Luke 19:41-44 (TLB) 41 But as they came closer to Jerusalem and he saw the city ahead, he began to cry. 42 “Eternal peace was within your reach and you turned it down,” he wept, “and now it is too late. 43 Your enemies will pile up earth against your walls and encircle you and close in on you, 44 and crush you to the ground, and your children within you; your enemies will not leave one stone upon another—for you have rejected the opportunity God offered you.”
GOD be praised, who permits us to see another Fast-Day. O that we were able to say this with that sincerity of heart, with which we reasonably ought to say it. Supposing that a person who had died during the last three months, in a state of impenitence, and who had entered upon a miserable eternity, might return to this world for the purpose of keeping a fast-day and seeking his conversion? Would not such a one say, * God be praised for affording me a fast-day, in which I can repent and confess with my mouth and in my heart, Jesus as my Savior, that I may not be cast into hell and eternal torment on account of my sins. Ought we not, therefore, to regard it as a great favor, that we are permitted to keep another fast-day, and thus to prepare for a blissful eternity? All our days ought reasonably to be days of penitence and preparation for eternity. But our hearts are much too slothful and negligent. We have, therefore, to thank the great love and compassion of God for affording us such particular days and appointed times, in which we are the more forcibly and impressively reminded of our duty. Therefore let this be a truly important fast-day to us; that we may not keep it merely from custom, but with a devout, penitent, and prayerful heart in the presence of God. Let us, therefore, commence our devotions with prayer, and all now present humble themselves before the present majesty of God.
“O Lord, our God, teach us to pray on this day of fasting and prayer! You are a Spirit, and desire to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. How often have we appeared before your Sacred Majesty with empty and hypocritical words! How often have we offered strange fire on Your altar, and drawn near to You with our lips, while our hearts were far from You! Mercifully forgive us this sin, and let us now draw near to You with our hearts, and adore You with our spirits. Let our prayer be the language of our hearts, and not go forth out of insincere lips.
O Lord, eternal and omniscient God, before whom every heart now present lies open and naked! You know, O Lord, our misery, and how very unfit we are to speak with such a holy God. Grant us the spirit of true prayer, that we may approach You in the name of Jesus, lift up holy hands unto You, and pray to You in an acceptable manner. O impress us with a sense of your majesty and greatness, and also of Your loving kindness and goodness, that we may reverentially and confidentially adore You as our God!
You are the Lord our God, who has made us, and not we ourselves; you have given us life and breath, and preserved us to the present day. You might long ago have deprived us of them, since so many fast-days have passed away unprofitably; our hearts bless your long suffering, goodness, and mercy, that we are still preserved, and that you are granting us another fast-day. O how many have been snatched away into eternity during the last three months—perhaps into an awful eternity; and yet You have spared us that we might come to reflection, and consider more seriously what belongs to our deliverance, our salvation, and our peace, and that we might still find grace, in this our day of grace.
Now, O Lord, we are assembled here, by your good hand upon us, for the purpose of keeping a day of real fasting and prayer; let our hearts also be collected, that we may continue in your presence in a penitential and prayerful state of mind. O let your influence be powerfully felt by us and in us. Grant us the grace, that when your Gospel is now preached and heard, the it not be delivered in a cold and lifeless manner, but in the power of your Spirit, and listened to with the ardent desires of the heart; that thus we may be effectually convinced, inwardly awakened, and urged and encouraged to resign ourselves to You. O Lord Jesus, to this end I resign my heart and all that I am Work in me that which is well pleasing to You. Regard not my unworthiness and insufficiency, but put the words into my mouth, that I shall speak, and bless them according to the necessities of each, that every one may receive his portion of spiritual good, from You alone holy and gracious Spirit. To this end, let every heart now present be resigned to You, O Lord Jesus! Let every heart in particular be regarded by You at this time with compassion, and its necessities supplied.
O have pity upon us, and let not hypocrisy defile our worship; that this may not be a day which shall tend to our condemnation, but to our salvation and benefit in time and eternity. Hear, then, our supplications, and forgive us our sins, which render us unworthy of being heard, for the sake of your meritorious sufferings, in the power of your sacred intercession with the Father. Amen.”
Spiritual Crumbs From The Master’s Table.
By Gerhard Tersteegen
Translated From The German By Samuel Jackson
London: John F. Shaw, Southampton Row. Bussell Square. 1837
Revised And Adapted By: Karrol Sneed 2014