Almighty God, we rejoice that thou art light. Of light, thou art the fountain and the centre. God said, Let there be light; and there was light,—himself shone upon the brooding darkness. Shine in our hearts; be the morning of our lives; be the summer of our souls. Jesus Christ thy Son is the Light of the world. As long as he is in the world he is the Light of the world; he abideth with us for ever, therefore are we living in the day of light and in the presence of light: may we answer light by light, and thus may thy creation be full of glory. They that are of the darkness love the things that are evil; may we be children of the morning and not of the night, rejoicing in all things pure, beautiful, true, and lovely. If thou wilt answer this prayer for us at the Cross, we shall know that the blood of Jesus Christ thy Son cleanseth from all sin; we shall know that we have God in us as the light abounds in our whole thought and purpose. Chase away the last shadow; break up the evil empire of night; and bring in the sovereignty of divine effulgence. We bless thee for a religion that is full of light; we thank thee that we are called to fellowship one with another in the full light of day. Thy Church always meets at midday; it is the child of the noon; there is in it no love of darkness, no trace of mystery or secrecy that is corrupt; the Lord help us to realize our call into light, and may we be found in loving obedience serving the altar of the Cross. Amen.
Rev. Joseph Parker
Almighty God, do thou teach us that thou hast thyself appointed the bounds of our habitation. Show us that there is nothing that thou dost not know, and if we be obedient unto thee there is nothing that thou wilt not appoint for us. Thou sayest, this is your house and, this is not your habitation;—this is the way, walk ye in it and, this is not the way, avoid it. May we hear thy voice, and obey it with all diligence and love. Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father; the very hairs of our head are all numbered; he will not suffer any of our steps to slide. Oh, that we had hearkened unto his law and kept all his statutes! Then had we never wandered, but our road had led straight into heaven’s own city. We have done the things we ought not to have done, we have left undone the things we ought to have done; we can but bow our heads and rend our hearts, and cry, God be merciful unto us sinners! Thou hast made all things contribute to our growth, if we so use them; even the devil himself may be made an instrument of God; if we resist the devil he will flee from us; if we answer him in thine own words he cannot return to us with any deadly effect. Thou dost train us by perils, difficulties, trials of every name and every degree; may we not repine, and resent, and moan over these, but accept them as part of our education, as signs of thy providential reign; and may we answer all the appeals of heaven with glowing love, so that thy statutes shall become our songs in the house of our pilgrimage. Thou hast shown some men great and sore affliction; say to them in their heart-break and darkness and blinding sorrow, Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth, and thus may scourging be made a means of grace, may loss be made the beginning of gain. All these things thou wilt teach us in the school of Christ, the blessed Christ, the dying, rising, interceding Christ, who made all things, without whom nothing was made that is made, Lord of all, because Saviour of all, may we find our rest in Christ’s Cross; may we find the answer to sin in the atonement of the Son of God. Without inventions of our own may we accept the sanctuary of thy purpose and sovereignty and love, and be at rest in the heart of Christ. Stop us in all evil ways; may a lion meet us at every turn and affright us until we come back again to the line of duty and righteousness. When the enemy is strong upon us, may thy grace abound over all his pleading. When we are tempted to despair and to say that heaven is empty and God has gone, then shine upon us with a light above the brightness of the sun. Amen.
– The People’s Bible
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Almighty God, do thou send a plentiful rain upon thine inheritance, and make this people rejoice with great joy. Do thou nourish us and comfort us with the bread of heaven, and with all the tender solaces of thine heart. Our life is in thine hand and not in our own, our days thou dost number, and our appointments thou dost make, yea, the day of our birth and the day of our death are both set down in the book which is open before thee. Thou hast assured us of thy presence, if we cry for it mightily through Jesus Christ our Priest and Saviour; for thy presence we do now cry, yea, our whole heart gathers itself up into one vehement desire that we might know where to find thee, that we might come into thy presence, that thou mightest dwell with us, and abide with us, and bear dominion over our whole life. This is our prayer, and to it thou hast but one answer: thy reply is an answer of love, thou wilt not deny the request of the heart that begs thy presence, through all the wondrous ministry of the Cross.
Thou hast kept us and not we ourselves; thou hast lighted our lamp, and the strong wind has not blown it out; thou hast established us in sureness, and behold the storm has vanished and we are still alive. It is because the good hand of the Lord our God is upon us that we are continued unto this day with root unshaken and branch unbroken, and with all the spring light pouring its tender blessing upon us, every beam a prophecy and every ray a blessing. We are in thine house now to eat and to drink according to the abundance of thine own welcome; we bring our hunger and our thirst where they can alone be satisfied. In our Father’s house there is bread enough and to spare, and as for the river of God it is full of water, and if a man drink thereof he shall thirst no more. Whilst we are in thine house may the light fill our life, may the love of the cross burn in our hearts, may the infinite work of thy Son our Saviour disclose unto us all the beauteousness and all the sufficiency which he intended it to disclose. May our hearts glow with a new ardour, may our spirits rise with still higher and purer aspiration, may our heart go out after the Living One in cries of distress and yet of hope, until thou dost come to every heart amongst us, and make it thy chosen dwelling-place.
Few and evil have been the days of thy servants upon the earth, yea, though they be counted as many among men, yet has their number been few in thy sight and evil in our own. Behold we are of yesterday and know nothing, we are afraid of the dust, we tremble before the shadow, we turn away from the stroke of thy rod, and our hearts are melted with fear like water. Do thou therefore visit us in our weakness and come as the physician comes to men that die, and breathe upon us with all gentleness, subduing the wind of thine infinity, breathing upon us thy tender blessing. We are bruised reeds, unfit for music; do thou bind up our wounds and heal us and then breathe into us, and may our answer be one of gentle music. We are as smoking flax, we flicker before thee like a flame and die. O, that thou wouldst breathe upon it, and strengthen the fire by thy breathing, until our whole nature is aflame and aglow with thy presence; then would our life be always in the Sabbath, and our whole hope would be set upon things invisible.
Pity us in our sorrows and distresses, do not mock us in our miscalculations and follies, do not discourage us with bitter taunting from heaven when our own souls misgive us and we are afraid to try the good again; but with all gentleness and comfortableness do thou encourage us once more to do that which is right and to attempt that which is holy, and with every attempt do thou give increase of strength.
The Lord visit us according to the breadth and depth of our painful necessity. What every heart needs thou knowest: the prayer we dare not speak thou hearest; the gentlest knocking at thy door is heard as thunder in thine house. When we seek may we find. Thou knowest what we would be, what we would have, and what we would do, and we lay this before thee in uttered words or in silent desire, and we would desire to say at last, having completed the tale of our want and the prayer of our ignorance, “Nevertheless, not our will but thine be done.” Amen.
– People’s Bible, The – The People’s Bible – Matthew 1-7: Volume 18.
Almighty God, we know that thy word is truth, and that the entrance in of thy word doth give light to every heart. There is no light without thy word, nor is there any truth. We humbly pray thee to send upon us the glory of thy revelation, that seeing the light from heaven we may not mistake the things that are upon the earth. We humbly pray thee to give us a right sense of all the things that are round about us; we mistake the small for the great and the near for the precious, and we know not where we are nor what we look at but as thy spirit dwelleth in us, giving us the right vision and the right sense of all things. Show us the glory of the Lord, so far as our eyes may be able to bear the great light; wherein our vision fails to look upon the glory, show unto our eyes all the goodness of God. Make thy goodness pass before us, thy gentle acts, long-suffering patience, thine all-hopeful love concerning men who have smitten thee in the face, and wounded sorely thy very heart. Thus beholding thy goodness, may we be prepared for the revelation of thy glory, when thou dost call us into the other and higher state.
Thy care of us has been very tender; thou hast dried our tears with a soft hand, thou hast spoken to our hearts in a voice that did not smite them as with thunder, but that fell with the graciousness of the early and the latter rain. Thou hast been mindful of our weakness; wherein thou hast brought thine omnipotence to bear upon our feebleness, thou hast repeated the greatest of thy miracles. Thou hast spread our table in the wilderness, and found water for us in sandy and barren places; thou hast put laughter into our mouth suddenly, when our life was woebegone and the grave was yawning at our feet. Mighty have been our deliverances—thou hast taken the prey from strong hands and thou hast broken down men of great power. Thou hast delivered us and redeemed us and magnified thy name and thy grace in our life, therefore are we here to-day, this Easter morn, with a new hymn and a glowing psalm, yea, with a loud sweet anthem to bless the great and mighty hand of God and the infinite heart of his immeasurable love.
Hear thou the prayer thy servants pray; listen to the sighing of the sad, the wounded spirit; give peace where there has long been unrest or fierce tumult or great dejection; grant a divine deliverance to those who have been long bound in darkness they could not penetrate; and upon us all send some Easter blessing, some resurrectional glance of infinite glory that shall awaken our best hopes and revive our forgotten recollections, and rekindle the enthusiasm of our early love. Thou didst call us out of darkness into thy marvellous light, thou didst give unto our hearts resurrection through the cross and sacrifice of our dearly-beloved and only Saviour. Wherein we have forgotten these marvels of thy grace, do thou now revive their tenderest recollection, so that every heart may bless thee with a new delight, with a high satisfaction, and with an ennobled infinite hope.
We put our lives into thine hands, we would not take care of ourselves, or surely our protection would be vanity. We therefore ask thee to take us, body, soul, and spirit, into thine own keeping: watch the door of our heart, keep the source of our thoughts, and sanctify the very spring of our will and all the actions in which it expresses itself, and may we be found at last, through the blood of the Lamb, without a spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, worthy of his own beauty, worthy of his own comeliness.
The Lord send a light upon his word whensoever we read it, that we may behold its true meaning, and may not fall into the dejection of those who understand nothing but the letter. Show us that the letter is the goblet which holds the wine, and may we drink of the wine of thy wisdom and thy love, and be refreshed and inspired by it every day.
The Lord look upon us at this time of the year, with all the hopefulness of spring breathing around us, with many a sign of returning life. Thou art re-writing thy promises in every opening flower and every promising bud: behold in this revolution of the year do we see the re-writing of some of thy tenderest words. May there be spring in our heart, a vernal breeze in the soul, a gracious and hopeful light shining upon the whole breadth of our life, and in due time may we bring forth fruit unto God which shall please the Most High and gladden him who planted the vine.
We beseech thee to direct us in all the way that we should take, in view of our great responsibilities and opportunities. Enable us to see the measure of our life, and to understand the brevity of our day, and, with all the wakefulness of heart, and industry of hand, and vigilance of mind, may we be about our Father’s business, and be found at last as they that wait for their Lord. Regard the family, spare the father, the mother, and all the children, kindle the fire on the cold day, spread the table to meet returning hunger, and make the bed of the afflicted, and bless its pillow with the touch of thine own hand. Regard those who are engaged in business, and help them to do their work every day with an honourable spirit and a religious pur pose, and may their bread be sweet and satisfying because of the honesty through which it is procured. Bless thy servants in basket and in store, and may there be no reason for bitter anxiety because of the bread that perisheth.
Direct the nation in all the crises of its history, inspire the minds of men by thy Holy Spirit—do thou rule the raging of the seas and make the waters calm; walk thou upon every sea that has been disturbed, and breathe thy blessing upon all thy people. God save the Queen, add many unto the days of her life, establish her throne in righteousness, and clothe her reign with prosperity.
And now let us seek for a blessing coming to every heart, a consciousness of sin forgiven through the blood of the Lamb, and a happy delight in the possession of the Holy Spirit, whose it is to sanctify and to make pure with the holiness of God. Amen.
– People’s Bible, The – The People’s Bible – Matthew 1-7: Volume 18.
Almighty God, we have read of thy care of our life, and without reading it in a book we know it well, for day by day thou art at our right hand, thou dost satisfy our mouth with good things, thou dost renew our youth like the eagle’s, our strength is returned to us after its expenditure, thou dost keep our eyes from tears, our feet from falling, and our soul from death. Thou hast shown unto us great and wonderful things as we have come along the pathway of life; we have begun to pray where we expected to die; thou hast planted a tree beside the bitter lake, and made its waters sweet with the branches thereof; thou hast planted flowers upon the tomb; thou hast dried tears which no human hand of sympathy or tenderness could reach; and, when the grief was keenest and the darkness most burdensome, then was the star the brightest and in the cold wind there were voices of hope.
We bless thee for all thy tender care, thy long-continued patience; thou dost watch over each of us as if he were an only child. Behold there is no measure to the Lord’s mercy, and his compassions fail not. We bless thee for thy great Book, so full of music and truth and beauty; touching us at every point of our life, speaking to us the one word we most need, comforting us with infinite solaces, opening the prospect beyond the horizon of time, and enabling us to see into the rest and the joyous service of heaven.
We give ourselves into thy keeping; we would have no will but thine; we would not attempt to open any door but with thy key. Thou hast been our God and our Helper, and in thy love do we rest as in an inviolable defence. Show us more of thyself; fill our whole life with light, may our eye be single, that our whole body may be lighted with the flame of thy glory. May our whole life, body, soul, and spirit, be a daily sacrifice on the sacred altar; may our whole desire rise up before thee in a solemn and all-believing prayer.
We thank thee for thine house; we bless thee that no storm can overtake us hidden in the sanctuary of God. The Lord’s blessing be in every heart, the Lord’s light shine upon every eye, and, as for our whole life, we open it now and give thee all the hospitality of our love. Come, abide with us, and in the breaking of our bread we shall see great revelations of heaven.
We commend one another to thy tender care. The Lord help every man, woman, child, now bent in prayer. Thou knowest the secret desire of each heart, the solemn purpose of each life thou knowest the sting that pierces the heart, the burden too heavy for mortal strength, the great fear that deepens into dejection, and threatens to become a mortal injury. Thou knowest our family life, our commercial difficulties, and our whole estate is known to thee. The Lord undertake for every one of us according to the heart’s necessity, and multiply unto us his grace, so that beyond all our want there may be an overflow of divine love.
We bless thee again and again, in never-ending hymn and psalm, for the gift of thine only-begotten and well-beloved Sou. We know Jesus Christ, we have heard his words, we have touched the hem of his garment, we have seen the outflowing of his sacred blood; we remember that his cross was set up for us, and in the agony of our contrition he is our only hope. God be merciful unto us sinners: give us assurance of daily pardon, and strengthen our confidence in every divine promise: then shall our life be quiet and bright, and strong and good. Hear us when we sing thy praises, hear the desires we cannot put into words, see the falling of secret tears on account of secret sin, and help us one and all with the unfailing strength of thine infinite grace to live before thee in all faith, in all affection, and in pure desire to know and do thy blessed will. Amen.
– People’s Bible, The – The People’s Bible – Matthew 1-7: Volume 18.
Almighty God, our only confidence is in thee; in ourselves we have no trust, for we have proved ourselves, and know that in us—that is, in our flesh—there is no good thing. But thou wilt accomplish thine own work; we will not interfere with God, or seek to hinder him, or to counsel the omniscient; we will put ourselves into thine hands, saying only, Thy will be done. How thou art to make of us saints in Christ Jesus, we cannot tell; how thou art to work out the miracle of our perfect redemption, we know not: we fall back so much, we are so ignorant, so feeble, so inconstant, we cannot dream how wondrously thou shalt bring on the topstone; but thou wilt surely do so, thy work shall not be surrendered because of want of strength; thou dost not begin except that thou mayest conclude. Inasmuch as thou hast called us thou hast sanctified us: the call is the proof of the redemption; that we are at the altar at all is our confidence and our joy, that we shall ascend, little by little it may be, but with the certainty of thy decree, to all that is meant by heaven. Surely thou hast never forsaken us; we have not had one day’s experience of orphan-hood; we have always known how near thou art and how good; if for a small moment thou didst seem to have forsaken us, we have lost the painful memory in the everlasting kindness with which thou hast gathered us. We will speak aloud of thy goodness; we shall not be ashamed of the Lord’s name; we shall ascribe unto thee honour and power and glory world without end; but, more than this, we shall ascribe to thee the glory of having redeemed us, though our unworthiness is unspeakable. All this thou hast done in thy Son Christ Jesus; without him is not anything done that is done: by him were all things made, and for him and to him shall be their final glory and their eternal praise. Such words thou hast taught us; such thoughts thou hast inspired in our minds; such visions thou hast spread out before our imagination. Enable us to walk according to thy law and commandment: may thy love not be a license to us but a discipline; may the mercy of the Lord not encourage our presumption, but deepen our humility and our thankfulness! Let the Lord’s light be round about us like a blessing and delight. Let the Lord’s grace be in our hearts like the warmth of summer. Amen.