All Saints’ Church Renhold Bedfordshire, England

An Order for Night Prayer (Compline)
Wednesday 10th August 2022

Lesser Festival – Laurence, deacon, martyr. 258


Laurence was martyred at Rome under the persecution of the Emperor Valerian in one of the earliest and most brutal persecutions of the Church.

One of seven deacons at Rome when Sixtus was bishop (257–8), Laurence was responsible for the distribution of charity to the poor and needy. The most reliable account of his death tells of him being beheaded four days after the death of the bishop. The most ‘romantic’ account of his death tells how he was ordered to be roasted over a fire for his response to Emperor Valerian’s demand to be given the treasure of the Church. According to this account, for three days Laurence gathered up all the poor of the city, amongst whom he had previously distributed alms, and declared to those who had come to claim the Church’s money, ‘Here is the treasure of the Church’. This act resulted in his slow death over a fire, a death which according to legend was borne cheerfully, without pain, and resulted in the conversion to Christ of many onlookers.

Whatever form of the legend is true, Laurence was honoured from a very early stage, and quickly became one of the foremost saints of the Roman Church. A chapel was built over his tomb by Constantine and he is regarded as the patron saint of deacons. The more legendary ‘acts’ of his life and death have popularized his memory, and in death he has risen to the position of archdeacon. His legend spread quickly, and he is often depicted in deacon’s apparel bearing silver and gold to distribute to the poor.

Extract from Saints on Earth: A biographical companion to Common Worship by John H Darch and Stuart K Burns


The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.

Our help is in the name of the Lord
who made heaven and earth.

A period of silence for reflection on the past day may follow.

Most merciful God,
we confess to you,
before the whole company of heaven and one another,
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed
and in what we have failed to do.
Forgive us our sins,
heal us by your Spirit
and raise us to new life in Christ. Amen. 

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen. 

The following hymn is said in the form of a prayer.

Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep
Your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Tread underfoot our deadly foe
That we no sinful thought may know.

O Father, that we ask be done
Through Jesus Christ, your only Son;
And Holy Spirit, by whose breath
Our souls are raised to life from death.

Psalm 31 v 1-5, [19-end]

Into your hands I commend my spirit.

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame; 
deliver me in your righteousness.

Incline your ear to me; 
make haste to deliver me.

Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
for you are my rock and my stronghold; 
guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.

Take me out of the net
that they have laid secretly for me, 
for you are my strength.

Into your hands I commend my spirit, 
for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. R

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
which you have laid up for those who fear you; 
which you have prepared in the sight of all
for those who put their trust in you.

You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from those who slander them; 
you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the Lord! 
For he has shown me his steadfast love
when I was as a city besieged.

I had said in my alarm,
‘I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.’ 
Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer
when I cried out to you. R

Love the Lord, all you his servants; 
for the Lord protects the faithful,
but repays to the full the proud.

Be strong and let your heart take courage, 
all you who wait in hope for the Lord.]

Into your hands I commend my spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ,
when scorn and shame besiege us
and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands
and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our Lord and God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Scripture Reading

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.           1 Peter 5.6,7

The following responsory may be said

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

For you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) is said or sung.

Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, 
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

1 Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace: 
your word has been fulfilled.

2 My own eyes have seen the salvation 
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;

3 A light to reveal you to the nations 
and the glory of your people Israel.  Luke 2.29-32

Glory to the Father and to the Son 
and to the Holy Spirit; 
as it was in the beginning is now 
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, 
that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.


Intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered here.

The Collect

Almighty God, who made Laurence a loving servant of your people and a wise steward of the treasures of your Church: fire us with his example to love as he loved and to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Visit this place, O Lord, we pray,
and drive far from it the snares of the enemy;
may your holy angels dwell with us and guard us in peace,
and may your blessing be always upon us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer.

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, the power and the glory,

                    for ever and ever.    Amen.

The Conclusion

In peace we will lie down and sleep;
for you alone, Lord, make us dwell in safety.

Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.

As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.

[Come with the dawning of the day
and make yourself known in the breaking of the bread.]

The Lord Jesus bless us and watch over us, the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious to us, The Lord look kindly upon us and give us his peace. Amen.

© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005
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The Bible readings (other than the psalms) are from The New Revised Standard Version Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Implemented by Simon Kershaw at Crucix.
Implementation copyright © Simon Kershaw, 2002-2021.