Almighty God, you have taught us that your
word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Help us, and
all who prayerfully read your word, to deepen our fellowship with
you and with each other through your love. And in so doing may we
come to know you more fully, love you more truly, and follow you
more faithfully in the steps of your son Jesus Christ, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.
The BRF Prayer
This prayer has been a constant companion for me, a true
pilgrim's prayer. It is the prayer of the Bible Reading Fellowship
(BRF), which appears at the beginning of its study notes.
I was encouraged to read them first as a teenager, and much
later was asked if I would write some notes. I am now a trustee.
Having just celebrated the 90th anniversary of this inspiring
ministry, I can see how this prayer has been used by several
generations; I have been praying it daily for 40 years.
It is also a prayer that speaks of a journey rather than a
destination. It suggests the swaying lamp, lighting our path,
dispelling the shadows, inviting us to stop by the wayside, study
the map, and take some refreshment, before we continue our
adventure. It is a prayer for the pilgrim who is invited to step
into the shoes of Christ.
A pilgrim wanders through life, often limping, at times lost,
but always searching - often quite unconsciously - for something or
someone to make sense of life and death. This prayer begins with a
promise of a lamp to light our path. It suggests that we should
invite others to join us, too. We all know how friendships are
deepened with the shared experience of travelling together.
I spent ten years as a chaplain to a high-security prison, which
was quite a journey, and often overwhelmed by darkness. But when
the light of Christ shone, it did so very brightly. Many of the
prisoners would come to the chapel mainly to escape from the
loneliness of their cell, and would find an oasis of peace and a
community of faith searching for hope in despair, and light in
The BRF prayer combines a sentiment from Psalm 119.105, and a
resonance with the prayer of St Richard of Chichester, who faced
hardship as an outcast. The prayer reflects the "stickability"
needed by anyone who seeks to be a true follower of Jesus - another
prayer I often shared in prison.
Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you
have won for us, for all the pains and insults you have borne for
me. Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know you more
clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by
After I shared these prayers with the prisoners, they started
their own prayer groups in their workshops, and every week they
would ask me for people to pray for from the Church on "the
outside". I would offer them a list of those who were ill or facing
challenging moments in their lives. The following week, the
prisoners would want to know the results. It was a journey for
them, from self to others, in the company of Christ.
Knowing God more fully, loving him more truly, and following him
more faithfully are the goals set by this prayer. They are reached
by stepping into the footprints of Jesus Christ, encountering him
through the guiding of the Holy Spirit, and continuing this life of
adventure as a pilgrim in the company of others, thankful for the
sanctity of the present moment.
The Revd Rob Gillion is the Rector of Holy Trinity, Sloane
Street, and St Saviour's, Upper Chelsea, in London.