House of Lords Prayers

Who Reads Prayers?

A senior bishop (Lord Spiritual) who sits in the Lords reads the prayers at the beginning of each sitting. The Lords Spiritual arrange amongst themselves for one of their number to be a 'duty bishop' each week whilst the House is sitting. Although the duty bishop is normally not the only Lord Spiritual present in the House during the week, it is his primary responsibility to read prayers. He usually also participates in the other business of the House during his time on duty.

Custom and practice

During prayers the doors and galleries of the House are closed and visitors are excluded. Peers stand for prayers facing the wall behind them. It is thought this practice developed due to the difficulty Members would historically have faced of kneeling to pray while wearing a sword.

Prayers for Parliament (House of Lords)

[Material reproduced from the House of Lords Companion to Standing Orders, 2010]

One of the following Psalms are read:
1, 15, 24, 34 (vv. 1-8), 46, 66 (vv. 1-14, 18), 67, 93, 95 (vv. 1-7), 100, 111, 112 (vv. 1-6), 119 (vv. 33-40), 121, 145 (vv. 1-6 and 21).

Usually then followed by one of the following prayers:

The Lord be with you.
And with thy Spirit.
Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness, We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales and all the Royal Family: Endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, by whom alone Kings reign, and Princes decree justice; and from whom alone cometh all counsel, wisdom, and understanding; we thine unworthy servants, here gathered together in thy Name, do most humbly beseech thee to send down thy Heavenly Wisdom from above, to direct and guide us in all our consultations; and grant that, we having thy fear always before our eyes, and laying aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections, the result of all our counsels may be to the glory of thy blessed Name, the maintenance of true Religion and Justice, the safety, honour, and happiness of the Queen, the publick wealth, peace and tranquillity of the Realm, and the uniting and knitting together of the hearts of all persons and estates within the same, in true Christian Love and Charity one towards another, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy Holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

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