O God our Father, ever blessed, ever to be adored, the renewed gift of light and life, the restored use of reason and of limb, the recruited faculties of mind and body demand our warmest praise. We bless You that, in the riches of Your love, You condescend to bow down Your ear to our morning offering of thanksgiving.
Send Your Holy Spirit now to kindle anew the flame of gratitude, and to prompt the words of adoration. We ascribe it to undeserved goodness that we have any measure of bodily and mental vigor. Many this morning open their eyes in weakness and in pain, their flesh a burden, and their minds a blank. We are made to differ. Teach us that these our gifts are freely given, and come down from You, the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have—that you did not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. Without Your light—our minds are all darkness. Seeing—we see not. We grope and stumble in the mazy paths of ignorance and error. Without Your regenerating Spirit—our wills are wholly depraved, and resolutely bent to resist the good and to espouse the evil. Without Your distinguishing grace—we would at this moment be afar off from You, vile among the vilest, bond-slaves of the devil, grinding in his mill, earning his wages of eternal woe! Without the visits of Your Spirit our knees would not bow acceptably in prayer, nor our lips gladly utter praise. We ascribe all spiritual blessings to Your sovereign will. You have loved us because You would love. Before we sought You—we were found by You. Before we called—You did answer. Before we knocked—the door was opened. Accept the tribute of our feeble praise. Pity us that our poverty cannot offer more. We groan, being burdened, longing for the perfect day when sin shall no more shackle our adoring spirits.
Let us not withhold praise for the large measure of temporal enjoyments, which gladden our path. We know that we are strangers and pilgrims through a world upset and soiled by sin—but still how much abounds to cheer, to solace, to delight us!
Thanks be to You for the enlivening rays of Your glorious sun, for the starry canopy above our heads at night, for the balmy air which floats around, for the perfume of the summer breeze, for the verdant carpet beneath our feet, for the sweetness of the flowers, the richness of the fruits, the nourishment of the crops, the refreshment of the flowing streams, the melody of the groves. We thank You that such evidences of Your goodness are inscribed upon the face of nature.
We thank You for the roof which spreads its shelter over us, for the table at which we sit to eat, for the beds on which we repose, for our convenient clothing, for our sufficient food, for the happy endearments of family and of kindred and of friendship, and for such employment as You have been pleased to grant. Surely You anoint our heads with oil. Our cups run over.
Teach us, as recipients of such wondrous bounty, freely to dispense. Help us so to order all our matters—that we may have the luxury of relieving the needs of others. Open our eyes to see in every case of poverty and woe—an opportunity of showing that we are followers of You, our most merciful God. Thus may the administration of our earthly good not only supply the needs of the needy—but be abundant also by many thanksgivings unto You.
Grant that earth may be the better this day, because of Your Spirit dwelling in us. Forbid it that we should be called, converted, enlightened, sanctified, saved—for ourselves alone. So bless our godly example, our watchful walk, our holy converse—that vice may be rebuked, and the slothful quickened, and the thoughtless aroused. By the truth of our lips, may the vain-talkers be silenced, and the sceptics convinced of their profanity. May Christ be now and ever so magnified in us—that many may be allured to His cross, and receive Him as all salvation forever.
We crave these blessings not for ourselves only—but for the whole household of faith. Through our united zeal and prayer, may Your great kingdom come. We humbly place our petitions in the hands of Jesus Christ, our Advocate and Mediator. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, in the wisdom of Your tender mercy, You have been pleased to proclaim Yourself as Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! These names are revealed for our peace and joy—that we may acquaint ourselves with You, and find rest unto our souls.
Help us by Your Spirit, entirely to know You according to Your Word. Open widely the eyes of our understanding, that we may fully grasp—the wonders of Your person; the wonders of Your love and grace and power; the wonders which You have already achieved by sin-atoning Your death; the wonders which You are achieving by Your unfailing intercession; the wonders which are yet to come when You shall appear again in power and great glory! Let Your counsels sound sweetly in the ear of our faith, and may we yield humble obedience to Your sacred precepts. To follow You fully is heaven—before heaven is reached!
Pardon us, that with such bright revelations of Yourself in the pages of Scripture—we have been so slow to learn, and so prone to forget. When by this time, we should have climbed the highest heights of spiritual perception. But alas! we are groveling in low depths of ignorance! We are blind—while light shines around! Take away all ‘scales’ from our eyes. Grind to dust—all remnants of the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it our chief joy—to study You, to meditate on You, to gaze on You, to hold communion with You! Enable us to experience that Your flesh is food indeed, and Your blood is drink indeed. May we be—like Mary—sitting meekly at Your feet; like the beloved disciple—leaning on Your breast; like Paul, counting all things as loss, for the excellency of knowing You; like Peter, appealing to You, who knows all things—that we indeed love You. Let not our faith cease from seeking You—until it vanishes in unclouded sight!
Bless the prayers which we this day have prayed, the praises which our lips have offered, and every godly work in which we have striven to advance Your glory. Hear our cry in behalf of all the great societies which You have established in our land, as instruments to extend Your kingdom. Grant that every Bible sent forth may be mighty through Your Spirit to cast out the evil one, to demolish his strongholds, to give the light of life, to reveal Your great salvation, to comfort mourners, to build up Your saints.
Look in mercy on the distressed lands over which darkness and superstition and idolatry spread their withering pall. Bless the holy missionaries who brave all toils, having You, the stirring motive, blazing in their hearts, and Your pure truth the one testimony of their faithful lips. Visit with Your compassion, our deluded fellow-subjects in the sister-island. Deliver them from the deceits of Antichrist. Illumine their hearts, that they may eschew all dangerous deceits, and in pure faith receive You as all their salvation and all their desire. Cause priest-craft, and formality, and every bewitching error, to wither before the brightness of Your rising.
Ride forth, O King of kings, O Lord of lords, conquering and to conquer. From pole to pole, let Your great name be known. Breathe on dry bones—and they shall live. Our hearts and souls yearn for Your glory. Shortly accomplish the number of Your elect. Take to Yourself Your great power and reign. Rebuke the wrongful usurpers. Cause the Father’s glory to be seen in You. Cast not out our evening petition. Answer for Your love’s sake. Amen.