Great and glorious Majesty, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has encouraged us to call You our God and our Father, look down from heaven, the habitation of Your holiness, and take notice of an unworthy creature, who is come to bow down and worship You this evening at Your footstool.
You are God, and there is no other God but You. The heavens and the earth were created by Your word. All things are forever within Your view. The shadows of the night cannot hide me from Your eye. You know all the works of my hands, and the secret thoughts of my heart.
I stand condemned in Your sight; for my heart has too often forgotten You; nor has my zeal and diligence in duty been answerable to the obligations You have laid upon me. Spare me, O most gracious God, according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. Spare my life, till Your grace has made me fitter for the hour of death. Subdue every sinful inclination. Mortify all the vicious principles which You see in me.
Strengthen my pious resolutions, under all the frailties of youth and against the assaults of temptation; for though I would willingly avoid everything that displeases You, yet I know my own weakness, and therefore I humbly put myself under the constant protection of Your grace.
Preserve my younger years from the pollutions of the world, and guard me through all this dangerous stage of life. Let me not repeat any of the follies or sins that have overtaken me today, but help me to set a more careful and perpetual watch over my thoughts, my lips, and my “actions, that I may not so offend.
Choose, O Lord, my inheritance for me, and my portion in this world, and be my portion and my happiness in the world to come.
Do not let my heart be set on grandeur and riches, but fix my affections on the things that are above, where Jesus Christ is at Your right hand. Let me be truly content with the disposals of Your providence in this present life, waiting for complete felicity in the next. O, my Heavenly Father, if You see it necessary to smite me with the rod of affliction in this state of trial, make me patient and submissive under all the sorrows I sustain; let me receive with holy meekness the correcting strokes of Your hand. Bear me up under all the heavy burdens that may be laid upon me, and carry me safely through the trials and difficulties that may attend my way.
Let me never be discouraged in my duties, nor grow weary of well doing, trusting to Your gracious promise, that I shall reap a joyful harvest in due time, if I do not faint.
Search me and try me, O Lord, this evening, and discover within me anything that has caused me to wander from You; make me truly penitent for all my wanderings, and bring back my feet to the paths of holiness and peace. Thus, by judging myself at the end of every day, let me be better prepared for my solemn appearance before Your awful seat of judgment; and by the constant practice of piety here on earth, let me grow daily more meet to perform the business, and to enjoy the blessedness of heaven.
I lay myself down to rest this night under the shadow of Your wings, under the protection of Your providence, and the guard of Your grace. Let Your holy angels have charge over me while I sleep, and suffer no evil imaginations to molest or disquiet me. Whether I wake or sleep, live or die, let me be Yours forever.
Let virtue and religion be defended and encouraged by all that are exalted to stations of honor and authority in this land. Bestow Your choicest favors [on my dear parents, &c. and] on all that are related to me in the
bonds of nature; let them be made partakers of Your heavenly and everlasting grace. Bless my superiors of every kind, my teachers and my governors; and may I behave myself in my station of life as becomes a Christian, toward all those whom Your providence has set over me.
After the many requests I have offered for the mercies I want, I beg leave to render humble thanks to Your majesty for the blessings I have received. I praise You, my God, for the measures of ease and health which I enjoy; for the kind providence’s which have attended me this day; and that so many of the comforts of life have been continually provided for me, that I have not been exposed to those hardships and temptations, which have surrounded others in their younger years. Above all, I bless You, my Father, for the full and rich discovery of Your grace to mankind in the holy scriptures, and I desire forever to praise You, that while millions of young creatures are brought up in ignorance and gross darkness, I was born and brought up under the sound of Your gospel; and that I have been led into an early acquaintance with Your holy word.
Accept, I entreat You, all these petitions and thank-offerings in the name of Jesus Christ, Your well beloved son. Amen.
Book: The Youth’s Prayer Book
Author: John Gorham Palfrey
Publisher: Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830
Revised and Adapted by: Karrol Sneed 2014