TO THE KING ETERNAL.
OUR God and Father, draw us to Thyself by Thy Spirit, and may the few minutes that we spend in prayer be full of the true spirit of supplication.
Grant that none of us with closed eyes may yet be looking abroad over the fields of vanity, but may our eyes be really shut to everything else now but that which is spiritual and Divine. May we have communion with God in the secret of our hearts, and find Him to be to us as a little sanctuary.
O Lord, we do not find it easy to get rid of distracting thoughts, but we pray Thee help us to draw the sword against them and drive them away, and as when the birds came down upon his sacrifice Abraham drove them away, so may we chase away all cares, all thoughts of pleasure, everything else, whether it be pleasing or painful, that would keep us away from real fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
We would begin with adoration. We worship from our hearts the Three in One, the infinitely glorious Jehovah, the only living and true God. We adore the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. We are not yet ascended to the place where pure spirits behold the face of God, but we shall soon be there, perhaps much sooner than we think, and we would be there in spirit now, casting our crowns upon the glassy sea before the throne of the Infinite Majesty, and ascribing glory and honor, and power and praise, and dominion and might to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
All the Church doth worship Thee, O God, every heart renewed by grace takes a delight in adoring Thee, and we, among the rest, though least and meanest of them all, yet would bow as heartily as any worshipping, loving, praising, in our soul, being silent unto God because our joy in Him is altogether inexpressible.
Lord, help us to worship Thee in life as well as lip. May our whole being be taken up with Thee. As when the fire fell down on Elijah’s sacrifice of old and licked up even the water that was in the trenches, so may the consuming fire of the Divine Spirit use up all our nature, and even that which might seem to hinder, even out of that may God get glory by the removal of it. Thus would we adore.
But, oh! dear Savior, we come to Thee, and we remember what our state is, and the condition we are in encourages us to come to Thee now as beggars, as dependents upon Thy heavenly charity. Thou art a Savior, and as such Thou art on the outlook for those that need saving, and here we are, here we come. We are the men and women Thou art looking for, needing a Savior.
Great Physician, we bring Thee our wounds and bruises and putrifying sores, and the more diseased we are and the more conscious we are to-day of the depravity of our nature, of the deep-seated corruption of our hearts, the more we feel that we are the sort of beings that Thou art seeking for, for the whole have no need of a physician but they that are sick.
Glorious Benefactor, we can meet Thee on good terms, for we are full of poverty, we are just as empty as we can be. We could not be more abjectly dependent than we are. Since Thou wouldest display Thy mercy here is our sin; since Thou wouldest show Thy strength here is our weakness; since Thou wouldest manifest Thy lovingkindness here are our needs; since Thou wouldest glorify Thy grace here are we, such persons as can never have a shadow of a hope except through Thy grace, for we are undeserving, illdeserving, hell-deserving, and if Thou do not magnify Thy grace in us we must perish for ever.
And somehow we feel it sweet to come to Thee in this way. If we had to tell Thee that we had some good thing in us which Thou didst require of us, we should be questioning whether we were not flattering ourselves and presumptuously thinking that we were better than we are. Lord Jesus, we come just as we are; this is how we came at first, and this is how we come still, with all our failures, with all our transgressions, with all and everything that is what it ought not to be we come to Thee. We do bless Thee that Thou dost receive us and our wounds, and by Thy stripes we are healed; Thou dost receive us and our sins, and by Thy sin-bearing we are set clear and free from sin. Thou dost receive us and our death, even our death, for Thou art He that liveth and was dead, and art alive for evermore.
We just come and lie at Thy feet, obedient to that call of Thine, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and I will give you rest.” Let us feel sweet rest, since we do come at Thy call. May some come that have never come till this day, and may others who have been coming these many years consciously come again, coming unto Thee as unto a living stone, chosen of God and precious, to build our everlasting hopes upon.
But, Lord, now that we are come so near Thee, and on right terms with Thee, we venture to ask Thee this, that we that love Thee may love Thee very much more. Oh! since Thou hast been precious, Thy very name has music in it to our ears, and there are times when Thy love is so inexpressibly strong upon us that we are carried away with it. We have felt that we would gladly die to increase Thine honor. We have been willing to lose our name and our repute if so be Thou mightest be glorified, and truly we often feel that if the crushing of us would lift Thee one inch the higher, we would gladly suffer it.
For oh! Thou blessed King, we would set the crown on Thy head, even if the sword should smite our arm off at the shoulder blade. Thou must be King whatever becomes of us; Thou must be glorified whatever becomes of us.
But yet we have to mourn that we cannot get always to feel as we should this rapture and ardor of love. Oh! at times Thou dost manifest Thyself to us so charmingly that heaven itself could scarce be happier than the world becomes when Thou art with us in it. But when Thou art gone and we are in the dark, oh! give us the love that loves in the dark, that loves when there is no comfortable sense of Thy presence. Let us not be dependent upon feeling, but may we ever love Thee, so that if Thou didst turn Thy back on us by the year together we would think none the less of Thee, for Thou art unspeakably to be beloved whatsoever Thou doest, and if Thou dost give us rough words, yet still we would cling to Thee, and if the rod be used till we tingle again, yet still will we love Thee, for Thou art infinitely to ‘be beloved of’ all men and angels, and Thy Father loved Thee.
Make our hearts to love Thee evenmore the same. With all the capacity for love that there is in us, and with all the more that Thou canst give us, may we love our Lord in spirit and in truth.
Help us, Lord, to conquer sin out of love to Thee. Help some dear strugglers that have been mastered by sin sometimes, and they are struggling against it; give them the victory, Lord, and when the battle gets very sharp, and they are tempted to give way a little, help them to be very firm and very strong, never giving up hope in the Lord Jesus, and resolving that if they perish they will perish at His feet and nowhere else but there.
Lord, raise up in our churches many men and women that are all on fire with love to Christ and His Divine Gospel. Oh! give us back again men like Antipas, Thy faithful martyr, men like Paul, Thy earnest servant who proclaimed Thy truth so boldly. Give us Johns, men to whom the Spirit may speak, who shall bid us hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Lord, revive us! Lord, revive us; revive Thy work in the midst of the years in all the churches. Return unto the Church of God in this country, return unto her. Thine adversaries think to have it all their own way, but they will not, for the Lord liveth, and blessed be our Rock.
Because of truth and righteousness, we beseech Thee lay bare Thine arm in these last days. O Shepherd of Israel, deal a heavy blow at the wolves and keep Thy sheep in their own true pastures, free from the poisonous pastures of error. O God, we would stir Thee up. We know Thou sleepest not, and yet sometimes it seems as if Thou didst sleep awhile and leave things to go on in their own way.
We beseech Thee awake. Plead Thine own cause. We know Thine answer, “Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion.” This we would do, Lord, but we cannot do it unless Thou dost put forth Thy strength to turn our weakness into might.
Great God, save this nation! O God of heaven and earth, stay the floods of infidelity and of filthiness that roll over this land. Would God we might see better days! Men seem entirely indifferent now. They will not come to hear the Word as once they did. God of our fathers let Thy Spirit work again among the masses. Turn the hearts of the people to the hearing of the Word, and convert them when they hear it. May it be preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.
Our hearts are weary for Thee, thou King, Thou King forgotten in thine own land, Thou King despised among Thine own people, when wilt Thou yet be glorious before the eyes of all mankind? Come, we beseech Thee, come quickly, or if Thou comest not personally, send forth the Holy Spirit with a greater power than ever that our hearts may leap within us as they see miracles of mercy repeated in our midst.
Father, glorify Thy Son. Somehow our prayer always comes to this before we have done. “Father, glorify Thy Son that Thy Son also may glorify Thee,” and let the days come when He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. Bless all work done for Thee, whether it be in the barn or in the cathedral, silently and quietly at the street door, or in the Sunday-school or in the classes, O Lord, bless Thy work. Hear also prayers that have been put up by wives for their husbands, children for their parents, parents for their children. Let the holy service of prayer never cease, and let the intercession be accepted of God, for Jesus Christ’s sake.