(John MacDuff, “A Book of Private Prayers” 1890)
My Father in Heaven,
I approach the footstool of Your throne of grace, through the merits and mediation of Him whom You always hear. My best motives are mingled with selfishness; my best actions are marred with defilement. I feel the weakness of my faith, the coldness of my love, and the fitfulness of my holy desires. I cast myself anew on Him who has done all and suffered all and procured all for me!
I have continual need of Your grace, and of the influence of Your Holy Spirit. Protect and preserve me by Your mighty power. If at times I am prone to spiritual declension, reclaim my truant heart from its wanderings. Give me increasing tenderness of conscience, scrupulously avoiding anything that would compromise godly principle, or dim the sanctities of pure thought and holy deed. Enable me to cultivate those elevating virtues which make life truly beautiful. By simplicity of trust, consistency of obedience, and consecration of heart and life–may I ever seek to glorify Your holy name.
Hear and accept my penitential acknowledgment . . .
of sin and unworthiness,
of weakness and infirmity,
of defeat and failure.
Grant me Your upholding, strengthening, sanctifying grace for this day. Let me exercise a habitual jealousy over my words and actions. Purify my motives, elevate my affections. Keep me from dishonoring Your Fatherly goodness, by doing what is inconsistent with Your will. Be . . .
my Protector in danger,
my Counselor in perplexity,
my Light in darkness,
my Comforter in sorrow,
my Guide even unto death.
Bless Your children in affliction. May it be their joy and privilege to pour their sorrows into a Father’s ear. Comfort them as a tender mother comforts her distressed child–and then they shall be truly comforted. Be the rest-giver and the rest-provider for Your weary and heavy-laden children.
Have mercy on the wide family of Your afflicted ones. … May it be theirs to look beyond what is frail and fleeting and transitory–and anticipate the time when every tear-dimmed eye shall wake up amid the brightness and glory of an unsinning, unsorrowing, tearless world!
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