Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a clean heart...

Amongst my favorite scripture, this an evening prayer from the Unitarian devotional "Altar at Home"

"Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence ; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted to thee.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
For thou deeirest not sacrifice: else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise.

0 Lord, our Heavenly Father, the day is thine, and the night also thine. The light and the darkness, thou hast created them. They are both alike unto thee, who seest through the thickest shades, and whose care never slumbers nor sleeps; and they both alike unto us reveal thy gracious providence. We would show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.

We thank thee for thy goodness to us during the day that is now past. We thank thee that we have been preserved from its various perils, seen and unseen, and kept in our going out and our coming in: that no calamity has befallen our condition, and no burthen more than we could bear been laid upon our strength. We thank thee for all the instruction we have received, whether through our outward experience or thy good Spirit; for all that we have tasted of thy bounty, and seen of thy truth. We thank thee for every social and domestic comfort that we have enjoyed; for every faithful exercise in which we have been allowed to partake; for every good purpose that t'nou hast strengthened us to fulfil; for whatever blessing has flowed through the senses, or been imparted to the soul. We owe all to thee, on whom we absolutely depend, and in whom alone we truly live.

0 Lord, who searchest the hearts of the children of men, with the acknowledgment 6f thy constant favors it becomes us to mingle the feeling of our sinfulness and ill-desert. We are not worthy of the least of thy mercies, though thou passest before us in innumerable benefits, and carest for us with all this care. May thy goodness lead us to repentance, that we may be ashamed of our unthankfulness, and turn from every thought of disobedience unto thee. Forgive us, we beseech thee, whatever we have done amiss this day, and whatever we have failed to do which thy law within us enjoined.

And now, Searcher of hearts, we would enter into a solemn self-examination. If we have indulged any evil habit or passion, if we have dealt unreasonably with our brother, or lost the control of ourselves, if we have allowed the hours of this opportunity and probation to run to waste, or if we have abused them to any corrupt affection or evil design, we entreat of thee, 0 Father, the pardon of these sins. Create within us clean hearts, and renew a right spirit within us; and let this entreaty fill us with earnest resolutions for the time to come, if we are permitted to see it, that it shall find us more truly inclined to thy will, and walking in thy way.

And now, Lord, we commit ourselves to thee this night. Draw around us with its shadows the peace of thy Spirit, and the strength of thy defence. When we can do nothing for ourselves, do all for us. Before we lose all will of our own in dreams and unconsciousness, we would solemnly renounce every intention of wrong; we would cast out from our hearts every disposition of enmity; we would be of a forgiving spirit; we would have no variance with the world that is soon to become to us for a season as if it were not; we would repose ourselves upon thy sovereign will, even thine only. And when we come to lie down in the last sleep, may thy mercies surround us with their security, and enfold us in their peace, and crown us with the redemption that has been revealed to us by Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Blessings

2 comments:

Kelly WAJ said...

Several of the lines and phrases in this were familiar or striking to me, so I looked them up. You probably already know all this, but for any readers who don't and are interested:

The opening quote ("Create in me" to "thou wilt not despise") is two chunks of Psalm 51 (10-13 & 15-17).

The paragraph that follows is made up largely of phrases from other Psalms (92:2, 74:16, 121:4).

"Searcher of hearts," is used by Paul as a name for God in the letter to the Romans. There are a few other incidents of phrases pulled from the Psalms and other parts of the Tanakh in the rest of the text; I may be missing other allusions to the Christian canon because I don't know the Greek scriptures as well as I know the Hebrew.

boston unitarian said...

Thank you so much Kelly!