence in Wackernagel, iii. p. 18, in Schircks's edition of Luther's Geistliche Lieder, 1854, p. 29, and in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 177. The hymn has been generally appointed for Whitsuntide, but has also been used in the Lutheran Church as a hymn for Holy Communion, at the ordination of ministers, or, as in the Strassburg Kirchen Ampt, 1525, before the sermon. Translated as:—
Now pray we all God the Comforter. In full by A. T. Russell, as No. 18 in his Psalms & Hymns, 1851, repeated by Dr. Bacon, 1884, p. 40.
Other translations are:—
(1) "Thou holy Spirite, we pray to the," by Bishop Coverdale, 1539 (Remains, 1846, p. 543). (2) “Now our request to the Holy Ghost," in Some other Hymns & Poems, Lond., 1752, p. 9, and the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754, pt. i., No. 228. (3) "God Holy Ghost, in mercy us preserve," as No. 205 in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1789 (1849, No. 250). (4) "Now on the Holy Ghost we call For perfect," by Miss Fry, 1845, p. 43. (5) " To Thee, Thou Holy Spirit, now," by Miss Fry, 1845, p. 75. (6) "Holy Spirit! grant us our desire," by J. Anderson 1846, p. 18 (1847, p. 42). (7) "Oh Holy Ghost! to Thee we pray." by Dr. J. Hunt, 1853, p. 50. (8) "Now crave we of the Holy Ghost," by R. Massie, 1854, p. 21. (9) "Now pray we to the Holy Ghost," by Dr. G. Macdonald, in the Sunday Magazine, 1867. In his Exotics, 1876, p. 59, beginning "Now let us pray to the Holy Ghost." 10) "Now on the Holy Ghost we call To give," by J. D. Burns, in his Remains, 1869, p. 235. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


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Worship Supplement #753

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