Today I offer another resource for traditional prayer during these stressful times. The Ninth Hour office is customarily read around 3 PM, the hour of death upon the Cross on Good Friday. Each of these offices can be said by anyone, anywhere, and does not require the presence of clergy. When being used with a group, the words in bold types are those said in unison with the leader or in response. The origin of each prayer is noted in the text.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one true God, to whom be glory and upon us mercy and compassion for ever and ever. Amen.
The First Prayer [Syrian Antiochian 9th Hour Prayer]
O thou who, at the Ninth Hour, for our sake didst taste of death in the flesh: Mortify thou the presumption of our flesh, and save us, O Christ our God. Amen.
A General Confession
Let us pray
I confess to God the Father Almighty, to His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and to God the Holy Ghost, and before the whole company of heaven, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my own fault, through my ownmost grievous fault. Wherefore I beseech God the Father Almighty, His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and God the Holy Ghost, to pity me, and to have mercy upon me. The Almighty and merciful God grant to us pardon, absolution, and remission of all our sins. Amen.
The Lord’ s Prayer [Luke 11:2-4]
OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.
The First Chapter [1 Thessalonians 4:14]
If we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him.
The First Antiphon [Psalm 86:7-10]
In the time of my trouble I will call upon thee;
For thou hearest me.
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord;
There is not one that can do as thou doest.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship thee, O Lord;
And shall glorify thy Name.
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things:
Thou art God alone.
The Second Prayer [Adapted from Liturgy of St. James, 1st C.]
O SOVEREIGN Almighty God, King of Glory, who knowest all things before their creation, redeem us from the shame of our transgressions; cleanse our minds and thoughts from impure desires, from worldly deceit, from all influence of the devil; guard us from everything evil and preserve us for continually pleasing, worshipping, and glorifying Thee, the Father, and Thy only-begotten Son, and thy all-holy Spirit, now and always, unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Second Antiphon [Psalm 86:1-6]
Bow down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me;
For I am poor, and in misery.
Preserve thou my soul, for I am holy: *
My God, save thy servant that putteth his trust in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord; *
For I will call daily upon thee.
Comfort the soul of thy servant; *
For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For thou, Lord, art good and gracious; *
And of great mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Give ear, Lord, unto my prayer, *
And ponder the voice of my humble desires.
The Third Prayer [Sarum Missal, 16th-17th C., England]
O GOD, who hast made the most glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thine only-begotten Son, to be exceeding sweet and supremely lovable to thy faithful servants: Mercifully grant that all who devoutly venerate the name of Jesus on earth may in this life receive thy holy comfort, and in the life to come attain thine unending joy. Amen.
The Second Chapter [Isaiah 53:6]
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord that laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The Third Antiphon [Psalm 51:10, 11]
Make me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
The Fourth Prayer [Anglican Prayer, Alcuin of York, 8th C.]
O ETERNAL light, shine into my heart; O Eternal Goodness, deliver me from evil; O Eternal Power, be my support; O Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of my ignorance; O Eternal Pity, have mercy upon me; that with all my heart and mind and soul and strength I may seek thy face and be brought by thine infinite mercy to thy holy presence. Amen.
The Psalm Reading [Psalm 119:129-146]
THY testimonies are wonderful; * therefore doth my soul keep them.
130. When thy word goeth forth, * it giveth light and understanding unto the simple.
131. I opened my mouth, and drew in my breath; * for my delight was in thy commandments.
132. O look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, * as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name.
133. Order my steps in thy word; * and so shall no wickedness have dominion over me.
134. O deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men; * and so shall I keep thy commandments.
135. Show the light of thy countenance upon thy servant, * and teach me thy statutes.
136. Mine eyes gush out with water, * because men keep not thy law.
RIGHTEOUS art thou, O Lord; * and true are thy judgments.
138. The testimonies that thou hast commanded * are exceeding righteous and true.
139. My zeal hath even consumed me; * because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140. Thy word is tried to the uttermost, * and thy servant loveth it.
141. I am small and of no reputation; * yet do I not forget thy commandments.
142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, * and thy law is the truth.
143. Trouble and heaviness have taken hold upon me; * yet is my delight in thy commandments.
144. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: * O grant me understanding, and I shall live.
I CALL with my whole heart; * hear me, O Lord; I will keep thy statutes.
146. Yea, even unto thee I do call; * help me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
The Third Chapter [Revelation 4:11; 5:13]
WORTHY art thou, Our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for thou didst create all things and by thy will they existed and were created; To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!
The Fourth Antiphon [Adapted from In the Cross of Christ I Glory, 1946]
O holy Jesus, who of thine infinite goodness,
Didst accept the conversion of a sinner on the Cross:
Open thine eyes of mercy upon us,
When in our last hour we turn to thee for pardon and forgiveness.
Renew in us all that is decayed by the fraud and malice of the devil or our own carnal will and frailness.
Consider our contribution and accept our repentance;
And forasmuch as we put our full trust only in thy mercy,
Impute not unto us our former sins, but strengthen us with thy blessed Spirit;
When thou art pleased to take us hence into thy favor,
We beg through thy merits, O Lord, our Saviour and our Redeemer.
The Fifth Prayer [Anglican Prayer, Ninth Hour]
O Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sakes didst tread the paths of death; make known to us the way of life; that as Thou wast reckoned with the transgressors in Thy death, and with the rich in Thy burial, so we, who are dead in trespasses and sins, may be raised up by Thee to the land of true riches; who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The Fifth Antiphon [In the Cross of Christ I Glory, 1946]
O Saviour of the world, who by Thy Cross and precious blood redeemed us;
Save us and help us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord.
The Sixth Prayer [Adapted from Eastern Orthodox Prayer of St. Basil the Great, 4th or 5th C.]
O Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God, who art long-suffering toward our sins, and who hast led us even to the present hour, who didst hang upon the life-giving Tree and didst make a way unto Paradise for the penitent thief, and by death didst destroy death; Cleanse us sinners and unworthy servants, for we have sinned and have dealt iniquitously toward thee. Inasmuch as we have departed from the path of thy righteousness, and have walked after the desires of our own hearts, we are not worthy to lift up our eyes and look upon the heights of heaven; Yet we implore of thy boundless goodness: Spare us, O Lord, according to thy multitude of thy mercies, and save us, for thy holy Name’s sake. Amen.
The Grace (2 Corinthians 13:14)
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ξ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
May the Lord Almighty and merciful, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, vouchsafe to bless us and keep us. Amen.
Here ends Ninth Hour. Go in peace and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The complete text of Ninth Hour and the prayers for First, Third and Sixth Hour, plus Vespers and Compline are found in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Hear Us, O Lord: Daily Prayers for the Laity, which can be purchased on line using the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page. It can also be ordered from bookstores.