O Lord, who in Thy love divine
Didst leave in Heaven the ninety-nine,
In pity for a world undone,
And gav’st Thy life to save the one,
And didst it on Thy shoulders bear
In joy to Heaven, receive our prayer.
Thou who the night in prayer didst spend
And then didst Thine apostles send
And bidd’st us pray the harvest’s Lord
To send forth sowers of Thy Word,
Hear and Thy chosen servants bless
With sev’nfold gifts of holiness.
Look down, with gracious eye behold,
With watchful care protect Thy fold;
Secure from hireling shepherds keep,
Which feed themselves, and not the sheep,
And when the prowling wolf is nigh,
Forsake the flock in fear and fly.
O Thou, who didst at Pentecost
Send down from Heaven the Holy Ghost
That He might with Thy Church abide
Forever to defend and guide,
Illuminate and strengthen, Lord,
The preachers of Thy holy Word.
Oh, may Thy pastors faithful be,
Not lab’ring for themselves, but Thee!
Give grace to feed with wholesome food
The sheep and lambs bought by Thy blood,
To tend Thy flock, and thus to prove
How dearly they the Shepherd love.
That which the holy Scriptures teach,
That, and that only, may they preach;
May they the true Foundation lay,
Build gold thereon, not wood or hay;
And meekly preach in days of strife
The sermon of a holy life.
As ever in Thy holy eyes,
And stewards of Thy mysteries,
May they the people teach to see
Not, Lord, Thy ministers, but Thee;
To see a loving Savior’s face
Revealed in all the means of grace.
May they Thy Word with boldness speak
And bear with tenderness the weak;
Not seeking their own things as best,
But what may edify the rest;
With wisdom and simplicity
And, most of all, with clarity.
Oh, may Thy people faithful be
And in Thy pastors honor Thee
And with them work and for them pray
And gladly Thee in them obey,
Receive the prophet of the Lord
And gain the prophet’s own reward!
So may we, when our work is done
Together stand before Thy throne
And joyful hearts and voices raise
In one united song of praise,
With all the bright celestial host,
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.