Dean Milner-White authored several collections of prayers and, in my experience, their use in the context of public worship - at the Offices, and at Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, especially - has always greatly enriched and deepened the dignity and character of the extraordinary encounter with God in Christ in prayerful intercession and adoration. Milner-White's words speak engagingly and fervidly and, in the best tradition of the Book of Common Prayer, to heart, mind, and soul, whilst avoiding any hint of sentimentality. As one biographer put it, 'He filled a great need for occasional prayers, and their literary quality is what it is because of their author's deep understanding of Anglican spirituality.'
That spirituality shines brightly in this Lenten prayer, composed at York in 1954, from Milner-White's collection My God, My Glory: Aspirations, Acts and Prayers on the Desire for God.
Lord, bless to me this Lent.
Lord, let me fast most truly and profitably,
by feeding in prayer on thy Spirit:
reveal me to myself
in the light of thy holiness.
Suffer me never to think
that I have knowledge enough to need no teaching,
wisdom enough to need no correction,
talents enough to need no progress,
humility enough to need no repentance,
devotion enough to need no quickening,
strength sufficient without thy Spirit;
lest, standing still, I fall back for evermore.
Shew me the desires that should be disciplined,
and sloths to be slain.
Shew me the omissions to be made up
and the habits to be mended.
And behind these, weaken, humble and annihilate in me
self-will, self-righteousness, self-satisfaction,
self-sufficiency, self-assertion, vainglory.
May my whole effort be to return to thee;
O make it serious and sincere
persevering and fruitful in result,
by the help of thy Holy Spirit
and to thy glory,
my Lord and my God.
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian