Vol. XXX No. 5 — May 1952

Ten Masonic Prayers

Few heavenly sights are more beautiful than the constellation Lyra, and no star has a brighter blue, a more brilliant twinkle, a greater loveliness than Vega.

The Lyra of the Masonic firmament might easily, then, be prayer, and its Vega the altar at which prayer is offered.

Masonic prayer differs from secular in this: save once only for every brother, it is the lodge which prays, rather than the individual. Men gather around a Masonic altar to offer united and contrite hearts. The brethren’s faiths may be what they may; about the Masonic altar men of every religion pray as one man when in a lodge together; pray with but one thought in all minds . . . the good of their brethren. Surely this is beautiful . . . as beautiful as Lyra, shining gloriously overhead. Surely the altar . . . and there are nearly sixteen thousand of them in this country alone . . . can be the Vega of the Masonic firmament. Even as Vega the bright star gleams brightest in the summer heavens, so shineth the Masonic altar in a world of men, a place of refuge, a focus of unity, a symbol of sacrifice and unselfishness, about which men pray not for themselves but for their fellows.

The prayers which follow are written in devotion, gathered in reverence and presented in humility to those whose Masonic duty it may be to offer petitions to the Great Architect of the Universe.

At Opening

Eternal Father, as the sons of men and Thy children we gather in a House of Light, erected to Thee and dedicated to Thy Holy Name, humbly invoking Thy blessing. Hallow the lodge with Thy Holiness; overcome our evil with Thy goodness; help us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before Thee. Unite our minds to know Thee, our hearts to love Thee, and our hands to serve Thy Holy Will, that we may be worthy workmen on Thy Temple.

Lord, by Thy faithfulness keep us faithful to the vows of chastity and charity we have taken upon the Book of Holy Law at the altar of obligation - let us not fail or forget. Make us men of brotherly love in an un-brotherly world; give us gentle and skillful hands in the practice of relief; lead our minds in the quest of truth - even the truth of Eternal Life in the midst of our fleeting days. Here may youth find Thy consecration, and age Thy consolation.

Merciful God, to all weakness which our brothers bear as a burden from the past, make us merciful; to their faults make us forgiving, as we would be forgiven. Teach us to be gentle in our thoughts, just in our dealings, and generous in our judgments. May the spirit of Masonry dwell in us, casting out all envy, all uncleanness, all unkindness. At the end of the day when our labor is done, admit us into the Great White lodge, in the House Not Made With Hands. Amen.

Joseph Fort Newton

For Any Happiness of Any Brother

When sings the bird at dawn; when springs the sun in brilliance above the sea; when white clouds grace the blue and children wake to laugh and men are joyful, it is because Thou has put beauty and happiness in Thy world.

Tonight we rejoice that our brother has had news which makes his heart to beat high and ours to chorus in response to the blessings that have come to him.

Wherefore, Oh Great Architect, heighten our capacity to enjoy our brother’s joy; take from any heart who may have it any envy of his gladness; teach us that by exulting in his blessings we add greatly to our own.

And for the glimpse of heaven upon earth Thou hast permitted him, accept our humble and our devoted gratitude. Amen.

For a Beginning

(The great man and Mason whose petition this is, wrote it for a New Year. Here “time” and “period” have been substituted for “year” that the prayer may be given for any hope for the future.)

O Thou Ancient of Days, whose years are throughout all generations, how frail we are in a world that was before we were born; how fleeting in a world that will last when we are gone. Nevertheless we are Thine, brought into being by Thy loving kindness for some purpose beyond our fathoming, and Thou does not forsake the work of Thy hands. Therefore we who live in the House of Time lift up our prayer for light and love and life eternal, seeking to know Thee by what we are and what we have in us of the true and everlasting. Waken us to hear in the depths of our own souls Thy voice of gentle stillness telling us that our mortal life has immortal meanings.

Increase our faith as Thou dost increase our years, that the longer we live on the earth the nobler may our service be, the more willing our obedience, the more complete our devotion to Thy will. Grant us to be wiser tomorrow because of the failures of today; more trustful in the future by reason of the doubts that haunted us in the past; more forgiving because we so much need to be forgiven. Quicken our dull hearts to a more lively hope in Thy mercy; sanctify to us whatever may befall of trial or of danger; and grant us to love much, to love all, and most of all to love Thee, our Father and Redeemer.

Mercifully hast Thou brought us to the end of another time, though many who were better than we have fallen into the great white sleep - many of whom we knew and loved. O let us not miss what might be done with the gift of a new time for the service and blessing of our fellows; let us not fail of the beautiful thing that might be made of it. Stir up the gift that is in us; make us wise with insight from on high to discern clearly, to endeavor uprightly, and to endure heroically. If we fail much, may we at least learn humility and penitence, and so have a heart of pity and of hope for others who have failed.

Forgive our misspent days, and help us to begin a new period with a new heart, a new hope, a new courage, and, if it may be, live more nobly, more faithfully, more kindly, more patiently, touched with a higher and holier purpose. And when the thread of our years is broken, when days and works are done, and the house of our dwelling is dissolved in death, O receive us by Thy mercy into the Home of the Soul. Amen.

Joseph Fort Newton

Dedication of Bible for the Altar

Most holy and glorious Lord God, before us upon Thy altar rests the Great Light of Masonry, presented by to this lodge, erected to Thee and to the Holy Sts. John, to be the rule and guide of our faith.

Skilled and reverent workmen have made these pages fair and beautiful, that they may fitly retell the immortal promises herein set forth. Grant Thou to us the insight to look beyond the beauty and beneath the page for the prophecies, the comfort and the commandments Thou hast permitted the sons of men therein to chronicle.

Generations yet unborn will reverence this book. On such as pass through our ceremonies, aided by it to achieve the proud dignity of being a Master Mason, grant also the gift of humility, as they bow the head and bind the knee in token of respect and veneration for this, Thy holy word.

And may this new Great Light upon our altar always be to us a shining light and to Thee a symbol of our gratefully acknowledged dependence upon Thy mercy and Thy will. Amen.

For the Recovery of an Ill Brother

Lord God of Hosts and of Masons, tonight our bread is sorrow and our drink is tears. For Brother has lost his health and lieth upon a bed of weakness and of pain.

Oh, Thou who doth hold the heavens and the earth and all living upon the earth in the strength of Thy bands, take not Thy support from him we love. Make Thy face to shine upon him that he may arise in joy and proclaim that life flowed again into his blood this night.

All men and Masons die - some soon, some late, but all, sometime. But the determination of that time is with Thee. Thy servant Job hath said that there is hope of a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again. Thy servant, our brother, hath been cut down - Oh, Lord God of the Masons, make him to sprout again that his tender branch shall not cease and that he may once more tread these halls with us and give us the benefit of his love and strength and devotion to this, Thy Fraternity.

If it is Thy will, send him back to us again. Amen.

For Funeral or Memorial Service

O God, most mighty and most merciful, we thank Thee that amidst all the labor and the turmoil, the perplexity and the apparent confusion of life Thou hast not left us to wander unguided and alone. Thou hast set up the Ancient Landmarks to guide our course. Thou hast displayed the Great Lights to disclose our path. Thou hast set before us the shining goal of life immortal. Thou art ever with us to guide us in all our goings and to support us with the strength of Thine outstretched hand. Even though we go, as now, through places rough and dark, we are never forgotten nor forsaken. Thy love ever waits to supply our deepest need.

We thank Thee that Thou hast set some of that love in the hearts of men so that the solitary gather in families, friend cleaves to friend, and the tenderness of human affection makes earth a foretaste of heaven.

We thank Thee for the revelations of the deeper meanings of life which show us its oneness and continuity so that we know that here and now we are immortal, that life on earth is but a phase of that abounding and eternal life which we share with Thee.

We thank Thee for our Brother whom Thou gavest to be with us for a season. We thank Thee for our common labors, the aims and purposes we shared together, the ties which bound his soul to ours, the good he did and the service he rendered to us, to all who were dear to him, and to his fellow-men.

Bless to the comfort and the strengthening of our souls the thoughts and the experiences of this hour. May we go from this place with deeper sympathy, warmer love, stronger faith, more earnest purpose, so that we may govern our thoughts, words, and deeds in such wise that when we are summoned hence we may hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things: I make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Amen.

Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

A Shorter Prayer for Funeral or Memorial Service

Almighty and Heavenly Father, infinite in wisdom, mercy and goodness, extend to us the blessings of Thy everlasting grace. Thou alone are a refuge and help in trouble and affliction. In this bereavement we look to Thee for support and consolation. Strengthen our belief that Death hath no power over a faithful and righteous soul. Though the dust returneth to the dust as it was, the spirit returneth unto Thee. As we mourn the departure of a brother beloved from the circle of our fraternity, may we trust that he hath entered into a higher brotherhood, to engage in nobler duties and in heavenly work, to find rest from earthly labor and refreshment from earthly care. May Thy peace abide within us, to keep us from all evil. Make us grateful for present benefits, and crown us with immortal life and honor. And to Thy name shall be all the glory forever. Amen.

Grand Lodge of Alabama

For Dedication of New Temple (or Lodge Room)

Most holy and glorious Grand Artificer of Heaven and Earth, we, Thy Masonic children, here gather happily to offer heartfelt thanks that Thou hast permitted us to see the fruition of this our dear hope - the completion of our new home.

For home is where the heart is, and Masonic hearts cling sweetly to their peaceful halls. Within these walls will new brethren be made and old brethren exult at those makings. Herein will be joyful ceremonies, happy gatherings, contented hours, and fruitful plans will here be made.

We are thankful that Thou gavest us the strength to solve and overcome the difficulties we met in creating this new home. For the joyous cooperation we have experienced from so many, we enshrine gratitude in our hearts. For the opportunities of working together, to a common end, of demonstrating the solidarity of the Mystic Tie and showing forth to a profane world that Masons are indeed builders, we are grateful.

Thou gave to us the blessing of a dream and the strength to make it real; for this richness of spirit we bow in sincere gratefulness. For all Thy mercies, Oh, Great Architect, accept the humble gift of our devotion. Amen.

For the Flag or Any Patriotic Observance

Almighty God, we humbly petition Thee to grant us the gift of understanding of all that this, the symbol of the land Thou hast looked upon with so much divine favor, should mean to us whose heritage it is.

In these the hours of peril to our homes, our liberties, our lives, give us clear sight to see that this flag means infinitely more than land, and opportunity, and civil rights.

Open our minds that into them may flow the consciousness that this flag is the only and the dearest hope of all mankind; that to all men it speaks of honor, and equality, and decent living; that to the oppressed and the downtrodden in a war-torn world it stands for justice and mercy and human kindness; that to the prisoner it offers release; to the suffering, ease; to the hopeless, hope.

Make our hearts pure with the wish to give; the soldier his blood and his life, if needed; the citizen his labor and the product of his labor; the young, their youth; the aged, their wisest counsel; the children, their enthusiasms.

Let us not shrink from sacrifice; let us rather embrace the opportunity to yield more than we can afford for the sake of those who have nothing to afford.

And, of Thy infinite mercy, give us the strength to do those things which must be done that we may stand erect as American Masons with the right to be proud of our flag, because by selfless effort and ceaseless sacrifice we have made it bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, spirit of our spirit. Amen.

For Brotherhood, At Closing

(Poem prayers are sometimes difficult to give with dignity, but here is one which sings itself.)

Eternal Mercy, God of brooding wings,
O Infinite that deigns to finite things,
O Spirit waking spirit answerings,
With us abide.

Behold our burdens, grievous to be borne,
The loneliness that wakes with us at morn,
The longings still by which our souls are tor
At eventide.

For love, for love which Thou alone canst give,
For life, yea, more abundant life, to live,
For grace, as Thou forgivest, to forgive,
We pray, we pray!

For courage where the grim temptation lies,
And faith, lest in the pain of severed ties
The hope that was our fiery pillar dies,
We plead today.

And in the stillness of this holy hour,
Before Thine Altar, listening for Thy voice
Of comfort and command, of love and power,
We ask Thy guidance in each mortal choice.

So, satisfy us, O Thou Glowing Sun,
Arise for us with healing in Thy wings,
Lest life become as night without a dawn
And dreary as a land where no bird sings.


Marie LeNart

The Masonic Service Association of North America