“DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”
OGOD, let us not be formalists or hypocrites at this time in prayer. We feel how easy it is to bow the head and cover the face, and yet the thoughts may be all astray, and the mind may be wandering hither and thither, so that there shall be no real prayer at all. Come, Holy Spirit, help us to feel that we are in the immediate presence of God; and may this thought lead us to sincere and earnest petitioning.
There are some who know not God; God is not in all their thoughts; they make no reckoning of Thee, Thou glorious One, but do their business and guide their lives as if there was no God in heaven or in earth. Strike them now with a sense of Thy presence. Oh! that Thine eternal power might come before their thoughts, and now may they join with Thy reverent people in approaching Thy mercy seat.
We come for mercy, great God; it must always be our first request, for we have sinned, sinned against a just and holy law of which our conscience approves. We are evil, but Thy law is holy and just and good. We have offended knowingly; we have offended again and again; after being chastened we have still offended, and even those of us who are forgiven, who through Thy rich love have been once for all washed from every stain, yet have we sinned grievously; and we confess it with much shame and bitter self-reproach that we should sin against such tender love, and against the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is in His people; and who checks them and quickens their consciences; so that they sin against light and knowledge when they sin.
Wash us yet again. And when we ask for this washing it is not because, we doubt the efficacy of former cleansing. Then we were washed in blood.
Now, O Savior, repeat upon us what Thou didst to the twelve when Thou didst take a towel and basin and wash their feet. And when that was done Thou didst tell them that he who had been washed had no need save but to wash his feet. After that was done he was clean every whit. Oh! let Thy children be in that condition this morning — clean every whit — and may they know it; and thus being clean may they have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Christ; and may they now come and stand where the cherubim once were, where the glory still shines forth. And may we before a blood-besprinkled mercy seat, ourselves washed and cleansed, pour out our prayers and praises.
As for those that never have been washed, we repeat our prayer for them.
Bring them, oh! bring them at once to a sense of sin. Oh! that we might see them take their first complete washing, and may they become henceforth the blood washed and blood redeemed consecrated ones, belonging forever unto Him who has made them white through His atoning sacrifice.
And, blessed Lord, since Thou dost permit Thy washed ones to come close to Thyself we would approach Thee now with the courage which comes of faith and love, and ask of Thee this thing. Help us to overcome every tendency to evil which is still within us, and enable us to wear armor of such proof that the arrows of the enemy from without may not penetrate it, that we may not be wounded again by sin. Deliver us, we pray Thee, from doubts within and fears without, from depression of spirit, and from the outward assaults of the world. Make us and keep us pure within, and then let our life be conducted with such, holy jealousy and watchfulness that there may be nothing about us that shall bring dishonor to Thy name. May those who most carefully watch us see nothing but what shall adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
Lord help Thy people to be right as parents. May none of us spoil our children; may there be no misconducted families to cry out against us. Help us to be right as masters; may there be no oppression, no hardness and unkindness. Help us to be right as servants; may there be no eye service, no purloining, but may there be everything that adorns the Christian character.
Keep us right as citizens; may we do all we can for our country, and for the times in which we live. Keep us right, we pray Thee, as citizens of the higher country; may we be living for it, to enjoy its privileges, and to bring others within its burgess-ship, that multitudes may be made citizens of Christ through our means. Lord help us to conduct ourselves aright as Church members; may we love our brethren; may we seek their good, their edification, their comfort, their health. And oh! may such of us as are called to preach have grace equal to that responsibility. Lord make every Christian to be clear of the blood of all those round about him. We know that there are some who profess to be Thy people, who do not seem to care one whit about the souls of their fellow men. God forgive this inhumanity to men, this treason to the King of kings. Rouse the Church, we pray Thee, to a tenderness of heart towards those among whom we dwell.
Let all the churches feel that they are ordained to bless their neighbors. Oh! that the Christian Church in England might begin to take upon itself its true burden. Let the Church in London especially, with its mass of poverty and sin round about it, care for the people and love the people; and may all Christians bestir themselves that something may be done for the good of men, and for the glory of God. Lord, do use us for Thy glory. Shine upon us, O Emmanuel, that we may reflect Thy brightness; dwell in us, O Jesus, that out of us may come the power of Thy life. Make Thy Church to work miracles, because the miracle-worker is in the midst of her. Oh! send us times of revival, seasons of great refreshing; and then times of aggression, when the army of the Lord of Hosts shall push its way into the very center of the adversary, and overthrow the foe in the name of the King of kings.
Now forgive Thy servants all that has been amiss, and strengthen in Thy servants all that is good and right. Sanctify us to Thy service, and hold us to it. Comfort us with Thy presence; elevate us into Thy presence. Make us like Thyself; bring us near Thyself, and in all things glorify Thyself in us, whether we live or die.
Bless the poor, remember the needy among Thine own people; help and succor them. Bless the sick, and be very near the dying. The Lord comfort them.
Bless our country, let every mercy rest upon the Sovereign; send peace to disquieted districts; give wisdom to our senators in the making and in the seeing to the keeping of the law. And may Thy kingdom come not here only, but in every land and nation. Lands across the flood remember with the plenitude of Thy grace. Let the whole earth be filled with Thy glory.
We ask it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.