Worship at the Abbey

As the nation’s church and place of national memorial, there are some prayers we use daily at our services.

A Prayer for the Monarch and the Royal Family

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness,
we humbly beseech thee to bless our most gracious Sovereign Lady,
Queen Elizabeth,
Philip Duke of Edinburgh,
Charles Prince of Wales,
and all the Royal Family:
endue them with thy Holy Spirit;
enrich them with thy heavenly grace;
prosper them with all happiness;
and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


A Prayer for Parliament

Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and her
government, to Members of Parliament, and all in positions
of responsibility, the guidance of thy Spirit. May they never lead the nation
wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but
laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their
responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind; so may thy
kingdom come and thy name be hallowed.


At this time we will also be praying in the midst of this national crisis for the NHS, medical researchers and those who are unwell:

A Prayer for the National Health Service

O LORD Jesus Christ, who wentest about doing good and healing all manner of sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to all thy ministering servants, our physicians, surgeons, and nurses; that, always bearing thy presence with them, they may not only heal but bless, and shine as lamps of hope in the darkest hours of distress and fear; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost ever, one God world without end.


A Prayer for medical researchers

Almighty God, Who art the Father of truth and understanding: shed forth, we beseech Thee, upon those who are engaged in medical research the light of Thy heavenly guidance; grant unto them the spirit of patient discernment, that they may be skilled to discover the way of health and healing; and strengthen them with the assurance that they are fellow-workers together with Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


A Prayer for someone who is unwell

O GOD, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to thy servant the help of thy power; that his/her sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Then, we have an inheritance here, a tradition we can call on. We recall the Benedictine community for which the Abbey was built, with the following prayer of St Benedict:

O gracious and Holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive thee,
intelligence to understand thee,
diligence to seek thee,
patience to wait for thee,
eyes to behold thee,
a heart to meditate upon thee, and
a life to proclaim thee; through
the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.


In the north ambulatory of the Abbey is a modern statue of the Virgin and Child, which replaced the medieval image destroyed in the 16th Century, known as ‘Our Lady of Pew’. It is thought to be the place where King Richard II declared England to be ‘Our Lady’s dowry’, placing this country into Mary’s hands as an offering to the Bridegroom, who is Christ.  The following prayer is sometimes used at the Image, as an act of self-offering.

Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of life,
who didst overshadow Mary that she might become 
the Mother of Jesus our Saviour; 
do thou likewise work silently in my heart 
to form within me the fullness of his redeemed 
and redeeming humanity; 
give me a share in his loving heart to burn with love 
for God and for people; 
give me a share in his joy and his sorrow, 
his weakness and his strength, 
his labour for the world’s salvation. 
And may Mary, blessed among women, 
Mother of our Saviour, pray for me: 
that Christ may be formed in me; 
that I may live in union of heart and will 
with Jesus Christ, her Son, 
our Lord and Saviour.   


The following Litany is being used regularly in the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor:

Let us bless the Lord for Edward the Confessor, King of England, humble and generous servant of Christ, whose name we honour;
For his establishing here, in the heart of this nation, a great Abbey Church to the glory of God, let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

For his defence of the peace and security of his people, let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

For his good and wise stewardship of the wealth of this realm, let us bless the Lord:  
Thanks be to God. 

For his healing of the sick and his care for the poor, let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

For his holy life and his confession of the Faith in word and deed, let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

Let us pray for our Sovereign, for the world, for the Church, for ourselves and one another, joining with the prayers of St Edward
That Elizabeth our Queen may be endued with the Holy Spirit, and enriched with all heavenly grace and happiness:
Holy Edward: pray for us.

That the nations of the world may live together in peace; that our leaders may care for the earth’s resources and seek justice and freedom for all:
Holy Edward: pray for us. 

That the Church may be delivered from all conflict and division; that it may keep the faith in the unity of the Spirit.
Holy Edward: pray for us. 

That we and all pilgrims who visit this place may know it to be none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven:
Holy Edward: pray for us. 

That all those we love, and especially any in need, pain, or sorrow, may be assured of the peace of God which passes all understanding:
Holy Edward: pray for us.

That we and our loved ones who have gone before us may come to share in the heavenly banquet, to feast with you and all God’s saints for ever:
Holy Edward: pray for us.

Finally, here are two prayers by a former Dean of Westminster, Lancelot Andrewes:

Be, Lord, within me to strengthen me,
without me to preserve,
over me to shelter,
beneath me to support,
before me to direct,
behind me to bring back,
round about me to fortify.

O Lord,
you bring forth the night 
and create the morning,
you cause the sun to rise
on the good and on the evil.
Enlighten the blindness of our minds
with the knowledge of your truth.
Let the light of your face shine on us
that in your light we may see light
and at last, the light of grace in your glory.

The Choir of Westminster Abbey perform in a concert

Sacred music

Music is an important part of worship at the Abbey. You can hear the Choir of Westminster Abbey and our internationally acclaimed organists in many of our services.

Our music
Statue of Our Lady of Pew on a stone altar with a small candle on each side

The Society of Our Lady of Pew

The Society of Our Lady of Pew venerates the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, and regularly holds Mass and retreats in the Abbey.

Find out more


Carved from lime wood in Oberammergau, our nativity scene shows the Holy Family, shepherds, kings and animals.

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