This prayer is an excellent outline for individual prayer and meditation, as well as a wonderful resource for family devotions at home.
The Litany is a responsive prayer of the church, penitential in character and not focused upon the individual praying, but instead focusing on all mankind’s need for divine intervention and compassion. It is one of the most ancient of rites of the church. It could be called “The People’s Prayer”. When compared to the TeDeum which declares the glory of God, the Litany confesses the depths of our common humanity.
Blessed Dr. Martin Luther regarded the Litany as “next to the holy Lord’s Prayer the very best that has come to earth.” Luther revised and lengthened the Litany as he found it in the Roman Church of his day (1529). He very carefully and studiously retained his respect for the Litany as it was handed down to him from it’s earliest days in the Early Church. His version is clearly evangelical in spirit, churchly and not sentimental. Luther’s version of the Litany clearly influenced Thomas Cranmer’s “Book of Common Prayer” and his version of the Litany therein (1544).