Almighty God, we bless thee for the gift of rest. Enable us to take it as thou dost give it with joyfulness, and may we, as the result of its acceptance, be stronger, and happier, and more useful in the world. Thou dost cause a great sleep to fall upon the life of man, and out of that sleep, as out of a grave, dost thou bring him again, quieted, and rested, and blest. Thou hast also given a rest for the soul, a time of quietness and peace for the mind; may we enjoy it to the full, knowing that tomorrow will bring its toil and its burden, and that soon we shall be in the world again, confused by its manifold tumult. May this be a Sabbath in the soul, a rest in the heart, a benediction pronounced upon the inner life, and under its soothing and healing influence may our best nature rise again to claim thyself, with all the impatience and delight of filial love.
May thy word dwell in our hearts richly; let all the sweetness of its music be heard by the ear of our soul, and may the light, which is above the brightness of the sun, shine upon our entire life and make it beautiful with the beauteousness of heaven. We come to thine house as men flee to a sanctuary, a refuge in the time of peril, a shelter in the great storm, and a place of prospect from which they can see the better time, the brighter morning, the greater land. Disappoint no soul that waits upon thee in trembling, reverent love. Speak large words in reply to our prayer, and while we are yet praying, do thou flood the soul with thy love, and lift us above all that is mean in earth and time.
Thy hand has been put out towards us in great richness of love, thou hast withheld no good thing from us, thou hast spread our table morning, noon, and night, thou hast been round about our dwelling-place as a defense, thou hast kept the storm from destroying us, and thou hast given thine angels charge concerning our life. Therefore do we return to thy holy sanctuary with a new song upon our lips, and a new gladness in our hearts. Meet us, we humbly pray thee, according to the urgency of our need, our pain, and our desire. Where the burden is heavy, thou canst lift it wholly off the trembling and crushed spirit; where it is more needful that it should remain than it should be removed, thou canst give sustaining and comforting grace. Not our will but thine be done, herein. Where the pain is intolerable, sharpening itself into a great fiery agony, the Lord come with heaven’s own balm and save those who are in great distress, lest they be swallowed up of sorrow overmuch. Where our desire is towards the heavens and all heavenly things, becoming a solemn and urgent prayer for the indwelling of the kingdom of Christ in the heart, thou wilt not say No; thine answer shall be a great Yes of acquiescence, and in the heart desiring thy Son there shall be a great light and a peculiar joy.
We would put the remainder of our life into thine hands, we would think nothing, be nothing, do nothing but under the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit. Undertake for us, we humbly pray thee, and send us bread, little or much—light, dull or splendid, and do thou make us contented because it is of thy giving and sending, and may our joy be in thyself and not in the passing circumstances of the dying day. Where any heart is set against thee stonily, with obduracy and obstinacy of feeling, in great rebellion and tumult, the Lord break not such a heart to its destruction, but break it to its healing. And bring in those that are afar off, that they may see thy light and be affrighted and saved by thy grace and thy redemption. And where any are in great fear and distress of mind because of their relation to thyself, send forth the spirit of thy Son into their hearts, the spirit of thy redeeming and sanctifying grace, recall all tender memories and all blessed associations, awaken the feelings that are lying dead, and give to such to know the power of the assurance of faith. Help us all to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Make us true, honourable, sincere, before heaven and earth, enable us to enter into the spirit of thy gospel and to exemplify all its beauty and its tenderness. Save us from the poverty of the letter which killed, and lead us into the spirit which giveth life, and may all our conduct be attuned by thy Spirit and lifted up by thy grace, and may it become a great light shining afar to the guidance of any who are in doubt and fear.
The Lord pardon our sins, and delight in doing it; the Lord repeat his miracle of grace in our life every day. We say this in the name of Jesus, our Priest, our Intercessor, the Daysman between thyself and us. Thou hearest him always, thy delight is to look upon his face, and to consider what he has done. Behold our shield and look upon the face of thine anointed, and from the inner and hidden sanctuary send us forgiveness and bless us with all spiritual help. Disappoint the bad man in all his evil counsels; cause him to forget himself, and strike him dumb when he would speak forbidden words.
The Lord help every honest and good man to do good whilst his little day lasts, and may we all be found in the end good and faithful servants, inspired by thy spirit, upheld by thy grace, made strong by thy truth, rejoicing in the assurance that the life spent in thy service will be crowned with heaven in thy presence. Amen.