There was a prayer for the First Sunday in Lent in Gregory the Great’s 6th Century service book (“sacramentary” or “missal”). However, Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury 1533-55) created a new prayer that was more rooted in the Sunday’s Gospel readings and contained less overtones of a work-based salvation than Gregory’s which concluded speaking of “good works”. Cranmer’s prayer was replaced by this current 1979 version (which carries into the new 2019 BCP), which is a revised version of a prayer by the 19th Century English Anglican Priest and historian William Bright. “It relates closely to the Gospel for all three years [lectionary cycles]- the account of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness- and is particularly fitting as we enter this season of penitence in the preparation for baptism or for the renewal of baptismal vows.”

First Sunday in Lent (BCP 1979)

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be
tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted
by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of
each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through
Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 (Sources: Commentary on the American Prayer Book by Marion Hatchett and the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer)


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