THURSDAY MORNING.

Almighty Father, without You nothing is strong, nothing is holy. Conscious of our own weakness, trusting only in Your grace and power, we beseech You this day to increase and multiply Your mercy upon us. We are going forth to tread on slippery ground—may You uphold us. Our march is through a land of which Satan is the prince—may You protect us. Snares at each turn await our steps—may You guide us. We look around—and fear. We look up to You—and take courage. By grace alone can we stand. If Your grace should fail us, instantly we fall. Our earnest prayer is, “Hold me up—and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117

We cherish the sweet assurance that according to Your sure promise, You will keep us unto eternal life. Do not allow the strength of assurance to lapse into the weakness of carnal security. To firm faith, add firm confidence. Stir us up to use all diligence to make our calling and election sure. May we never forget that temptations will pursue us to the very gates of heaven. We know that we may run well and run long, and yet by grievous stumbling, bring dishonor to the name of Christ. In Your holy Word You have erected many warning beacons. May we ponder and beware. Many examples are recorded for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Even angels kept not their first estate—but fell from heaven. Our first parents, pure from inward corruption, sinned in paradise. Judas, by the very side of Jesus, nourished thoughts of foulest treachery. Faithful patriarchs have erred through unbelief. The meekest among men have in passion poured out insulting words. Peter boasts in self-confidence and instantly denies his Lord. We read, and flee unto You for support!

Angels indeed are our ministering friends; but still the accursed spirit is ever near to seduce to evil. The new man is raised up in us; but the old nature still lives, is active, and is strong. Rest is indeed prepared for us in heaven—but we may not rest in our way thitherward. The crown of life and victory is bright before us; but now is the struggle, the conflict, and the fight. Bright are the promises to those who overcome; but there is woe to them who draw back. Bravely we must fight, if gloriously we would triumph. We know that You will never desert us; and we look to You to give us grace that we may never desert You.

Strengthen our hands to cleave to You. Give us persevering might, that having done all we may sit down with Jesus in His throne, even as He overcame, and is set down ‘with the Father in His throne.

Thus may we as Christian champions resist the devil, and give him no place. Comfort us with the knowledge that the evil day is very short. Set before us the life of glory, which has no end. May we strive against sin, as if each failure would be eternal woe. Help us to stand firm, knowing that we shall soon tread Satan under our feet. If through shortness of time he is more fierce, through shortness of time may we be more valiant.

Guide us, instruct us, keep us as the apple of Your eye. As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings; so, O Lord, alone—may You lead us. If we are permitted to pass unharmed through all the perils of this day, and to unite again in prayer before Your throne, may we meet to realize that another day’s temptations are behind us; and may abundant praises swell from rejoicing hearts.

Be with all our kindred, all our friends, all who pray for us and all who ask our prayers. We have sought much—may You give more, through the merits of Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

THURSDAY EVENING.

O Lord God, who inhabits the praises of heaven—to You cherubim and seraphim continually fall down and worship. Turn not from us, who meekly desire to intermingle our adoring songs. For all the mercies known and unknown of this departing day we bless You. From Your free bounty they have freely come. You have given Your angels charge concerning us. Evils have been warded off, and in safety we now kneel.

Amazing love! You have sent Your only-begotten Son to suffer in our place, and to achieve complete salvation. You have added Your Holy Spirit to be our teacher, comforter, and sanctifying guide. You have superadded the ministry of angels to be a wall of fire round about us. Thus all heaven serves the welfare of us poor worms. Keep them, we beg You, ever active in our behalf. We know they rejoice when sinners melt in penitence. May they joy rejoice when grace in us expands. They have befriended us in many perils, and snatched our feet from many snares. Never allow them to rest, until the conflict is behind, and we stand a victorious company on salvation’s shore!

Grant that our proneness to all evil, and deadness to all good, and resistance of Your Spirit’s motions, may never provoke You to abandon us. May our hard hearts awaken pity, and not wrath. Let not the enemy through our corruption get any advantage. Let it be seen that heaven is far mightier than hell, and that those who are for us are more than they who are against us. If You but speak the word—we are more than conquerors over every temptation. If You smile graciously on us—we are more than beautified with every grace!

Hear then our wrestling cry. Arise to our help, and enrich us with all the blessings which Your covenant provides. Keep us ever feeding in the pastures which contain strengthening food, and ever drinking of the stream which makes glad the city of God. Especially cause the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly, in all wisdom. May we search the Scriptures, intent on finding Christ, the treasure of treasures, the wisdom of wisdom, enriching to eternity, making wise unto salvation. May we turn every promise and every precept into prayer, knowing that it is easy with You to do exceeding abundantly above all that You have said, and that Your grace can help us to walk in the highest heights of Your commandments.

But, alas! with all these true desires—how often do our weak hearts sin. Grant that in every fall—we may fall lower on our knees, and when we rise—may it be to loftier flights of true devotedness. If for our godly discipline You see well to visit our waywardness with a scourge; enable us meekly to receive correction, to bless Your reproving hand, to discern why the rebuke is sent, to repent and do the first works. Teach us to bless You for every chastening, and let all Your fatherly dealings make us partakers of Your holiness. May our every cross be sanctified. May our every loss be our true gain. May whatever You are pleased to give—be a heavenward help, and whatever You are pleased to deny—be a spiritual advantage. If dark days should be ordered for us, may much affliction be lightened by the joy of the Holy Spirit. Put into our mouths, songs in the night of trial. If any trouble should tempt us to distrust; may we be conscious that this is our infirmity, and may we remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.

Grant that the falling shadows of this evening may remind us that our earthly day is far spent, and that the night comes when no man can work. If we see tomorrow’s dawn, may we arise to gird up the loins of our mind, to quicken our pilgrim steps, to labor in the gospel-vineyard, to leave undone no work to which You are pleased to call us, to use all diligence that we may be found of Christ in peace.

Give us the constant cry, “Lord, what will You have us to do?” Send Your Spirit to beckon us onward in our appointed path. Enable us to view every circumstance in the mirror of eternity. May we go in and out, with the great white throne conspicuously set before our eyes. May remembrance of coming judgment be ever present. Grant that to us—to live may be Christ, so to die shall be gain.

O God of all pitifulness, fulfill the petitions of Your humble servants, through the merits and intercession of Christ Jesus. Amen.