Saint James the Apostle (detail), by Jaime Baço, ca. 1450.
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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer at the End of the Day
My Lord, I thank you for having given me life, and for having made me to know, love, and serve you all the days of my life and for eternity. I thank you for my faith and for the work and pleasure in the day that I am completing. I beg your pardon for my offenses and omissions of the day,
and resolve to make tomorrow a better day. Be with me as I live out the rest of my day. May I do so in your holy grace and good favor.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Prayer for Physical Renewal
Lord, I come before you today in need of your healing hand. In you, all things are possible. Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body, and soul.
I am lost, but I am singing. You gave me life, and you also give me the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you’ve laid out for me. Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify those you’ve placed around me to help me get better. In your name I pray,
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
Fix It Jesus, by The Canton Spirituals, is a long, hypnotic prayer set to music. It is a form of worship often seen in African-American services, reminiscent of James Brown, Hindu worship, and Gregorian chant; just let the testimony sink in and carry you along.
If all were easy, if all were bright,
Where would the cross be? Where would the fight?
But in the testings God gives to you,
Chances for proving what He can do.
~ from the hymn Keep on Believing.
Acts 12:1-5 (ESV)
The Martyrdom of James
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.
And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Notes on the Scripture
e have a pretty good idea of when James was killed: 44 A.D. The Herod then in power in Jerusalem was neither the Herod (Herod the Great) who massacred the innocent Hebrew children nor his son (Herod Antipas), who beheaded John the Baptist and ruled during the crucifixion; this one was named Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great.
Like his father and grandfather, he was a “client king” of Rome, which signified a tad more autonomy than what we would call a “puppet”; but he ruled only with Rome’s approval. There were Herods galore during this period; it isn’t really necessary to keep them straight, as they were all Jewish kings, clients of Rome, and viciously anti-Christian.
Herod Agrippa, from the tv show I, Claudius.
Herod Agrippa was as ruthless as his predecessors and did not have the religious scruples of the Sanhedrin (although he was supportive of them). If he did not like someone, he killed them. He simply ordered James to put to death by the sword—probably beheaded. James, here, is James “the Greater,” the son of Zebedee and the Apostle John’s elder brother.
In today’s Scripture, James becomes the first apostle to be martyred, and he is one of the most celebrated saints because of it. He was known to have a fiery temper; he was called “the son of Thunder,” and it might be this trait that got him killed so early. Other historical sources state that James traveled to Iberia (which was a major stop on Phoenician trade routes) before he returned to Jerusalem and death. He is the patron saint of both Spain and pilgrims.
An enormous body of folklore grew up around him. His body was supposedly transported to Santiago de Compostela by angels, and it is his remains in the Cathedral which make it the highly significant end-point of the famous pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago. (Sant Iago is Galician for “Saint James.”) Notice the scallop shells on his hat in the top graphic. These are his symbol (and the symbol of the Camino); he reportedly appeared, miraculously, to save a holy knight who was drowning, but emerged from the ocean covered in scallops. (The French dish, coquilles St. Jacques, is named for this miracle.)
In both today’s paintings of him, he is pictured wearing the cloak of a pilgrim, with a pilgrim’s hat and staff. This honors the long journey of his remarkable mission, so early in the Apostolic age.