Psalm xcv. 6, 7- O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Heavenly Father, It is a good and a pleasant thing for those whom You have connected by the relations of life to dwell together in unity. It is also a good and a pleasant thing for members of the same family devoutly to express their dependence on You, who are their common and bountiful Creator,—to acknowledge the many mercies which You are daily showering on all Your children,—to ask of You that forgiveness which we all need,—and to look forward together to that eternal scene in which, when this life shall end, we hope to have our common portion.
Surely, O Lord, it is a good and a pleasant thing thus to call upon Your holy name,—and to consecrate this our earthly dwelling-place by making it a temple to Your honour.
We desire together, O You who are our father in heaven, to recollect at this time the many tokens of Your providential kindness, with which You have blessed us in the land of the living. It is to Your willingness to give freely that we are indebted for the comfortable circumstances in which we are now assembled, and for all the advantages by which our situation upon the earth is distinguished. How many are pining in want,—or oppressed with disease,—or broken down by calamity,—who have not deserved these sorrows by any greater sins than those which we have committed; and how well, therefore, does it become us, when we thus meet together, to acknowledge that it is from Your hand that all our comforts have flowed, and to offer to You, not only the gratitude of our hearts, but the obedience of our lives, for Your great loving-kindness.
You have also blessed us, O Lord, by uniting us together in the bonds of natural affection and of mutual love; and we have reason to acknowledge, that You have thus beautified and cheered for us this pilgrimage of life by some of the choicest blessings that are given to the sons of men.
But, above all, it becomes us to acknowledge, with fervent gratitude, Your great mercy in having cast our lot in a Christian land,—in having given us the words of eternal life,—and taught us to aspire after a far higher inheritance in Your heavenly kingdom.
These Your benefits towards us, O Lord, ought to have led us to dedicate every moment of our lives to Your service. But we acknowledge, with shame and confusion of face, that we have all gone astray from Your commandments,—that we have often forgotten the God that made us, and lightly esteemed the Rock of our Salvation,—and that, if You should call us into judgment, we could not answer for one of our innumerable transgressions. We have often failed in the duties which we owe to each other, and to those with whom we are connected in life; we have been less exemplary in our conduct, less kind in our affections, less faithful in
our engagements, than we ought to have been; and we all feel, that if You wert now to call us to our account, we could not plead before You that we had in any day of our lives done that which it was our duty to do. Above all, O Lord, we confess with shame and regret, that we have been less attentive than we ought to have been to the influence of our example upon each other; we have sometimes been angry without a cause,—and we have never exhibited before our brethren, as we ought to have done, the pure, and charitable, and heavenly spirit which as Christians it was our duty to have displayed.
Mark not against us, we earnestly request You, O Lord, our manifold offences, for Christ’s sake; but do You, who have promised pardon to the penitent, remove from us all our iniquities, and cast us not away from Your sight, though we have rebelled against You. Blessed be Your name, that You have sent even Your well-beloved Son into the world to take away our sins,—and that those who believe in him receive, when they forsake their iniquities, a peace and joy in believing, which is an earnest, even in time, of that final happiness into which they are to be admitted when all earthly things shall have passed away.
O send down Your good Spirit into our hearts. May his blessed influences sanctify our affections, —and elevate our desires,—and purify our conduct, —and render our whole lives models of the sanctification and charity of the gospel. By his influences may we all be gifted with true faith in Your beloved Son,—with gratitude for that great salvation which he has wrought out for us,—and with a desire to imitate his conduct in all that we do. And by the same operation, may our love to each other be increased, so that in all things we may be examples to those who are around us, and may finally obtain the salvation of our souls.
We especially pray, O heavenly Father, for those who have yet to pass through the many cares and dangers of this life,—for the young whose hearts are yet unstained by the great sins that prevail in the world,—and who have to undergo that great trial, by which they are either to become qualified for everlasting life, or finally to be shut out from the fellowship of the blessed.
How awful, O Lord, is this thought! O impress it deeply upon the tender consciences of the young, —and may they now begin to remember their Creator in the days of their youth, before the years draw nigh when they shall say, We have no pleasure in them. Adorn them, O Lord, with all useful and excellent gifts,—with that true knowledge which is the ornament of life,—with that firm integrity which will not be led aside by any solicitations, and with that tenderness of affection which will unite them in the bonds of love to all with whom they are connected. Grant them also an early desire to fulfil the law of their Creator and Redeemer, —may they be early taken as disciples of the Son of God, and receive, while their hearts are yet un-hardened by vice, such impressions of the value of Divine truth, as may set all the vain wisdom of the disobedient at nought.
Especially, O Lord, keep them from the evil that is in the world,—from the fatal effects of bad example,—and from the thousand snares that beset them on the right hand and on the left. Let Your good providence be ever with them, to lead them and to guide them; and, having done well their part in time, may they be enabled to look back from the last scene of life with triumph, and to say, Now is our race completed, and our warfare is accomplished! We have fought a good fight,— we have finished our course,—we have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for us a crown of life. And, O most merciful God, who are the never-failing friend of all them that call upon You, grant that these our earthly devotions may be blessed for these important purposes. May we all have cause to rejoice, that we have thus sought for Your blessing; and on every season of prayer and of meditation, may Your Spirit descend, to make it an earnest of the joy which awaits all Your redeemed.
And grant, O most merciful Father, that we all, who have been so closely united in time, may at last meet in Your heavenly kingdom;—may none of those who now bow before You be wanting in that day when You make up Your jewels;—but, when our varied years upon the earth are finished, and the aged and the young have each been gathered in their appointed time to all the generations that have gone before us, may our spirits rejoin each other in everlasting bliss, and be throughout eternity employed in Your service.
And now to Your name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be ascribed all glory and honour, dominion and praise, world without end. Amen.
Book: The Morning and Evening Sacrifice or Prayers for Private Persons and Families (9th Edition)
Published by: Oliver & Boyd, Tweeddale Court; and Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., London 1837
Revised & Edited by: Karrol 2014