Sunday, January 31, 2010

a day worth ten thousand...

This Sabbath morning prayer from the collection, "The Alter at Home: Prayers for the Family and the Closet by Clergymen in and near Boston."  Compiled by Henry A. Miles, it was published by the American Unitarian Association (Google books has the 14th edition, 1866)

"Our Father who art in heaven, again the sun has risen at thy command. Through thine unsleeping providence, refreshed by slumber, we stand upon the threshold of another day,—a day of rest, of meditation, of worship, and of prayer. May it be sanctified in the outward observance, and in spirit, and in truth. Let that holy light, of which the sun shining in the firmament is but a dim symbol, dawn upon our souls, dispelling unhallowed thoughts, revealing thy glorious presence, and leading us onward to that better life upon which, through thy grace, may we enter. May this day, by the use which we make of its opportunities, by the answers of peace which it brings to our prayers, by the cleansing influences which it dispenses, prove a day never to be forgotten, a day worth ten thousand spent in the ways of the world.

0 God, our Maker, who alone canst give us the light we need, unseal our spiritual vision. Make us to discern the greatness which this day commemorates. It speaks of thine abundant mercy ; of that best gift of thine, thy holy child Jesus, who appeared among men in the power of thy Spirit, and in the fulness of thy divinity, and in whom the world saw the glory as of thy only-begotten Son. Glad tidings of great joy he brought from heaven to earth. Teach us the value of those gracious messages, that we may know how to thank thee, and that the hymns and praises that we sing this day may be the prompting and tho tribute of our souls.

0 God, let our faith be not in word only, but in power. May the spirit of thy Son be our spirit, the spring of our conduct, giving us strength to avoid every form of evil, and to cleave, amidst all temptations, to thy law. Thus open to us the gates of righteousness, that we may enter therein and praise the Lord. Then shall we know its priceless worth, when we have once tasted, by personal experience, of the heavenly gift. Then shall we bring no dead offering, but a living sacrifice, and our praises shall rise like incense up to the throne of God, and thou, ever more ready to give than we are to ask, wilt delight to pour down upon us more abundant measures of truth and holiness. So by true spiritual worship, by the private meditations and the public services of this day, may we go from grace to grace, and from strength to strength, until we stand forever in thy presence.

Merciful Father, we mourn that these our best desires are so faint; that we are so fondly attached to the things that perish, to the lust of the eyes and the pride of life; so seldom and so faintly impressed with the guilt of our ingratitude and disobedience, and that we live so willingly without God and a true hope. Increase our sorrow for our unworthiness, and make it that godly sorrow which will quicken us to instant and thorough amendment. Encompass our minds this day with thoughts of heaven. Give thine angels charge concerning us, that our feet may never more stumble, that we may run with patience the race that is set before us, in the straight and narrow way, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. 0 come, thou Spirit of truth, come and take up thine abode evermore in our souls! Be the life of our lives, a fountain springing up within us to everlasting life, that we may never thirst again, and that these waste places, our hearts, may become like the garden of the Lord!

Almighty God, may thy kingdom be advanced in all hearts this day. We pray for our brethren of every order and denomination. Dwell in the midst of all worshipping people. Let not this day be abused into an occasion of selfish indulgence, but may men hearken to the strong cries of their immortal souls, and be fed this day with bread from heaven. May the truth as it is in Jesus be everywhere faithfully proclaimed and received into honest and good minds, where it shall spring up and bring forth the immortal fruits of holy living. Send its blessed consolations into afflicted souls; let it bind up the broken-hearted, and give liberty to the captive. May it be like a sword to pierce the hearts of the thoughtless and rebellious; and let all who profess and call themselves Christians depart from iniquity, and lead godly and peaceable lives, glorifying thy Son, and thee the God and Father of all. To thee shall be the praise for ever and ever. Amen."

Have a blessed Sabbath

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