Give ear, O ever-watchful Shepherd of Your flock—lead us, guide us, safely tend us this day. Without Your restraining rod—we shall err and stray like lost sheep. Hedge up our paths, lest we be misled into the unwholesome pastures of the world, and drink of its poisonous streams. Direct our feet, lest we be entangled by some secret snare of the devil, or stumble into his hidden pitfalls. Encircle Your fold by Your protecting power, that the roaring lion may not devour, nor any cruel foe assail. Remember Your ransomed flock. Protect, preserve it as the purchase of Your dear Son’s blood.
O Lord, we beseech You now to defend us, not only from outward adversaries—but especially from ourselves! We have foes which cleave closer to us than our very skin. We cannot escape them. Help us to elude their enticing wiles. In public and in private, when we come in or go out, whether we rise up or sit down—they cling to our side. Deliver us from their constant baits and traps. The old man yet lives within us and is powerful. Help us to nail him to the cross of Jesus. We earnestly desire to put him off with all his foul deeds, and to put on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness. If You speak the word—the victory is ours!
But our own strength is less than weak. In our flesh there dwells no good thing—it is the vile abode of every corrupt desire. It is the den in which all vile passions lurk. It lusts against the Spirit. Left to ourselves, we fall. But Your Spirit is omnipotent. Oh! then, bid Your Spirit to arise in all His might, and crush indwelling opponents!
How often do we mourn that, when we would do good, evil is present with us. The good that we would do—we cannot do; the evil that we would not do—that we do. We look to You to deliver us from the body of this death. Strengthen us with heavenly aid in the inner man, lest we faint and be weary in the conflict—and yield to our bosom-foes. The enemy is within the citadel! Come with Your almighty power and subdue him. Enable us, therefore, by Your Spirit, to mortify all the deeds of the body. Those who are Christ’s, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.
O Jesus, we are Yours! Other lords have had dominion over us—but now we are Your willing servants. Come, then, O You who are our Lord, pierce to the death—utterly destroy—abolish in us every particle of carnal self!
O You whom our souls love, we are grieved that Your enemies so widely rule below. We regard Your foes as our foes—Your victories as our victories—Your triumphs as our triumphs—Your glory as our glory. When will Your presence regenerate the earth? When will Your reign of righteousness and purity and peace be established? When will evil vanish before Your bright beams? When will Your descending chariot drive Satan into blackness of darkness forever? We love Your appearing, and we cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!”
But while You are pleased to delay, infuse life into every effort to extinguish vice. Fill with Your Spirit all who sit on thrones of supremacy and might. May they reign as they who own Your higher reign. May they wear the crown as they who seek the crown eternal. Especially bless the Queen who is called in Your good providence to wield the scepter of these realms. Grant to her, and her fellow-potentates, that out of godly hearts they may devise godly measures. Grant also, to all who exercise subordinate authority that their desires may be righteous; their counsels wise; their aims sincere. May they seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and thus obtain all other things.
Teach us to yield obedience to them, as to Your appointed ministers. In thrones and principalities may we see Your ordinance for our good. May we show all godly submission, as instructed in Your Word. Thus may our lives be quiet and peaceable in all godliness and honesty. You who hear prayer, hear us, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
God Almighty, heavenly Father, at the close of this day multitudes surround Your throne with praises on their lips. None can have cause to exceed us in thanksgiving. Grant that no grateful fervor may surpass our adoring warmth.
Your eye of love has never failed to watch us. But our eyes have turned from You, to countless vanities. We smite upon our breasts before You, and bewail our waywardness and folly. Your gracious hand has ever been extended to preserve us. It is through Your protecting care alone, that we now kneel in safety in Your presence. Every moment, streams of mercy have flowed from heaven. We confess with shame and contrition, that we are not worthy of the least of all the mercies and all the grace which You have granted to us. If our hearts should burn in one bright flame of love—if our lips should utter no sound but glowing praise—if our lives should be one incense of thanksgiving—it would fall short of our vast debt to You!
We pray this night for large outpourings of Your Spirit to kindle worthy love, and to awaken adequate returns of praise. If You should permit us, in the plenitude of Your goodness, to see other days, we pray that they may be passed in closer nearness to You, and deeper devotedness to Your service. May Your glory be the aim and end of every thought and word and work. At every moment let our inward cry be heard, “Lord, what will You have us to do?”
Send Your Holy Spirit to reveal to us Your will. May His voice be heard, “This is the way, walk in it,” when we would turn to the right hand or to the left. Through the riches of Your saving grace we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, as the way, the truth, and the life. Help us that we may evermore walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith as we have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
We know that we have no power of ourselves, to keep ourselves. Our best strength, is utter weakness. Our firmest resolves, are as fleeting as the morning cloud and early dew. Oh! then never leave us nor forsake us. Perfect that which concerns our souls. You have begun in us the good work of faith. Mightily carry it on, that we may be pure and blameless in the great day of Christ.
As children of light and of the day, may we not sleep as do others—but may we be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
At the end of another day’s march, we humbly wash anew in the all-cleansing blood. Thus we retire to our beds in happy assurance that You no more see in us the spots, the soils, the filth of former iniquities. We retire, too, remembering that another stage in our brief pilgrimage is passed, and that our opportunities of doing good on earth are rapidly fading away. Yet a little while and we go hence, no more to be seen among the children of men. Help us that we may gird up the loins of our minds, and quicken our steps, and speed as if each moment was our last. Give us grace to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor shall not be in vain in the Lord.
May our sleep remind us of the sleep of death; our beds of the graves which must so soon receive us. While we live may we live unto the Lord; when we die, may we die unto the Lord. Thus may our lives be happiness, and our deaths glory. Who are we that we should ask such things? We know and we deplore our miserable unworthiness. Our only hope is in Your love, in Jesus Christ our complete Redeemer and our all-prevailing Advocate. In His mighty name we thus address You. Hear and answer, for His sake. Amen.