Prov. 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV)
1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Clouds and darkness, indeed, surround Your throne, and You only reveal Yourself to the eye of man in the wonderful works of that beautiful universe which You have given him to inhabit. Yet I know that You are not far from every one of us; for in You I live, and move, and have my being. There is not even a thought in the inmost recess of the breast of any of Your creatures, which is not known to Your omniscient eye.
It is good, O Father of the Spirits of all flesh, to conceal Yourself from my feeble view; for how could man look on the brightness of Your throne and live? Or how could his feeble mind endure the disclosure of those boundless wonders, which are but productions from Your uncreated glory? Blessed be Your name that You thus adapt Yourself to the condition of Your creatures; and that, while beings of higher powers and purer natures obtain a more direct view of Your perfections, to man they have been beautifully and most mercifully made known by the beneficent arrangements which surround him in life.
But, while I thus give You thanks for Your mercy and love in hiding Your brightness, let me never forget that You have not withdrawn Yourself from any portion of Your works. For You, Lord, are a Spirit, whose existence cannot be bound by any portion of space; and the minutest, as well as the most magnificent, operations of the boundless universe are open to Your view. Even the deep secrets of the human heart are all naked and open before You; and while the thoughts of my heart is but beginning to be suggested, You understand it afar off.
“Whither shall I go from Your Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me: even the night shall be light about me; yea, the darkness does not hide from You; but the night shines as the day. The darkness and the light are both alike to You.’
Before I was capable of knowing the great things designed for me, or could anticipate that beautiful world into which I was about to be ushered, You knew my existence, and arranged all the parts of my wonderful lot. Blessed be Your name, that You have been pleased to give me so high a place among Your creatures; and that, in the time that seemed best to Your wisdom, You called me to know and to serve You. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My substance was not hid from You when I was made in secret. Your eyes saw my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them.”
How precious also have Your thoughts been to me. O God: how great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. Ever since I came into existence, You have been to me as a shepherd; You have led me by green pastures and by still waters; You have spread a table before me, and made my cup to run over, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.
Grant, O most merciful Father, that the remembrance of all Your goodness may lead me to devote myself, with all my powers, both of body and of mind, to Your service. May it ever be my delight to do Your will; and may I be enabled to make this life, into which You have called me, one great sacrifice of duty and of gratitude to You. For this, O Lord, is my reasonable service.
Grant, I humbly and earnestly request of You, that the consciousness of Your continual presence may lead me to watch, not only all my words and actions, but all my thoughts, with a Godly jealousy, lest in anything I should offend Your pure eye. For I know that You, Lord, will at last bring all my thoughts into judgment; and that my future place in Your kingdom must depend, not merely on that part of my conduct which man may observe, but on those hidden motives and invisible intentions, which You only can observe and weigh.
I feel, O Lord, that I am not able thus to purify my heart for I am encompassed with temptation, and ladened with infirmity, and if left to myself I must fall seventy times a-day. But blessed be Your name, that You have promised, through Jesus Christ Your Son, that You will give Your Holy Spirit to them that ask it. O send forth Your Spirit into my heart, that all my darkness and evil propensities may be taken away,—that my inner man may be washed and sanctified,—and that my soul may be made a temple fit for the habitation of the Holy Ghost.
Enable me to take the example of him, whom You have set forth as the model of all goodness, as my guide in this discipline of purity,—of him who was meek and gentle in heart, —who always did that which is well-pleasing in Your sight,—who was holy, harmless, and undefiled,—and who associated with sinners, only that He might be the instrument of doing them good.
Deliver me, O God, from the influence of ungodly men, and let not the folly or sin that abounds in their conversation ever entice me to renounce the allegiance that I have sworn to You, or make me forget the high vocation in which I have been called.
I am imperfectly acquainted with the many and secret sins that cleave to me. O let not any sin have dominion over me. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ‘
And grant, O heavenly Father, that the sins which still adhere to me may be forgiven, for Your beloved Son’s sake, whom You have sent into the world to be the propitiation for sin, and from whose boundless mercy alone I look for the remission of all my iniquities. Into Your hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit through the hours of this night. Let no evil come near my dwelling. Grant me, if it be Your will, the blessing of sound and refreshing sleep, and keep my mind from all wandering and vain thoughts.
Grant me perfect resignation to whatever You may see fit to ordain for me; and may all my conduct be so ordered by Your guidance, that when the wearisome day of this mortal life is completed, I may fall asleep in the hope of a blessed resurrection, and finally awaken to everlasting life. For Christ’s sake. 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