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more light #182

Prayer: E.A. Degree

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

Dear Brethren,

Below is something I put together a long time ago, and evidently just filed it away. In sorting out some old files I came across it, and thought you might like to see it. I don’t think that this has been published before.

What follows has to do with the Prayer at Opening the Lodge as well as the first Prayer given and heard in the Entered Apprentice Degree. This information is not esoteric or private, nor are the prayers referred to even though they are part of a degree.

Sometimes a question will come up about where the prayers on the first degree come from. According to Worshipful Brother Robert G. Davis, a past president of the Philalethes society, they came from the same place, or person, and that ‘one’ is - Brother John Pennell.

Brother John Pennell was the Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in the early 18th century. He was also the Editor of the "Irish Book of Constitutions," which was first published at Dublin in 1730. The second edition was published in 1744 and the third in 1751. It is said that the Irish Constitutions was based on "Andersons Constitutions of 1723."

In this "Irish Book of Constitutions" is a two-paragraph prayer. Brother Pennell is not believed to be the one who wrote it, but he is believed to be the first one to publish it. This two-paragraph prayer is, or has become, the Prayer at opening and the first Prayer of the first degree.

The first paragraph of the Prayer begins: Great Architect of the Universe, the giver of all good gifts and Graces. Thou hast promised that 'where two or three are gathered together in Thy name Thou wilt be in the midst of them and bless them. In Thy name we have assembled and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant that the sublime degrees of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us - so harmonize and enrich our hearts with Thine own love and goodness - That the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before Thy throne."

The Second Paragraph of the prayer is: "Vouchsafe Thine aid almighty Father of the universe, to this our present convention; and grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy service and become a true and faithful Brother among us. Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom, that by the secrets of our art, he may be the better enabled to display the beauties of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, to the honor of Thy holy name - Amen"

So when a Mason is in Lodge and hears the opening Prayer given by the Chaplain, or when he is at a First Degree and the Master of the Lodge gives the Prayer as the Entered Apprentice first enters the Lodge, that Mason should know that what he is hearing has been the same Prayer that has been heard by Masons since about 1730.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014