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Prayers

Bless the Lord

O Lord, I bless you, not only for your pardon of those sins I have committed, but also for your goodness in preserving me from those many thousands of other sins I was prone to fall into.

If I could repent to the highest degree, or achieve the holiness of men and angels, it could not make up the damage sin has made upon me.

Who was more plunged into sin than I? Whose diseases were greater than mine? It may be that thousands and thousands of other souls are now taking their place in hell, for less and fewer sins than I have committed.

I do not call upon you to repeal any threat or nullify your word. I do not ask you to become unjust. But your wisdom has found out a way that I may be pardoned and you may be satisfied.

Your overflowing goodness overcomes me. If only I had the hearts of all men and angels to praise you. Amen.

Anthony Burgess (1600-1663) taken from Piercing Heaven, 217.

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Prayers

Make My Heart Good Soil

I know, O Lord, and tremble to think, that three parts of the good seed fell upon bad ground.

Let not my heart be like the highway. Through hardness and want of true understanding it does not receive the seed, so the evil one comes and takes it away.

Let not my heart be like the stony ground, which bears with joy for a time, but falls away as soon as persecution arises for the gospel’s sake.

Let not my heart be like the thorny ground, which chokes the word and makes it altogether unfruitful because of the cares of this world and the deceit of riches.

Let my heart be like the good ground. Help me to hear your word with an honest and good heart. Enable me to understand and keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience, for your glory and my everlasting benefit. Amen.

Lewis Bayly (1575-1631) in Piercing Heaven, 165.

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Prayers Quotes

Day By Day

Day by day, dear Lord,
of Thee three things I pray:
to see Thee more clearly,
to love Thee more dearly,
to follow Thee more nearly.

—Prayer of Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)

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Prayers

A New Year’s Eve Prayer

O eternal God, in these last hours of another year we come before you with our praises, and we would humble ourselves in your sight.

We thank you for our preservation during the year that is gone, and for all your mercies in providence and grace; for all your dealings with us that we knew to be blessings; for all in which you have blessed us, though we did not know it.

We praise you for your chastisements, for our bereavements, for our sicknesses, for our disappointments and trials.

We would also humble ourselves before you, O Lord. We are frail and sinful. We are dust and ashes. We cannot so much as lift up our faces to you, who are the Holy One, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, who inhabits eternity and does not change.

But blessed be your name for that refuge that you have provided from your wrath, for that fountain that you have opened for sin and uncleanness. We flee to our Redeemer to hide us. We rest upon your everlasting covenant with us in Him, and we are safe. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

And as we now lie down at the end of the year, committing ourselves to your protection, so may we lie down in peace at the end of life, knowing whom we have believed, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

—Henry Alford
Adapted from The Year of Prayer (London: Alexander Strahan, 1866), 74–76.

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Prayers Special Observances

A Thanksgiving Prayer

My God, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves Thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before Thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with Thee,
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless Thee for the soul Thou hast created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for Thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love Thee above the powers of language to express,
for what Thou art to Thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

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