Born to a Christian mother and a Roman pagan father in the 4th century, Augustine of Hippo only committed his life to Christ later in life, after several years of what he would later call ‘debauchery’ in his autobiography,_ Confessions_. Trained since his youth in Greco-Roman rhetoric, he became a highly esteemed teacher, theologian, and bishop that influenced generations of Christians. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, his writings inspired Luther and others to focus on the theme of God’s grace — especially as it related to justification by faith.
This prayer is but one expression of his deep desire to love God with all his heart, soul, and mind. May it also be ours!
Grant me, even me, my dearest Lord, to know you, and love you, and rejoice in you. And, if I cannot do these perfectly in this life, let me at least advance to higher degrees every day, until I can come to do them in perfection. Let the knowledge of you increase in me here, that it may be full hereafter. Let the love of you grow every day more and more here, that it may be perfect hereafter; that my joy may be full in you. I know, O God, that you are a God of truth, O make good your gracious promises to me, that my joy may be full; to your honor and glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Invite God to increase your love and knowledge of him so that you obey him more and more freely and joyfully in the power of his Spirit.
References: Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Volume 1, The Early Church to the Reformation, “Chapter 24: Augustine of Hippo”, Harper One, electronic edition, © 2010.
A Collection of prayers, 4th century
Photo Credit: Thea Hdc