Thursday, April 7, 2005

JOHN BAILLIE'S PRAYERS. A Diary of Private Prayer is, to me, the most stirring collection of heart-felt Christian prayers in publication. There is a prayer for the morning and evening of every day of the month. Even though I have read and prayed these prayers over the past fifteen years, I have not begun to exhaust them. Here is one:

Here am I, O God, of little power and of mean estate, yet lifting up heart and voice to You before whom all created things are as dust and a vapor. You are hidden behind the curtain of sense, incomprehensible in Your greatness, mysterious in Your almighty power; yet here I speak with You familiarly as a child to parent, as friend to friend.

If I could not thus speak to You, then were I indeed without hope in the world. For it is little that I have power to do or to ordain. Not of my own will am I here, not of my own will shall I soon hass hence. Of all that shall come to me this day, very little will be such as I have chosen for myself. It is You, O hidden One, who appoints my lot and determines the bounds of my habitation. It is You who has put power in my hand to do one work and have withheld the skill to do another. It is You who keeps in Your grasp the threads of this day’s life and who alone knows what lies before me to do or to suffer.

But because You are my Father, I am not afraid. Because it is Your own Spirit that stirs within my spirit’s inmost room, I know that all is well. What I desire for myself I cannot attain, but what You desire in me You can attain for me. The good that I would I do not, but the good that You will in me, that You can give me power to do.

Dear Father, take this day’s life into Your own keeping. Control all my thoughts and feelings. Direct all my energies. Instruct my mind. Sustain my will. Take my hands and make them skillful to serve You. Take my feet and make them swift to do Your bidding. Take my eyes and keep them fixed on Your everlasting beauty. Take my mouth and make it eloquent in testimony to Your love. Make this day a day of obedience, a day of spiritual joy and peace. Make this day*s work a little part of the work of the Kingdom of my Lord Christ, in whose name these my prayers are said. Amen.

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