35. Prayer for true Conversion.
Almighty God, merciful Father! Every day Thy voice calling me to repentance and grace resounds in my ears, encouraging me and all sinful souls unto conversion: Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord, thy God. But alas! I am not sufficient of myself, as of myself to convert myself unto Thee. As little as the Ethiopian can change his skin and as little as the leopard can change its spots, so little can I cease to do evil and do good by my natural powers, inasmuch as the thoughts and intents of my heart are inclined to evil from my youth up continually. Has Thy grace wrought so much in me that I have determined that I will arise and reconcile myself with Thee on account of my sins, and offer unto Thee a broken and contrite heart, yet, alas! Satan, the accursed one, will cast a thousandfold hindrances in the way. My own sinful flesh and blood prevent me, that the good that I will I cannot accomplish, but remain in sin and finally be destroyed therein. Wherefore, Abba, dear Father, I bend and bow my knees in deep humility before Thee, and ask for the sake of Thy infinite mercy: convert me, O Lord, and I shall be converted, help me, and I shall be helped, let Thy grace, my God, not be in vain in me, but as Thou hast given to will, so do Thou also give to accomplish it. Destroy the wantonness of the infernal villain, prevent the suggestions of my perverted heart, that my holy resolution may not be hindered or entirely destroyed. Open my eyes that I may heartily know, painfully lament, and bitterly bewail my sins. Give me a divine sorrow over my transgressions, which will bring repentance unto salvation, which may never be repented of. Do Thou not, O Lord, permit me to be destroyed under the burden of sin, nor to despair with Cain and Judas, but do Thou turn to me, and be merciful unto me, behold my misery and affliction, and forgive all my sins. Show me Thy dear and merciful heart, Father, which desireth not the death of a sinner, but that he may be converted and live; speak gently to my soul, and say that mercy shall go for justice, and that Thou wilt no more remember my transgressions. Show me with the finger of Thy divine grace unto Jesus, the crucified one, how he died for my sins and rose again for my justification. Open to me for a refuge his bloody wounds, in which so many poor sinners have found comfort and salvation. Create also a clean heart within me and renew a right spirit within me; cast me not away from Thy countenance and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me; comfort me again with Thy help, and the joyful Spirit preserve me in a firm resolution to amend my sinful life, and as long as I live to serve Thee in righteousness and holiness, as is pleasing in Thy sight. O Lord, hear me, alas! Lord! be merciful, O Lord! hearken to remember and do what I ask, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen!