O God of grace,
I bewail my cold,
their poverty adds sin to my sin.
If my hope were in them
I should be undone,
But the worth of Jesus
perfumes my feeble breathings,
and wins their acceptance.
Deepen my contrition of heart,
Confirm my faith in the blood
that washes from all sin.
May I walk lovingly with my great Redeemer.
Flood my soul with true repentance
that my heart may be broken for sin and unto sin.
Let me be as slow to forgive myself
as thou art ready to forgive me.
Gazing on the glories of thy grace
may I be cast into the lowest depths of shame.
and walk with downcast head now thou art pacified towards me.
O my great High Priest,
pour down upon me streams of needful grace,
bless me in all my undertakings,
in every thought of my mind,
every word of my lips,
every step of my feet,
every deed of my hands.
Thou didst live to bless,
die to bless,
rise to bless,
ascend to bless,
take thy throne to bless,
and now thou dost reign to bless.
O give sincerity to my desires,
earnestness to my supplications,
fervour to my love.
(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)
I want to stay forever on your holy hill.
I ask you for the blameless walk
and the right actions
and the heart honesty that will make that happen.
I ask you to keep slander out of my mouth
and evil from my heart
nor betrayal far, far from me.
I ask you for wisdom to shun the vile,
hobnob with the holy,
walk uprightly whichever way the wind blows.
Make me a giver instead of a taker
and a defender--not offender--of the innocent,
knowing that the one who does these things shall never be moved.
Without committing sin,
And let me not one moment stray
From a prayerful mode within.
You can from every sin secure;
I know it is your will
To preserve your servant pure
From every touch of ill.
So, Lord, I bow before you now,
My soul on you depends,
To see me safely, purely through
Until this day shall end.
(based on a Charles Wesley hymn)
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop—
The bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;
I praise Thee for the future crown
And for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love
Which stirred my worldly nest;
And for the stormy clouds which drove
Me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase,
And for the waning joy;
And for this strange, this settled peace
Which nothing can destroy.
(a prayer of Jane Crewdson)
why you utter no answer.
You are yourself the answer.
Before your face questions die away.
What other answer would suffice?
(C. S. Lewis, in his book, Till We Have Faces; illustration is a detail from the book cover)