Psalm 119:59 (NASB) I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
I thank You, heavenly Father, that You have permitted me to see the conclusion of another week; and I desire this evening, to review, with a truly grateful heart, the many instances of Your loving-kindness which have followed me during the days that are about to close. Your mercies have been new to me every morning, and Your faithfulness every night. You have graciously delivered me from many dangers that have surrounded me on the right hand and on the left. You have preserved my body in health, my spirit in peace, and You have blessed me with a full measure of those social comforts which spring from a heart that is attached to its kindred, and from the endearing charities of domestic life.
How many, O Lord, who saw along with me the opening days of this week, have already resigned their place upon this living scene. How many have met with calamities that have sorely bowed down their spirits. How many have been led into the far greater misery of having committed crimes which may darken all their prospects during the days that are to come!
What am I, O Lord, that Your tender mercy should have so graciously exempted me from these great sorrows? Enable me to see Your good and gracious hand in all the blessings of my lot; and may my evening service this day be a sacrifice of heartfelt thankfulness to You, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift.
But, alas! O Lord, I am ladened with iniquity; and it becomes me to confess, with a truly contrite heart, my great sinfulness in Your sight. I have every day been adding to the amount of my transgressions, —and when I look back on the opportunities with which You have blessed me, and on the means of doing good which I have enjoyed, I feel that if You were strict to enter into judgment, I could not answer for one of a thousand of my faults.
Alas! O Lord, my character still retains the imperfections which have marked it ever since I began to act. I have done little to overcome my feebleness in duty,—my coldness in devotion,—my want of charity,—my complete absorption in the things of this life to the utter neglect of those better and more enduring things that are set before me.
For Christ’s sake, O Lord, forgive my offences, and may Your good Spirit, which alone can take away my weakness, and increase my strength, inspire me with all holy, ardent, and elevated feelings, and enable me, during the days that may yet be granted to me, to run my Christian race, not only with patience, but with energy, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of God.
Grant, O Lord, for His sake, that when my day of life is about to be concluded, I may be enabled to look back on my course with joy; and to feel that having, during the discipline of time, improved, in some measure, my talents and my time. May I look forward with a humble hope, that in a better world You will perfect that which concerns me.
For these purposes, O Lord, prepare me for the duties of that Sabbath-day which is soon to arise. May my mind be filled, before I fall asleep, with all holy, dutiful, and resigned feelings,—with gratitude for Your great goodness to the children of men, —with sincere faith in the merits of Your beloved Son, and with ardent desires that Your good Spirit may sanctify all my affections.
When the Sabbath sun shall come forth, may I be found in the Spirit on Your holy day. May it be to me a day of rest from all vain cares and sinful thoughts,—a day of devout meditation on Your wondrous works,—a day of blessed anticipation of those endless years, which will be as a ceaseless Sabbath to all those who shall be faithful to death.
Forgive, I humbly entreat You, the many misapplications of Your Sabbaths, of which I have been guilty; and enable me henceforth to regard Your blessed day, not as a weariness, but as a delight, and to derive from its meditations and its duties, the strength that may enable me to run my Christian course with joy.
I commit to Your gracious keeping this night, all my friends, wherever they are. Be the friend of those who are far from home,—of those who are tossed upon a stormy sea,—of those who, in a foreign land, are removed from that security and that kindly intercourse which I enjoy. Let no distance ever make me unmindful of those whom I am bound at all times to remember with affection, and forbid, O heavenly Father, that I should ever fail in the discharge of those relative duties which are the foundation and happiness of social life. Make me ever faithful, affectionate, and dutiful,— not regarding my own happiness, if, by sacrificing it, I can contribute to the welfare of others,—and setting at all times an example, which may convince those who witness it, that the religion of Christ is the fountain, not only of all elevated affections, but of all kind and charitable deeds.
Forgive all mine enemies,—let no revengeful thought harbor in my bosom,—but, like the Son of God, may I be meek and patient, long-suffering to those who oppose me, and willing to endure all things, that the bonds of charity may be preserved unbroken. And in this exercise of forbearance, may I always remember, that my offences against God have been very great, and that he has promised remission of sins only to those who are willing to forgive the offences of their brethren.
Bless the whole human race. May ignorance and horrid cruelty be done away with among all nations; and may the light of the glorious gospel speedily diffuse its brightness over those lands which now lie in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Be particularly gracious to the sorrowful and the distressed,—visit the prisoner in the sadness of his solitude,—pour the balm of consolation into the wounded spirit, and prepare the dying for their great change.
Help me, O Lord, ever to remember, that the days of my life are fast hastening away,—that in a little time the bed of languishing and of death shall receive me,—and that I shall then feel how truly momentous to man it is, to have served the Lord in the land of the living. Prepare me, O heavenly Father, for that eventful hour; and grant, that, looking back upon life, I may then be enabled to say, now is my race completed, and my warfare is accomplished. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of life, which the Lord will give, not to me only, but to all those who love His appearing. In this blessed hope I now resign myself to the disposal of Your providence;—and to Your name, Father, Son, and blessed Spirit, be ascribed all glory, 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