FIRST DAY OF THE YEAR
We are permitted to see the dawn of another year. Gracious Lord God, we assemble to commence it with You. Length of days is no profit to us—except they are passed in Your presence, in Your service, to Your glory. Therefore as a family we bend the knee, and implore, for Christ’s sake, that Your grace may precede and follow us, may guide and sustain us, may sanctify and aid us, through every hour which Your goodness may grant to us.
Grant that we may not be for one moment apart from You. May we set You always before us. Be ever on our right hand—so shall we not be moved. Send Your Holy Spirit to supply our every thought, to speak in our every word, to direct our every step, to act in our every act, to prosper our every work, and to build us up in our most holy faith. May we live each day with eternity extended before our eyes, viewing all things in its mirror, and ever listening for the chariot-wheels of Your returning Son, for the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God.
Teach us ever to bear in mind that we are not our own. The precious blood of Jesus has redeemed us as Your special possession. Your Holy Spirit has called us to Your free yoke. We have been made willing in the day of Your power. Holy vows bind us to Your service. Here again we renew our vows. Here again we consecrate ourselves to You. Here again we present our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice, on Christ our altar.
We profess that it is our one desire to acquaint ourselves with You, to show forth Your praise, to testify our love, to advance Your kingdom. Fervent gratitude constrains us. Standing on the rock of salvation, arrayed in the robes of righteousness, our hearts throb to testify that we are a people who delight to honor You.
Open our eyes to see our appointed work, and with all steadfastness of resolve to do it. May we never be without some definite plan to promote the good of others, and the glory of Your name. Thus may we launch our barks on the unknown waters of this year, with Christ seated at the helm. And may Your Spirit fill the sails with gales which waft towards heaven.
Many are now entering on their last year on earth. It may be so with some or all of us. May we always be ready with our loins tightly girt, and our lamps brightly burning. If our descending Lord shall knock—may we open unto Him immediately. If death shall come—may we have nothing then to do but joyfully to die!
Out of the fullness of our hearts, we would this morning make large intercessions. Where Your Spirit dwells there is vast liberty of soul. We pray, then, for all the tribes of man scattered throughout the world. May this be a year of superabounding blessing to them. Wherever Your sun shall shine—may the Sun of righteousness arise with healing on His wings. Wherever Your dew shall fall—may showers of grace descend. Distribute far and wide—holy missionaries to tell of Jesus, and salvation through His cross. May the bright tidings dispel the night of sin. May Satan flee before the all-conquering Gospel.
Grant that this year may surpass all others in blessings to our own beloved land. We pray for all sorts and conditions in our midst. We remember with earnest cry Your servant whom You have raised to be our Queen. May Your grace ever sanctify her. May Your comforts ever cheer her. May Your wisdom ever teach her. May Your right hand ever uphold her. Be this year, the Counselor in all the councils of the nation. Preside as the Judge in all our courts. Maintain peace and prosperity and happy contentment among all classes. May the whole fabric of society be cemented by one feeling of harmony. May hearts yearn for mutual and unbounded good.
May Your wisdom and knowledge be the stability of our times; and the fear of the Lord our treasure. May righteousness exalt our land, and may all people be constrained to testify that the Lord Almighty is truly with us, and that His glory is great in our midst.
Multiply the triumphs of Your holy Word this year. May multitudes yield to its converting and sanctifying power. Be with Your ministering servants in every sermon and in every visit. Be the teacher in our schools, the healer in our hospitals, and our universal benefactor.
Thus we commend ourselves and all our concerns, and all the world and all its interests—to Your gracious care. Surely You who have not spared Your own Son—but have freely given Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things for time and for eternity. Grant this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.