Gracious Lord God, at the opening of the first working day of another week, we come to shelter ourselves beneath the covert of Your protecting wings. It is of Your tender mercy—that we now live. It is of Your boundless grace—that we draw near to meet You at Your mercy-seat.
Our little barks are now entering on the troublous waves of the restless world. Grant that Your Holy Spirit may sit at the helm and steer us safely. Allow no adverse current—to divert our heavenward course. Amid storms and shoals, if such imperil us, let not our faith be wrecked, or our souls’ concerns receive any damage. Bring us to its close with garments unspotted, consciences unwounded, and no grace bedimmed.
Strengthen us to take a decided stride towards heaven. And may we allure many into the narrow way of life; and lay up rich stores of experience of Your faithfulness and truth.
Write deeply by Your Spirit’s pen—the lessons of yesterday upon the tablets of our mind. Soften us as yielding wax. Impress on us Your heavenly image. You are the Potter—we are the clay. By Your preached word, mold us and form us into thorough conformity to the likeness of Your dear Son. May our whole aspect show His lovely lineaments. May all who see us take knowledge of us—that we belong to the household of faith, that we are children of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs of Christ. May our citizenship be above. May we breathe the atmosphere of purity and godly love.
Give especial efficacy to all means of grace. Through them keep us Yours forever. We ask great things. We expect great things. We doubt not, that we shall receive great things. We boldly come to You in Christ Jesus. In Him we trust You, without one misgiving doubt. For we hear the proclamation of Your name, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin!” We hear, we believe, we adore!
We venture on You, we venture wholly, we venture fully. We come to our Father’s arms. It is our privilege and our joy to recount all that You are to us—and all that You have done for us. While we strive to conceive Your greatness and Your goodness, we find that Your love excels all knowledge. But we delight to sing, “Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Your faithfulness reaches unto the clouds! Your righteousness is like the great mountains! Your judgments are like the great deep. Who is a God like unto You—who pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage! You do not retain Your anger forever, because You delight in mercy. You will turn again—You will have compassion upon us—You will subdue our iniquities; and will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!”
Tightly clasping these heaven-sent assurances, taking them as our staff and our shield, the light of our countenance, and the very joy of our hearts—we now go forth to our daily duties.
We humbly desire that our contracted hearts may be expanded by Your Spirit—to look beyond our own need, and to embrace in our sympathies, the whole family of mankind. Multitudes throng this earth into whom You have breathed the breath of life. But their souls are dead towards You. They bring no glory to Your great name. The song of heaven swells with no praises from their lips. They wrong You. They defraud You of the service and worship which are so justly due to You.
We are bold and earnest to bring their misery to You, the God of all tender compassion. We name them meekly, knowing that You, the God of the whole earth—are doing right. We know that You are all wisdom—while we by nature grope in blindness. But we trust it is of Your Spirit, that we feel pity for their forlorn and perishing state. Thus we beg You to snatch them as brands from the burning. Raise them to shine above the brightness of the stars, as gems in the mediatorial crown of Jesus!
Bless, O God of love, O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, all Your missionaries who leave our shores. Give life to all our efforts in behalf of heathendom. Prosper all our desires to advance the gospel-truth. Hear all our prayers for those who know You not. Accept these humble supplications and these poor praises. We present them in the all-prevailing name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Gracious Lord God, Your protecting wings have sheltered us during all the perils of this day. For such boundless mercy—we render our united praise. But while we praise, we chide our dull hearts—that they are not one flame of adoring love. We loathe ourselves for all our shortcomings. But no deficiency is more hateful to us than the poverty of our thanksgivings. If angels veil their faces when they stand before You—into what dust of shame should we sink low! But in faith of Your dear Son’s most glorious work for us—we look forward to the days of heaven, when no languor shall oppress, no iniquities shall chill, no thoughts shall stray, no mists of unbelief shall dim our gaze. Our hearts throb for the time when zeal shall never tire. Oh! when shall we see You as You are—and offer the pure hallelujahs of perfect love.
How marvelous is Your loving-kindness, that Your faithful promises should spread such prospects before our longing eyes. We are called to regard heaven as our home forever. We feast on the grand words: “Father, I will that those whom You have given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me. The glory which You gave Me, I have given them. So shall we ever be with the Lord.”
We receive these bright assurances as the stay, the prop, the cheering comfort of our souls. The voyage seems sometimes long. The waves lift up overwhelming heads. The storms are fierce and pitiless. But Christ holds the helm. Your Word secures safe passage. The haven will be surely gained. Free grace bestows on us the mighty pledge. Therefore our vile unworthiness can never hinder. The worthy price of Your dear Son’s blood—has bought these heavenly homes. No worth of ours is needed to fill the scales which hold His merits. We rejoice in the seal of Your Holy Spirit, the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.
You have been with us this day. We know that when You begin a good work—You will perform it. None can stay Your hand, or pluck Your people from You. Repentance is hid from Your eyes. You hate ‘divorce’. Therefore, without one fear, we trust You, that we shall be with You forever.
Grace prevents, and grace will follow. Not one link of the glorious chain of saving grace can ever fail. It is written, “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called, and whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” We read, we believe, we adore!
We cling to these promises—as the anchor of our sin-tossed souls. We rejoice, amid all our unworthiness, in hope of the glory of God. In humble confidence we now commend to You ourselves, and all belonging to us for the hours of approaching darkness. If it be Your blessed will to raise us again from our beds of slumber, may we diligently use the prolonged space to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Eschewing all earthly vanities, may we trim our lamps, and shine as lights in the world. May we live as kings and priests unto You, and to Your glory.
If we see future days, may every step cement us more closely to our beloved Lord Jesus, and render us more conformed to His image. Help us in all things to have a conscience void of offence towards You, and towards all men. May we ever grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We beseech You also to stand by the beds of those on whom death is now placing its icy hand. Oh! that they might be enabled each one to say: “Lord, now let You Your servant depart in peace—for my eyes have seen Your salvation!” May each dying whisper be: “Into Your hands I commend my spirit, for You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth!” May they die, as we hope to die, when our last hour shall come. Thus may the realms of light be peopled, and others in their place spring up to fight the good fight of faith, and to testify for You on earth. Pour down on us and all Your flock, all the blessings sealed to Your people in the everlasting covenant of grace. Hear us, bless us, for Christ’s sake. Amen.