“Defend, O Lord, this thy child”
One of the greatest errors of modern Confirmation rites has been to take away the prayer “Defend, O Lord, this thy child” from every single person being confirmed. The bland “Mary, I confirm you” is a travesty of the Sacrament. It is meant to be the invocation of the Holy Ghost on the person kneeling in front of the Bishop, conveyed through the laying on of his hands, in conformity with the example of the Apostles. And it is not as though Anglican Bishops, on the whole, had vast numbers to cope with; certainly no more than they had in earlier missionary dioceses, where the old rite was used over every candidate.
The Confirmation Prayer is one that I use all the time in intercession for everyone, living and departed. If you see me walking the streets of Philadelphia muttering to myself, it does not (yet) mean I have succumbed to senility. If it’s late at night, I am probably reciting Compline (the version in the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book), but at any other time of the day I am probably using the Confirmaton prayer for all the people I want to pray for that day. I recommend it to you. What could be better or more inclusive for the living or departed than this lovely prayer:
“Defend, O Lord, N, thy child, with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever, and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting Kingdom. Amen.”
If you have a dozen or two people you want to pray for, but are not sure what you want to ask God to do for them, just hold them in your love while you pray this prayer for them, and then trust in God to bless them and keep them safe.
If any of you who read this blog are Bishops (which I doubt!), then please swim against the absurd liturgical tide and insist on saying this prayer over and over again as you lay hands on every person being confirmed.