Blessed Jesus, we draw near as a family with this morning’s light—to laud and magnify You, our God and Savior. Help us from on high with Your Holy Spirit—for in Your light alone, can we behold the light of Your countenance; by Your teaching alone, can we know Your precious worth. You must open our eyes to see, our hearts to feel, our lips to praise.
We bless You that You have revealed Jesus unto our hearts. Be it unto us according to all the breadth and length and depth and height of this Your glorious name. We are real and great sinners—may You be a real and great Jesus unto us. Be Jesus unto us—in every moment of the day on which we now are entering, in every circumstance, in our going out and coming in, in our down sitting and uprising, in our study of Your holy Word, in our converse with others, in our closet meditations. Be ever very near. We are blind as to what Your providence may ordain—but we fear no evil if You are our sun, our shield, our stay, our refuge, and our present friend. Be our Jesus in every time of need; when things are adverse, when things are prosperous, when heart and flesh fail, in the hour of closing life, when we stand before the great white throne, and throughout the ages of eternity!
We know that in us, that is, in our flesh—there dwells no good thing. We bewail our many and our mighty sins. We loathe ourselves because of our vileness, our deep and innate corruptions, and the iniquities of our every hour—from the cradle to this time. We lie in dust and ashes before Your awesome majesty! But in all our misery as sinners—we look to You and our hearts fear not. We triumph, and we glory in Your saving name. It is a treasure-house of all riches for us. Out of its fullness may we this day receive. Thus may we advance to the duties which call us, happy and strong in You, and in Your great and wondrous salvation.
Heavenly Father, grant that the sweet savor of our Sabbath privileges may continue with us throughout this day. May our profiting from holy teaching be deep and abiding. May it be seen of all men that we are making sure progress in the narrow way of life.
We are entering anew on our allotted course, grant that we may take each new step in newness of spirit, with hearts entirely weaned from the world, dead to outward enticements, wholly consecrated unto You. We shall have to wrestle not with flesh and blood only—but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Fortify us with the whole armor prepared by Your grace. Garrison our hearts with heavenly aid. Let every inlet of sense be occupied by spiritual guards. Bar the gates of our fortress, that no evil may gain admittance. Keep us as the very apple of Your eye. Keep us as the vine which Your right hand has planted. Keep us by Your mighty power through faith unto eternal life. Lead us as the sheep of Your fold—in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake, making us to feed in green pastures, and to lie down beside still waters. Let Your glory brightly shine before our eyes. May Your glory be the one aim of all our words and works.
Hear us in behalf of all who ministered to Your congregations yesterday. May their own souls be abundantly nourished by the truths which their lips proclaimed. May they precede Your servants as standard-bearers of the Lord. Bless, too, all who publicly worshiped with us in the sanctuary. May we blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe, as we hold out the word of life.
We mutually as a family implore Your most especial blessings on each other. We are brought into this close union by Your good providence; grant that we may be fellow-helpers to each other’s faith, and spur each other to good works, and encourage each other to run with alacrity the heavenward race. May nearness to each other on earth lead to nearness in the eternal home. Smile on the hearty desires of this domestic circle; and bless us now and evermore for Your mercy’s sake in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gracious Lord Jesus, we adore You as truly God—all power is given unto You in heaven and in earth. Almighty Savior, accept the evening sacrifice of Your humble and most unworthy servants. From the throne of Your glory look in tender compassion on Your poor suppliants. You have died—that we may live with You forever. Help us by Your grace—that we may live with You, and to You, during the little speck of our earthly sojourn.
The close of this day reminds us that the time is short, and that the end comes on apace. Grant that we may ever stand with our lamps burning, and our loins girt. When You knock—may we open unto You immediately, and spring forward rejoicingly to welcome Your return. Pour Your Spirit so richly into our hearts, that every day may be as heaven begun—and our last day may, indeed, be heaven attained. We think of death—and we remember judgment. O You who have tasted death—in the hour of our death be with us. Let Your rod and Your staff comfort us. Let the brightness of Your presence dispel all gloom. Extend Your right hand to lead us through the shadowy valley. When heart and flesh fail, be the strength of our heart, and our portion forever. Let Your sweet voice sound sweetly in the ears of faith: “It is I, be not afraid! Fear you not, for I am with you! Be not dismayed for I am your God!”
When our ears close to earthly sounds—may heavenly melody delight us. When eyes grow dim to earth—may they open in perfect clearness on You, the altogether lovely One. Drive Satan far away. Do not allow him to harass or molest us. We are not ignorant of his malice and devices. Great will be his wrath when he sees that his time is short. His last opportunity will be his fiercest. His last darts will be most sharply barbed. We beseech You, by all Your sufferings for us on the accursed tree—spread Your shield around us. We beseech You, by Your agony and bloody sweat—defeat his last efforts, and give us a joyful and abundant entrance into Your heavenly kingdom. If it is Your blessed will, that pains should test these dissolving frames, may lamb-like patience calm our hearts; and may Your supporting arm make us more than conquerors over nature’s last throes.
While the close of this week’s first working day prompts these large desires, the review of it casts us into the lowest depths of shame. While we ask the greatest merecies—we feel that we are not worthy of the least of all Your mercies. Our merited portion is confusion of face. What duties have we left undone! Into what evil have we sadly run! Neglect of due service condemns us. Shortcomings and insufficiencies bear witness to our unprofitableness. Manifold transgressions cry, “Unclean, unclean!” We have had opportunities this day of speaking for You; they were poorly used, or wholly abused, and now they are forever fled. May Your pierced hand take of Your own blood and obliterate the record of this day’s sins. Blot out as a thick cloud our transgressions, and as a cloud our sins. We plead the heaven-sent promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We remember the full price paid by You on the cross; and we exult in the assurance, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Thus trusting in the work of free grace, we retire to seek Your face again on our bedside knees.
We remember, heavenly Father, our wondrous privilege of being called to make intercession for others also. Precepts impel—promises invite—examples give encouragement. We are taught that, “The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” A prayerful Christian is a world-wide blessing. How would this earth blossom and fructify exceedingly, if praying lips gave You no rest. Thus we wrestle with You for all who near and dear to us by ties of kindred, friendship, and social union. Enrich them with all grace. Grant that we may be one in Christ now, and one for evermore. May we together fight the good fight of faith, together lay hold of eternal life, together enter into the joy of our Lord. May Your grace and blessing answer, for the sake of our only Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.