Look Down with Favor

For the next 10 days, we will examine Jane’s second prayer:

“Almighty God! Look down with Mercy on thy Servants here assembled & accept the petitions now offered up unto thee.

Pardon Oh God! the offences of the past day. We are conscious of many frailties; we remember with shame & contrition, many evil Thoughts & neglected duties, & we have perhaps sinned against Thee & against our fellow-creatures in many instances of which we have now no remembrance. Pardon Oh God! whatever thou hast seen amiss in us, & give us a stronger desire of resisting every evil inclination & weakening every habit of sin. Thou knowest the infirmity of our Nature, & the temptations which surround us. Be thou merciful, Oh Heavenly Father! to Creatures so formed & situated.

We bless thee for every comfort of our past and present existence, for our health of Body & of Mind & for every other source of happiness which Thou hast bountifully bestowed on us & with which we close this day, imploring their continuance from Thy Fatherly goodness, with a more grateful sense of them, than they have hitherto excited. May the comforts of every day, be thankfully felt by us, may they prompt a willing obedience of thy Commandments & a benevolent spirit towards every fellow-creature.

Have Mercy Oh Gracious Father! upon all that are now suffering from whatsoever cause, that are in any circumstance of danger or distress. Give them patience under every affliction, strengthen, comfort & relieve them. To Thy Goodness we commend ourselves this night beseeching thy protection of us through its darkness & dangers. We are helpless & dependent; Graciously preserve us. For all whom we love & value, for every Friend & Connection, we equally pray; However divided & far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee, & under thine Eye. May we be equally united in Thy Faith & Fear, in fervent devotion towards Thee, & in Thy merciful Protection this night. Pardon Oh Lord! the imperfections of these our Prayers, & accept them through the mediation of our Blessed Saviour, in whose Holy Words, we further address thee;
Our Father . . . —Jane Austen

In the opening line of her second prayer, Jane asks God to look down with mercy and favor as she and her family gather to pray. Her words and tone convey a strong belief in a loving, personal God who “sits above the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22) and yet is close at hand. She asks God to “look down with Mercy” and “accept the petitions” they offer. Jane’s words paint a picture of a group of children gathering to talk to their father as he comes close to listen.

Jane prayed

Almighty God! Look down with Mercy on thy Servants here assembled & accept the petitions now offered up unto thee.

Do you have a regular routine of daily prayer?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.