What is a Litany

Description of a litany prayer.

What is a Litany

Litany (Lat. litania, letania, from Gr. lite, prayer or supplication), a well-known and much appreciated form of responsive petition, used in public liturgical services, and in private devotions, for common necessities of the Church, or in calamities—to implore God‘s aid or to appease His just wrath. This form of prayer finds its model in Psalm 135: “Praise the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Praise ye the God of gods… the Lord of lords… Who alone doth great wonders… Who made the heavens”, etc., with the concluding words in each verse, “for his mercy endureth for ever.” Similar is the canticle of praise by the youths in the fiery furnace (Dan., iii, 57-87), with the response, “praise and exalt him above all for ever.”