Lord, if you can’t assist our side then please stay out of it and leave the rest to me



Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau

“O Lord God, let me not be disgraced in my old days. Or if Thou wilt not help me, do not help these scoundrels, but leave us to try it ourselves.”

Both the ruler of a principality in Germany and a Generalfeldmarschall in the Prussian Army, Leopold is best known for the above prayer he made before the Battle of Kesselsdorf on 15 December 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession.

Source: The Encyclopaedia Britannica

However, in his 8 volume Life of Frederick the Great, English historian Thomas Carlyle quotes the prayer as follows:

“O, God assist our side: at least, avoid assisting the enemy and leave the rest to me.”

I have also seen it quoted as follows in a book I cannot find in my disorganized library:

On the morning of the Battle of Kesselsdorf, Prince Leopold I was breakfasting with his senior staff. As the dawn fog lifted, the Prince observed numerous bodies of enemy troops facing him. A devout Lutheran, he and his staff officers knelt and Prince Leopold made the following prayer (which I have paraphrased):

“O Lord God, Thou beholds the mighty host arrayed against us this day. Lord, we beseech Thee to side with us in the battle to come. If You cannot side with us on this day of battle, Our Lord God, then we beg Thee to please stay out of it and leave the rest to me. Amen.”