Cyprian of Carthage was martyred on September 14, 258. For years he had been one of the most influential Christian leaders in the church. And he stands as a notable example of how important African Christians were to the early church. He’s best known for his writings on the nature of the church, which played an important role in the Donatist schism that troubled the church so much in later generations and in shaping the theology of other North African theologians like Augustine.
Today’s prayer is often attributed to Cyprian, and is a prayer for the well-being of those who have been imprisoned and those entrusted with their care.
Most gracious Father, bless with Thy special care all penitentiaries and homes of refuge. Look with pity upon those who are housed there.
Guide and protect those who have returned to the world. Grant all of them true contrition for past sins, and strengthen them in their good resolutions. Lead them along from grace to grace so that by the help of the Holy Ghost they may persevere in the ways of obedience and humility, and in the struggle against evil thoughts and desires.
Grant the Holy Spirit to those engaged in teaching and training them, that they might have a right judgment with respect to those entrusted to them. May they labor for love of Thee with deep humility and singleness of purpose, purity of heart and life, and true zeal for Thy glory and the salvation of souls. Give them faith and love to sustain them in disappointment, love and patience toward those under them, and in Thine own good time crown their work with an eternal recompense.
This we ask in the name of Thine only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.