THE WINGS OF PRAYER.
OUR Father, Thy children who know Thee delight themselves in Thy presence. We are never happier than when we are near Thee. We have found a little heaven in prayer. It has eased our load to tell Thee of its weight; it has relieved our wound to tell Thee of its smart; it has restored our spirit to confess to Thee its wanderings. No place like the mercy seat for us.
We thank Thee, Lord, that we have not only found benefit in prayer, but in the answers to it we have been greatly enriched. Thou hast opened Thy hid treasures to the voice of prayer; Thou hast supplied our necessities as soon as ever we have cried unto Thee; yea, we have found it true: “Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
We do bless Thee, Lord, for instituting the blessed ordinance of prayer.
What could we do without it, and we take great shame to ourselves that we should use it so little. We pray that we may be men of prayer, taken up with it, that it may take us up and bear us as on its wings towards heaven.
And now at this hour wilt Thou hear the voice of our supplication. First, we ask at Thy hands, great Father, complete forgiveness for all our trespasses and shortcomings. We hope we can say with truthfulness that we do from our heart forgive all those who have in any way trespassed against us. There lies not in our heart, we hope, a thought of enmity towards any man. However we have been slandered or wronged, we would, with our inmost heart, forgive and forget it all.
We come to Thee and pray that, for Jesus’ sake, and through the virtue of the blood once shed for many for the remission of sins, Thou wouldest give us perfect pardon of every transgression of the past. Blot out, O God, all our sins like a cloud, and let them never be seen again. Grant us also the peace-speaking word of promise applied by the Holy Spirit, that being justified by faith we may have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us be forgiven and know it, and may there remain no lingering question in our heart about our reconciliation with God, but by a firm, full assurance based upon faith in the finished work of Christ, may we stand as forgiven men and women against whom transgression shall be mentioned never again for ever.
And then, Lord, we have another mercy to ask which shall be the burden of our prayer. It is that Thou wouldest help us to live such lives as pardoned men should live. We have but a little time to tarry here, for our life is but a vapor; soon it vanishes away; but we are most anxious that we may spend the time of our sojourning here in holy fear, that grace may be upon us from the commencement of our Christian life even to the earthly close of it.
Lord, Thou knowest there are some that have not yet begun to live for Thee, and the prayer is now offered that they may today be born again.
Others have been long in Thy ways, and are not weary of them. We sometimes wonder that Thou art not weary of us, but assuredly we delight ourselves in the ways of holiness more than ever we did. Oh! that our ways were directed to keep Thy statutes without slip or flaw. We wish we were perfectly obedient in thought, and word, and deed, entirely sanctified. We shall never be satisfied till we wake up in Christ’s likeness, the likeness of perfection itself. Oh! work us to this self same thing, we beseech Thee.
May experience teach us more and more how to avoid occasions of sin.
May we grow more watchful; may we have a greater supremacy over our own spirit; may we be able to control ourselves under all circumstances, and so act that if the Master were to come at any moment we should not be ashamed to give our account into His hands.
Lord, we are not what we want to be. This is our sorrow. Oh! that Thou wouldest, by Thy Spirit, help us in the walks of life to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. As men of business, as work-people, as parents, as children, as servants, as masters, whatever we may be, may we be such that Christ may look upon us with pleasure. May His joy be in us, for then only can our joy be full.
Dear Savior, we are Thy disciples, and Thou art teaching us the art of living; but we are very dull and very slow, and beside, there is such a bias in our corrupt nature, and there are such examples in the world, and the influence of an ungodly generation tells even upon those that know Thee.
O, dear Savior, be not impatient with us, but still school us at Thy feet, till at last we shall have learned some of the sublime lessons of self-sacrifice, of meekness, humility, fervor, boldness, and love which Thy life is fit to teach us. O Lord, we beseech Thee mold us into Thine own image. Let us live in Thee and live like Thee. Let us gaze upon Thy glory till we are transformed by the sight, and become Christ-like among the sons of men.
Lord, hear the confessions of any that have back-slidden, who are rather marring Thine image than perfecting it. Hear the prayers of any that are conscious of great defects during the past. Give them peace of mind by pardon, but give them strength of mind also to keep clear of such mischief in the future. O Lord, we are sighing and crying more and more after Thyself. The more we have of Thee the more we want Thee; the more we grow like Thee; the more we perceive our defects, and the more we pine after a higher standard, to reach even unto perfection’s self.
Oh! help us. Spirit of the living God, continue still to travail in us. Let the groanings that cannot be uttered be still within our Spirit, for these are growing pains, and we shall grow while we can sigh and cry, while we can confess and mourn; yet this is not without a blessed hopefulness that He that hath begun a good work in us will perfect it in the day of Christ.
Bless, we pray Thee, at this time, the entire Church of God in every part of the earth. Prosper the work and service of Christian people, however they endeavor to spread the kingdom of Christ. Convert the heathen; enlighten those that are in any form of error. Bring the entire Church back to the original form of Christianity. Make her first pure, and then she shall be united. O, Savior, let Thy kingdom come. Oh! that Thou wouldest reign, and Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
We pray Thee use every one of us according as we have ability to be used.
Take us, and let no talent lie to canker in the treasure house, but may every pound of Thine be put out in trading for Thee in the blessed market of soul-winning. Oh! give us success. Increase the gifts and graces of those that are saved. Bind us in closer unity to one another than ever. Let peace reign; let holiness adorn us.
Hear us as we pray for all countries, and then for all sorts of men, from the Sovereign on the throne to the peasant in the cottage. Let the benediction of heaven descend on men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.