Almighty and everlasting God, the all-wise and all righteous Ruler of mankind. Vouchsafe to grant the prayer of Your unworthy servant. If in the course of Your inscrutable providence, I can contribute, even by the sacrifice of my life, or fortune, or reputation, to the preservation of my native country, to the advancement of virtue, and public peace and happiness, may I always be willing, and by Your divine assistance strengthened, to surrender every blessing and comfort of life, and life itself, into Your most bountiful hands, from whom I have received them all, through Jesus Christ our Lord. — Philip, Earl Stanhope. (1714-86). The best mathematician in his day.
Grant unto us, O merciful God, knowledge and true understanding of Your word, that we may know what Your will is, and also may show forth in our lives those things that we do know. that we be not only knower’s of Your word but also doers of the same; by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lord be merciful to us sinners, and save us for Your mercy’s sake. You are the great God, Who has made and rules all things, deliver us for Your name’s sake. You are the great God to be feared above all, save us, that we may praise You. You, O Lord, are just and powerful, defend our cause against the face of the enemy. O God, You are a strong tower of defense to all Who fly unto You: Save us from the violence of the enemy. O Lord of Hosts, fight for us, that we may glorify You suffer us not to sink under the weight of our sins, or the violence of the enemy. Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us, for Your name’s sake. Amen.
Prayer is the soaring of the soul towards God, an appeal to His mercy, an homage to His greatness. how seriously it behooves us to perform this duty in a proper manner! In this life, while man is assailed by so much suffering, so many anxieties, and endures so much misery and sorrow, whence can he seek aid and consolation? Can his fellow-man, his companion in weakness and impotence, be his comforter? As. child in his grief appeals instinctively to his parent, so man in his distress appeals to his heavenly Father, Who alone can aid him. Anxieties and misery attack us in vain, when we resist them by seeking consolation from Him Who knows our sorrows.. Towards the mountains. raise my eyes,” says the Psalmist,. thence will come my aid.”
What cannot fervent prayer obtain? When the sentence of condemnation is borne to the heavenly tribunal, let us pray, and God may revoke it. Moses, prostrate at the summit of Sinai, stayed by prayer the arm of the Eternal, already raised to exterminate guilty, idolatrous Israel.
I. We will not fear then, loaded though we be with sin, we will not fear to offer our repentance to the Lord. we will pray for ourselves and others, and hope, though we fear; for. day or. night not begun or ended with prayer, might be. fatal one to us, or to one dear to us, the last day or the last night.
2. Prayer would, indeed, be imperfect, did it lead us towards God only when in trouble or in fear, or had it no other motive than that our wants should be supplied. Besides supplication, is it not just and proper that we should offer our thanks and gratitude to our merciful Father, for the daily blessings He bestows, and the miracles He renews for our preservation, our sustenance, and our existence?
But prayer does more than this. When the mind is imbued with the idea of God, we contemplate His greatness and wonders, and then. sentiment is awakened within us of veneration and delight at His glory, His omnipotence. His wondrous works; this divine joy, tJiis soaring of the soul, find vent in words of blessing and praise, as expressed in the divine harmony of the Psalms..How wondrous are thy works, Lord! how profound are thy thoughts.”
3. But how should we pray.
To move the lips mechanically, without feeling prayer in the heart, is an offence to God. To pray mentally, without. devout attitude, is to fail in respect towards the Great Being with whom we desire to hold communion.
Above all we should take heed lest prayer become an act of routine,. duty fulfilled hastily, amid noise, irreverence, and disturbance. we should attune our hearts to devotion. retire to some silent spot, assume an humble,. contemplative posture, and resign our souls to God; then only can we hope to be in communion with Him.
But to present ourselves humbly before God is not all; we must bring faith. faith that gives life to prayer and warms the heart; and, above all, prayer must proceed from purity of intention, the desire to do that which is pleasing in the sight of God, and also from filial submission to His will.
4..Oh! that our minds could be fully impressed with the glory of God, or that we could duly reflect on His holiness! Faith teaches us that our God, of whose majesty even Moses could not bear the glorious presence, is near us when we pray. He sees and hears us. He knows every thought of the soul, every secret of the heart. Yes, He, the Holy God, is near. and should we, Who bow with respect and humility before. mortal somewhat above us in rank and power, not watch over our words and deeds in the presence of the King of kings, before whom terrestrial monarchs are as. grain of dust.. how dare we in His presence give ourselves up to levity of any kind.
5. Let us, then, strictly observe the duty of prayer, for it is the life of the soul. early in the morning let us appear before the Lord, offer Him the first-fruits of the day. the purity of our actions may depend on the fidelity with which we fulfill this first duty. But, before praying, let us examine ourselves. remember what we are, and reflect on the nature of God before whom we appear. then will our hearts be filled with sentiments of humility, respect, and devotion, and thus we shall become worthy of addressing the Creator of the universe.
A day should not pass without returning thanks for the favors God has granted. before retiring to rest we should recall to mind every event of the day, and repent of any unworthy act we may have committed. and thus reconciled to God, we may be able to invoke His protection, for ourselves and others, from the dangers of the night.
Not alone during the stated times of prayer, but in every circumstance of life. in joy, as in sorrow. should we have God in our hearts and in our thoughts.
6. Yes, Lord! it is to You I turn to pour put my grief and anguish. it is to You I render homage for the happy days it pleases You to bestow.. If affliction assail me, teach me to bear it according to Thy will. if joy be my portion,. will say, It is God Who gives it.
Meditations and Prayers for Every Situation and Occasion in Life
MY good God, prayer to You is my fortress, prayer is my friend, in prayer I forget all my misery and littleness. Cause me, therefore, to pour my soul out to You in prayer at the present time. I have known no help in times of difficulty, in shame and humiliation I found no sympathizer, but Your watching and Guardian Spirit. Desert me not now. I want You more than ever, Your assurance and Your comfort my soul craves for. My God, my tower of strength, my sweetness and peace of heart, be ever near. God of truth and righteousness, I seek justification in Your sight only. Stand in my conscience, King of holiness, give me Your word, and I will be calm though the whole world rise in rage like a surging sea. Holiness and judgment are Yours, and I humbly stand before Your throne. Crush me in Your justice if I am guilty, and let confusion overtake me. But if in Your sight I stand acquitted, what man is there that shall make me tremble? My Father, purge me from all fear and shame before You. – The Ministers Prayers Part 2
O Lord God, of infinite mercy and of infinite excellency, who hast sent Your Holy Son into the world to redeem us from an intolerable misery, and to teach us a holy religion, and to forgive us an infinite debt; give me Your Holy Spirit, that my understanding and all my faculties may be so resigned to the discipline and doctrine of my Lord, that I may be prepared to die for the testimony of Jesus, and to suffer any affliction or calamity that shall offer to hinder my duty, or tempt me to shame, or sin, or apostasy; and let my faith be the parent of a good life, a strong shield to repel the fiery darts of the devil, and the author of a holy hope, of modest desires and confidence in God, and of a never-failing charity to You, my God, and to all the world; that I may never have my portion with the unbelievers, or uncharitable and desperate persons; but may be supported by the strengths of faith in all temptations, and may be refreshed with the comforts of a holy hope in all my sorrow’s, and may bear the burden of the Lord, and the infirmities of my neighbor, by the support of charity ; that the yoke of Jesus may become easy to me, and my love may do all the miracles of grace, till from grace it swells to glory, from earth to heaven, from the imperfections of a beginning and a little growing love, it may arrive to the consummation of an eternal and never-ceasing charity, through Jesus Christ, the Son of Your love, the Author of our hope, and the Author and Finisher of our faith : to whom with You, 0 Lord God, Father of heaven and earth, and with Your Holy Spirit, be all glory, and love, and obedience, and dominion, now and for ever. Amen. – Prayers When the Door is Shut by A Lady Deceased
O GOD, our Father, as we come to You at the beginning of the new day, may our hearts be open to receive the gift of Your spirit for which we pray. Grant that we may not be unresponsive to the promptings of Your spirit, but that we may go through all the manifold duties and tasks of this day with a real consciousness of nearness to You, and of dependence upon You.
Give us wisdom in the performance of our daily work in the use of our time and opportunities, so that we may not be restricted in our vision to the immediate interests of the present, but that we may look forward to a time when we may be called upon to use our talents in some service in which our real value to You, as fellow-workers, will depend upon the thoroughness with which we have trained ourselves for efficient service. May we strive to grow in spiritual strength, as well as in mental and physical powers.
Grant that our many experiences of Your love, the realization of the blessings of the past, may give us ever increasing faith. Give us strength of will and clearness of conscience to follow more steadfastly that which we know is right. Forgive, we beseech You, the many things which we do contrary to Your laws, and the many things which we fail to do because of negligence and indifference.
May all our thoughts, words, and acts throughout this day be prompted by right motives, and by worthy ideals; may we live with the constant desire to make our lives acceptable to You. Amen.
C. B. Breed
O LORD GOD, maker of the heavens and the earth You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to us out of Your love and mercy. For this we are grateful beyond measure. Our Lord Jesus left the assembly of Your purchased people both with a knowledge of the truth, and with established messengers and servants; and has since then given and preserved to us, in their ancient languages, the inspiration of Your holy Spirit. We beseech You to continue and complete these blessings; and to give a holy, true, and bold spirit of faith and love to those who minister to Your Church . May Your Servants honestly fulfill Your charge, and spread the food of the Holy Writings in the plainest, simplicity, and truth of meaning, before the humble sheep and lambs of Your visible earthly fold.
O merciful Father, accept for Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, this petition of us unworthy sinners, – guide all who seek to spread Your truth; keep the translations of Your word into all languages true and plain, simple and unconfused. Restrain all those, children of Satan, who would turn Your word into obscurity or falsehood.
Bless too, O Lord, the readers of Your word ; in public and private. May those who attend to Your word be taught, forgiven, and blessed by Your fatherly compassion. Give us all grace to study Your word more than any other learning; and to perceive and know Your truth; and to carry Your good seed in continual growth and security in an honest and faithful heart, wherever we go.
Merciful Lord, grant the petition of us, unworthy and ungrateful children of God, work in our hearts true repentance and encouragement; according to Your gracious promises in the Father’s name. Grant us Your Spirit to guide our Church, and to renew our hearts according to Your gracious wish.
Grant that the holy servants and elders of Your flock may, under Your blessing, always provide complete and plain services for Your body of humble believers: may they defend Your people in good and holy order; and encourage them by every facility and convenience, according to Your example and teaching. May all men give attention and reverence, to Your special servants in spiritual things. Grant them Your special wisdom, temper, and Spirit; but may none be misled by priestcraft and worldly honor.
Hear us, merciful Lord Jesus and gather all men unto You, in the power given to You by the Father, for Your name’s sake. Amen. –Book of Prayers for Working Men of All Ranks by John Elden
Almighty Father, who has given Your only begotten Son to be to us a sacrifice for sin, an example of meek and patient suffering, and a mirror of righteousness and true holiness of life ; give us grace that we may receive His inestimable benefit with all thankfulness of heart. May we also daily endeavor to follow the blessed steps of His most holy life, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen – Rev. Hook
O God, who has commanded that no man should be idle, but that we should all work with our hands doing the thing that is good Graciously look upon Your servants now going forth to do their duty in that station of life unto which You have been pleased to call them. May Your blessing be upon us and upon our labors, upon our substance, and upon all that belongs to us. Enable us to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil; to follow the motions of Your good Spirit; to be serious and holy in our lives, true and just in our dealings; watchful over our thoughts, words, and actions; diligent in our business, and temperate in all things. Give us grace, that we may honestly improve all the talents You have committed to our trust; and that no worldly business and no worldly pleasures, may ever divert us from the thoughts of the life to come. We ask You to grant these petitions through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen – Family Prayer by Rev. Hook
Glory be to You O God, glory be to You, Creator of light and Enlightener of the world.
We kneel before You to bless and praise Your Holy Name for all the mercies bestowed upon us; for Your goodness in preserving us during the night past, and for bringing us in safety to the beginning of a new day.
As, on this morning, You brought again, from the dead, the Holy and the Just Jesus Christ our Lord. Heavenly Father by His Resurrection raise us up unto newness of life.
0 Lord, we acknowledge that we are not worthy to come into Your presence, nor to lift up our eyes towards the throne of Your mercy-seat. Our sins and transgressions are many, and many of them have been often repeated; the corruption of our hearts and the sinfulness of our thoughts are perfectly known to You; and the punishment due unto our sins is greater than we are able to bear.
O Lord, if You should deal with us as we have deserved, how justly might You deprive us of all those means of grace, and opportunities of working out our salvation, which You have previously granted us!
But, O merciful Father, You have declared Yourself to be a God merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. Our only hope, therefore, is in Your tender mercies, which have been of old; in that pity and compassion which You have shown to mankind, in the redemption of the world by the death of Your Dear Son.
For Your Name’s sake, O Lord, and for Your Beloved Son’s sake, pardon, we most humbly beseech You, all our past sins and shortcomings. O, replenish our souls with the graces of Your Holy Spirit, that we may become vigorous and active in Your service, and fruitful in every good work.
We implore You also to look with compassion on the nation to which we belong; pardon our great and crying sins, and avert from us the evils which we have most justly deserved; forgive our manifold abuses of the great privileges You have conferred upon us; put a stop to all profaneness, irreligion, and impiety, to all our unhappy strife’s and animosities; and let truth and righteousness, brotherly love and charity, flourish and increase among us.
Be gracious to Your Holy Church, and especially to that branch of it which You have planted in this land; heal the breaches and divisions of it; bring back to the fold of Christ those who have erred and strayed from You; and grant that all who confess Your Holy Name may agree in the truth of Your Holy Word, and live in unity and Godly concord.
Bless our President, His Cabinet, and all the elected officials of this nation. Grant that they may all study to serve You, and to discharge the duties of their several stations, always remembering the great account which they must one day give.
Be merciful, O God, to all that are in affliction or distress; be pleased to support and comfort them, and in Your good time to deliver them according to Your great mercy.
Send down the graces of Your Holy Spirit upon all our friends, relations, and acquaintances; pardon all our sins; unite our hearts in love to You and to each other in You; and bestow to every one of us whatever Your infinite wisdom knows to be most needful and expedient both for our souls and bodies. Amen
Family Devotions for A Fortnight
Adapted from the Works Of Andrews, Ken, Wilson, Kettlewell, Nelson, Spinckes, &C.
London: James Burns; 17, Portman Street, Portman Square. 1847.
OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD
GLORIOUS Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! You are the unsearchable and incomprehensible Lord God! Who by searching can find out God? Who can find out the Almighty to perfection? When we consider Your infinite perfection, the wisdom of Your counsels, Your power in creation, the mysteries of Your providence, and the wonders of redemption, we can do nothing but stand in awe! O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Great and Omnipresent Deity our God and Father! Where shall I go from Your spirit, or where shall I flee from Your presence? You are all pervading and fill immensity with Your presence, sustaining and governing the universe of matter and of mind. May a realizing sense of Your presence inspire seriousness and encouragement, and consolation. May it preserve us from sin, animate us to a cheerful discharge of our duties, and enable us to bear, with pious resignation, the afflictions and sorrows of life.
God of Omniscience, Yours eyes are upon all the ways of the sons of men; to give every one according to His ways, and according to the fruit of His doings. O You that search the heart and try the reins of the children of men, may each one of us feel You in his heart. O Lord, You have searched me and known me; You know my down-sitting and my uprising, You understand my thoughts afar off. May the solemn truth that You God see ue, restrain each of us from sin, and lead us to the worship of Your great name in spirit and in truth.
Omnipresent and Omniscient God, who is everywhere, be very near to us in all times of difficulty, in danger and in the hour of death, and in the solemnities of the judgment, clothe our naked souls with the garments of Christ’s righteousness. For the blessings of the day we thank You, 0 Lord, keep us this night, and save us. Amen!
Manual of Devotion or Religious Exercises for The Morning and Evening of Each Day in The Month For the Use of Schools and Private Families.
By N. C. Brooks, A. M., President of The Baltimore Female College.
Sixth Edition. New York: Published by A. S. Barnes & Co. Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Co. 1855
Edited and Revised by Karrol 2017
BEFORE the mountains were brought forth, or before You had ever formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God. While the shining orders around Your throne prostrate themselves before You, with the most profound reverence and cry, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come, we who are inferior intelligence’s —the degenerate sons and daughters of a fallen race, desire to come into Your presence, and adore the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.
Almighty Father! we are beings of yesterday, but You are from everlasting; our days are as a hand-breadth, and our age is as nothing before You, but You are to everlasting. Yet we adore Your boundless benevolence, that, for us sinners, far removed from original righteousness and who have our habitations in the dust, which is crushed before the moth, and who all fade away as a leaf, not only peace and pardon, but life and immortality have been brought to light in the gospel of Your son. Glory be to Your name for our redemption from hell and the grave by the death and suffering of the Savior, and for the blessed hope that because He lives, we shall live also, and shall participate in the eternity of Your own existence, when the earth and the heavens are departed as a scroll and there is no more sea. We thank You that it is the glorious privilege of the redeemed of Jesus to know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
We thank You for all the means of grace appointed to fit us for immortality with You in heaven — for the gift of a Redeemer and for the guidance and comforts of the Holy Spirit. We thank You for Your divine word, for Your holy Sabbaths and for the institution of Your church, with its preached gospel, its blessed sacraments, its solemn ordinances, and its Christian fellowship. As we have been permitted to see the light of another Sabbath, grant, O Lord, that we may be in the spirit on Your Holy day, and that we may consecrate its hours to Your holy service. Go with us to the temple of Your earthly abode, and while Your word is preached give us the attentive ear and the obedient heart, and may a sense of Your presence make us feel that a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Author of life and being, who alone has immortality, impress our hearts ever with the reality and importance of our eternal destiny. Amid the vain pursuits and illusive hopes of time, suffer us not to forget the pure and abiding joys of eternity. Under the burdens and disquietudes of our earthly pilgrimage, cheer and console us with the reflection, that our light afflictions which are but for a moment, will work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Son of God, by Your sufferings and death, elevate our thoughts to that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fades not away, eternal in the heavens. Holy Spirit of Grace, win our hearts away from the world, and woo them to thyself and to the joys of eternity.
Eternal Father! teach us who are children of eternity, aspirants for another and a better world, that every day and every hour allotted us is a period of probation for our final change. Lord, enable us to make a wise improvement of every means of grace. Pardon all our sins, seal us now by Your spirit to the day of redemption, and at length administer to us an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Manual of Devotion or Religious Exercises for The Morning and Evening of Each Day in The Month For the Use of Schools and Private Families.
By N. C. Brooks, A. M., President of The Baltimore Female College.
Sixth Edition. New York: Published by A. S. Barnes & Co. Cincinnati: H. W. Derby & Co. 1855
Prayer for Transformation of the Past
O LOVE unspeakable and full of glory, whose majesty is not to destroy, but to save, save me from myself.
My past relentlessly pursues me. Days that I thought dead live over again; deeds that I deemed buried meet me on the way; be You my rearward, O my God.
Fill up that which my life has left behind, undo that which my life has done amiss. Repair the places I have wasted, bind the hearts I have wounded, dry the eyes I have flooded. Make the evil I have done to work for good, so that I myself would not know it. Overrule the acts I did in malice; weave them into Your divine mosaic, that my very wrath may be made to praise You.
Take up my yesterdays into Your own golden light, and transfigure them there, that I may learn with joyful surprise how even against my will I was laboring together with You; so shall my former self find me no more. Amen.
Meditation: Atonement for past sins is every man’s duty.
If the past has already been to you one of wasted opportunities and neglected responsibilities, though it is too late to undo, let us feel that it is not too late to do with redoubled energy what yet remains to be done.
To shake off the lethargy of spiritual indifference, to renounce all unmanly and ignoble selfishness, to respond to the call of duty, to begin a life of earnest, active beneficence, to crowd our days with deeds, and, God helping us, in what remains of life to be as good and to do as much good as we can – for this at least it is not too late.
The harvest indeed is past, the summer is over and gone! Gone are the sweet days of innocence, gone the vernal time of youthful ardor, gone the sunny harvest hours of manhood’s effort and activity! But, oh, still happy you are, if when the sands of life are running out, in that supreme moment when earth and earthly things shall be passing forever from your sight, you can look back on this last period of your earthly probation with the blessed consciousness that, that at least has not been given in vain.
And may God forbid that when the last comes to the last, as we lie waiting the inevitable summons, it should be with the terrible conviction that for all the higher purposes of existence, for all the ends for which God has given us our life, our life has been a failure, a failure for which there is now no place of repentance. — John Caird
O LORD, our Heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought us to the Beginning of this Day; defend us in the same with Your Mighty Power, and grant that this Day we fall into no Sin, neither run into any Kind of Danger; but that all our Doings may be ordered by Your Governance, to do always what is righteous in Your Sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
O Righteous Lord, who hates iniquity, I your sinful creature cast myself at your feet, acknowledging that I most justly deserve to be utterly abhorred and forsaken by You; for I have drunk iniquity like water, gone on in a continued course of sin and rebellion against you, daily committed those things you forbidden and leaving undone those things you Commanded; my heart which should be a habitation for Your Holy Spirit, is become the seat of unclean thoughts, of soul and disordered affections and out of this abundance of the heart, my mouth speaks, my hands act; so that in thought, word and deed I continually transgress against you. Nay, O Lord, I have despised that goodness of Yours which should lead me to repentance, hardening my heart against all those means You have used for my amendment. Now, O Lord, what can I expect from You but judgment and fiery indignation, that is, indeed, the due reward of my sins? But, O Lord, there is mercy with you, that you may be feared; O fit me for that mercy, by giving me a deep and hearty repentance; and then according to Your goodness, let Your anger and Your wrath be turned away from me: look upon me in Your Son, my blessed Savior, and for the merit of His sufferings pardon all my sins. And, Lord, I beseech you, by the power of Your grace, so to renew and purify my heart, that I may become a new creature, utterly forsaking every evil way and living in a constant sincere universal obedience to You all the rest of my days; that, behaving myself as a good and faithful servant, I may by Your mercy at the last be received into the joy of my Lord. Grant this for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Taken out of the whole Duty of Man.]
We thank You, Lord our God and universal Ruler, for that You have created light and darkness, and caused them to alternate to the well-being of all Your creatures. For it is Your power gives light to the earth and to them that dwell thereon, renewing day by day the wonders of creation. How manifold are Your works, O God! and You have formed them all in consummate wisdom, the earth is full of Your bounties. The origin of all things proclaims Your greatness, so that from aforetime You are praised and glorified by Your works. Lord of the Universe, let Your love always rule upon us. that we may never cease to tender our dutiful gratitude to You as the Lord of our strength, the rock of our refuge, our shield and our salvation.
Accept our humble thanks, Almighty Ruler, for the Majesty of Your handiwork and for the beautiful luminaries of the skies You have formed.
In Your all-encompassing love, O God, You have revealed Yourself to us, Your people; Your majesty and Your glory to us are clear. To our ancestors You gave precepts of life, You also extend Your mercy by making us receptive to them. All-merciful Father, inspire our hearts with affection and earnest zeal for knowledge and perception, that we may lovingly cleave to the teachings of Your law, understand them and esteem them, learn and teach them, observe and do them in affectionate devotion. Enlighten our eyes in Your law, confirm our hearts in Your precepts and let us unite, in the love of You and reverence for Your name, with all our fellowmen. In Your great and holy name we trust that You will give us with Your salvation and we will rejoice. For You are the source of all enlightenment, and You have chosen us of all races and nations to come nearest to You in the knowledge of Your being, and to proclaim You, One forever and indivisibly One. Be praised then, O God, our Lord and universal Ruler, for You have chosen us in love, to preach You and to praise You. Amen.
Book: Jewish Home Prayer Book (1887)
IN GOD’S IMAGE.
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
—Gen. 1: 26,27.
What a stupendous fact! Man created in the image of God! How few seem to grasp its significance! What light it throws on the great problems of human life! What a wide chasm it makes between man and all lower orders of created being! Here is a base fact without which there can be no true theology or anthropology. Surely here is sacred ground. Let us remove the sandals from our feet while we meditate reverently on the meaning of this marvelous truth. With bowed heads let us invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit while we seek to understand the lesson contained in these wonderful words.
“Let us make man in our image, after Our likeness.” This is the divine counsel and purpose which lies back of the great mystery of human life and. all its pages of tragic history. It is a purpose formed deliberately and in full view of all its mighty consequences—sin, suffering, sorrow, conflict, death, the incarnation, Gethsemane, Calvary, the open Sepulcher, redemption! “God is love.” Out of all this struggle, discord and misery, then, there are to flow results which will more than vindicate the wisdom and goodness of God. Let this sweet reflection comfort our hearts until life’s conflicts shall issue in eternal peace.
“And God created man in His own image.” Is it possible for the human mind to reach the pinnacle of thought which these words suggest? Not now; but let us pause reverently before them and seek a nearer approach to their full meaning. It cannot be that in His bodily or fleshly nature man is created in God’s image, for God is spirit. The human body is not man, nor any essential part of man. The man exists when His body returns to dust whence it came. It is the condition of man’s earthly existence. It is the house of clay in which the real man dwells for the time. “What, then, is the real man which no mortal eye has ever seen? Is it not the conscious, intelligent ego, that which thinks, chooses, apprehends moral motives, discerns between right and wrong and determines what motives shall influence its action? If so, then man is created in God’s image, (1) intellectually, (2) morally, (3) volitionally. The proof of this is supplied in every man’s own consciousness, in connection with God’s written revelation of His will and character.
That man is created in God’s image in His mental constitution is evidenced by the fact that He can “think God’s thoughts after Him,” as Kepler has so finely said. God’s thoughts are manifest in all the arrangements of the material universe. Everywhere there is plan, method, adaptation, design—the manifestations of the divine mind. Man can see, appreciate and make practical use of these thoughts of God. If His mind were not in the image of God, this would not be possible. God reasons with men and communicates His will to them on the basis of this likeness. Of what use could the ten commandments be to a tribe of chattering apes, or a village of prairie dogs? God can not convey such truths to these lower orders of creation, because there is nothing in their nature to apprehend such thoughts. A man can convey thoughts to the mind of His prattling child that can by no means be conveyed to the most sagacious of beasts, because the child is in His own mental image and the beast is not. There are, of course, thoughts which we cannot communicate to the undeveloped, mind of our children, just as there are truths which God cannot reveal to the greatest intellects on earth, because they are not yet able to receive them. Likeness does not imply equality, but it does open up possibilities of limitless progress.
The proof that man’s moral nature is after the pattern of God’s, may be found in the fact that man approves the moral law of God., however much He may violate it. Nor does He wait until some future judgment for an accuser. His own conscience—God’s vice regent in the human breast, as someone has called it— the reflection of God’s moral nature within man—is His accuser. With the majesty and authority of a supreme judge, it passes sentence on us when we violate that law and approves us when we yield obedience to it. When God says, “ You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” 44 You shall not murder,” etc., man’s moral nature approves these expressions of the eternal law of right. If man’s moral nature were unlike that of God, this would not be the case. In that event a man might violate the moral law of God while acting in perfect harmony with the moral law of His own nature. This would destroy all idea of personal accountability, and render a judgment day impossible. The basis of man’s accountability to God is the likeness of His moral nature to that of God. But if man be created in the moral image of God, marred though that image be by sin, what glorious possibilities of righteousness and holiness are open before Him, and what fearful responsibility rests on Him who debauches that nature!
That man is endowed with will, and has the power of choosing, is at once His crown of glory and His chief danger. God wills and it is done. His will is the law of the universe. When He made man in His own image, He clothed Him with the sublime and fearful prerogative of determining His own destiny—of choosing between motives. Confused with the subtle discussions of the schoolmen about “free will and necessity,” we turn to our own consciousness as a witness, and it testifies that every day and every hour, of our conscious existence, we are choosing between motives and deciding between this and that course of action. And when under the blinding influence of passion, appetite or ambition, we yield to the lower instead of the higher motive, no plausible fallacy about the necessity that controlled our action suffices to protect us against the accusations of our conscience. We feel and recognize our guilt. We had the power to choose otherwise and we know it, else there would be no consciousness of guilt. All this is assumed, too, in the provisions which God has made for man’s salvation. As sin is a matter of choice, so is salvation. God saves no man against His will. “ Choose ye this day whom ye will serve,” is His command in all times and to all peoples. Christ does not cross the threshold of man’s volition uninvited. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to Him, and will sup with Him and He with me.” Rev. 3:21
Here, then, is the solution of the dark problem of the origin of sin, so far as it is given us to know it. It is the abuse of freedom —of the power of choice. Here, too, is the great underlying reason of the incarnation and of the cross. The world must have a more perfect representation of God than the sinning race exhibited. Christ came as “the effulgence of His glory and the very image of His substance.” Heb 1:3 Man, a moral being, and a free, self-determining agent, must be won to God by moral motives. The stubborn will must be conquered by supreme love. Hence Gethsemane and Calvary. Why did God not save man by His naked omnipotence, without the awful tragedy of the cross? Because God created man in His own image, and such a being must be wooed and won by love, not driven by force.
In the light of these truths I can answer the question asked by David, who, on surveying the magnitude of the material universe, was led to inquire,
“ What is man that You are mindful of Him, And the Son of man that You visit Him?” Ps 8:4
What is He? He is God’s child—in His own image. That is why He is mindful of Him, and why He has visited Him in the person of Jesus Christ. My own parental heart teaches me why God would spare no effort to save His lost and erring children. O how this magnifies the cross and honors man!
O my soul, consider well Your high origin, the image which You wear, and weigh the responsibilities which come with such high endowments! Here, in the hush of this solemn stillness, alone with God, let me hear Your loving voice, dear Savior, and open the door of my heart and let You in, that I may sup with You and You with me!
Book: Alone with God
Author: Br. James H. Garrison
Publisher: St. Louis: Christian Publishing Company 1891
Almighty God, our most gracious heavenly Father, when I consider with what powers and capacities You endowed Your creature, man, and for what high and holy service You have qualified Him, I am filled with shame and confusion at the remembrance of all my sins and short-comings. I confess before You, my transgressions, and all my faults and frailties, and beseech You, in the name of Your well- beloved Son, to grant me Your pardoning mercy and sustaining grace. I thank You for all my bodily and mental faculties, and especially for that moral nature which most allies me to You, and which I have so much abused. I bless Your holy name that You pity us, in our fallen condition, and send us Your only begotten Son, full of grace and truth, through whom we regain fellowship with You. Lord have our sinful nature renewed, and enter into Your most blessed service. O God, be pleased to so quicken me by Your Spirit, and uphold me, by Your right hand, that I may fill the purpose for which You have created me. Help me to use diligently all the means of grace which You have provided, and so grow continually both in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Enable me to see the folly and the emptiness of all earthly allurements which would draw me away from You. Help me to understand more fully that, created as I am in Your image, You alone can satisfy the needs of my soul. May this thought of the dignity and worth of a human soul not only lead me to more earnest efforts for my own salvation, but may it give me far greater concern for the salvation of others. O You blessed Savior, who stooped from heaven to earth, and drank the bitter cup of death, for sinful and lost humanity, infuse me with more of Your spirit, that I may be willing to enter into the fellowship of Your sufferings and do all in my power for the salvation of my fellow-men! And finally, O Father, when we have finished the work You have given us to do, and it seems good to You to call us home, give us, we beseech You, an abundant entrance into Your everlasting kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Book: Alone with God
Author: Br. James H. Garrison
Publisher: St. Louis: Christian Publishing Company 1891
O God who hears prayer, bend low Your ear to hear the faintest whisper of one of the weakest of Your children. I come to You, O loving Father, because You have bid me come, and because I feel my need of You. You, O God, You alone can supply my needs. I am unworthy of the least of Your mercies, but I come in the name of Jesus, and beseech You, for His dear sake, to hear and answer my prayer, and to accept my thanksgiving and praise, which I offer in His name.
I thank You, most gracious Father, that You have called me into fellowship with You and with Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. I thank You for a place in Your family, and the privilege of calling You Father, and feeling that You care for me, even me.
Now, I ask You, to grant that I may hunger and thirst after righteousness; that I may seek daily to feed on the divine manna which came down from heaven. O that my soul may be watered with the dew’s of Your salvation! As You nourish all the living things of nature and cause them to grow, so, O Lord, will You nourish this soul of mine which You have created. Lord stir up within me new thoughts of duty and new desires of holiness. Cause me to delight in Your word, in Your house, in the communion of saints, in the fellowship of Christian work, and in prayer. May I learn to love and to look forward to these precious moments of communion with You, where I can find the grace and strength for my daily need.
In the plenitude of Your mercy, O Father, forgive my past sins and strengthen me with might by Your Spirit in the inner man, that I may overcome all my evil inclinations and triumph over every evil habit. So feeding on Your word, meditating on Your goodness, and communing with You, may I grow up into the image of Him who is our living head, even Jesus Christ. And this I ask for His name’s sake. Amen!
Book: Alone with God
Author: Br. James H. Garrison
Publisher: St. Louis: Christian Publishing Company 1891
O LORD, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Your praise.
Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to You.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
O God, make speed to save us: O Lord, make haste to help us
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
O God, whose mercies fail not, but are new every morning, pardon the sins that I have committed against You, in thought, word, and deed; make me to be sorry for them with the godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation; put far from me all evil ways and works; save me from the enemy of my soul; and grant me Your peace all the days of my life; through our only Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
O Lord, I give thanks to You, for You have kept me in the past night from all evils, bodily and spiritual; and I beseech You for Your mercies’ sake, to raise me up at the Last Day to life everlasting. Give me grace, now in the time of this mortal life, to cast off the works of darkness, and to walk as a child of the light; and do You preserve me this day from all sin, from all perils and dangers, for Jesus Christ’s sake.
I commend to You, 0 Lord, my soul and my body, my thoughts, words, and works, my life and my death: the Church and my pastor, my parents and relations, [here name them, and any for whom you wish to pray,’] and all the world.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Amen
If you have time, read some verses of the Bible, or a Psalm from the Psalter, or a Hymn. But never omit to pray
Behold, O my God, I am the man who went down to Jericho and fell among thieves; sorely have they wounded me and left me lying half-dead. Come, Lord, You faithful Helper, raise me up and heal me.
I have sinned heavily in my whole conduct, and done evil in Your sight; I have not exercised myself in the knowledge of You; I have been unthankful for Your many benefits, and have not praised Your name rightly. Often and in many ways have I abstained from uttering Your truths, and when You have stood and knocked at the door of my heart I have been slothful, and have not welcomed You as I ought. This body, which fades like a shadow, and shall be the food of worms, I have cherished too much; I have defiled my lips with unseemly words, and I have been negligent and careless about Your wholesome Word. I have not ever and always turned away my eyes from beholding vanity, nor kept my ears from listening to unprofitable things. Many a time my hands have not served my neighbor in his need, while my feet were swift to evil. Need I say more, my God? From the crown of my head to the sole of my feet there is no health in me.
Ah! my Lord Jesus, have You not died for me on the Cross, and redeemed me, my soul must have perished forever; but now I am a partaker, O merciful Lord, in Your great salvation. Do not reject me, my Savior, for I among those whom You have so dearly purchased with Your precious blood. Behold, I am a wandering sheep, seek me, You good Shepherd, and bear me home to Your fold, according to Your promise. You have promised, to be my Helper. I believe in You, Sweet Jesus. For it is written that whenever a poor sinner shall sigh unto You You will hearken unto him. Now see how humbly I mourn and acknowledge my sins, which are ever before me. In truth, I am not worthy to be called Your son, yet make me, my Savior, to hear joy and gladness, and not to turn Your face from me.
O You Son of the Living God, Only Begotten of Your Father before all worlds! Blessed are those who love You and desire naught else; blessed are those who daily remember You and keep Your ways unto their life’s end. O Holy Bread of Heaven, how rich and bounteous are You; how overflowing are Your gifts! For You exclude no man unless it be that he despises You and refuses to come to You. Is anyone young and small, let him come boldly to You and eat, and he will grow and increase; he will put away his childish mind, and walk in the paths of true wisdom. Is any yet weak, let him hasten to You and eat and he shall soon wax strong. Is any sick, he shall be relieved. Is any dead in sins, let him but hearken to You and he shall attain everlasting life. And though one be strong and full grown, yet will he perceive that he is still in need of many things, and in You will he find abundantly that whereby he may daily increase in them. None can live a moment without You, for it is You alone who give life to all creatures.
O God, the joy and consolation of my heart, my soul is glad in You, and my spirit has a desire for You; for all who turn away from You must pine forever. O You true and invisible Light which never can be quenched, behold me sitting like a poor blind man beside the way, and crying unto You, “ Jesus, You Son of David, have mercy upon me, open the eyes of my soul, that I may see You! Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. You are my Help and my Confidence, oh lead me unto eternal salvation! Lord, You are my physician, heal me! I am naked, and suffer cold, O You rich Lord, cover me with the mantle of Your righteousness. My soul hungers in this desert. O Lord, the true Food, quicken my heart. My soul is thirsty. Lord, You are the true healing Spring, water and refresh my spirit with Your wholesome comfort. I have come into the deep mire, and my strength fails me; I am far out on the seas, and the floods threaten to swallow me up. I have cried till I am weary and hoarse, and the waters of death are coming into my very soul. Save me, O Lord, my Shield, my Deliverer, my Comfort, my Refuge, my Strength, my King and my God, for Your mercies’ sake. Amen
|St. Jerome 329-420 – A Father of the Latin Church, born in Dalmatia, died at Bethlehem. His Latin version of the Old Testament, from the original language, was the foundation of the Vulgate|
Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
our light and our salvation,
to you be glory and praise for ever.
Now, as darkness is falling,
wash away our transgressions,
cleanse us by your refining fire
and make us temples of your Holy Spirit.
By the light of Christ,
dispel the darkness of our hearts
and make us ready to enter your kingdom,
where songs of praise for ever sound.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Book of Common Prayer
O Lord Almighty, God of hosts and of all flesh, dwelling in the highest, caring for the humble, searching the reins and the heart, and clearly discerning the hidden things of men – O ever-existing Light, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. O immortal King, accept our prayers which we offer to Thee at this present time from our soiled lips, trusting in the multitude of Thy bounties – forgive us our transgressions which we have committed knowingly or unknowingly, whether in word or deed or thought; cleanse us from all stain of body and soul. Grant us to pass through all the night of this present life with vigilant heart and sober thought, awaiting the coming of the radiant and manifest Day of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, on which the judgment of all men shall come with glory, when to each man shall be given the reward of his deeds. May we not fall and become lazy, but instead have courage that, being roused to action, we may be found ready to enter into the joy and the divine bride-chamber of His glory, where the voice of those who feast is unceasing, and the gladness of those who behold the goodness of Thy countenance is unending. For Thou art the True light Who enlightens and sanctifies us, and all creation sings Thy praise forever. Amen.- Orthodox Prayer to God the Father
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”–PHIL. 4:19
O GOD, my Heavenly Father, who has permitted me to see the light and to enjoy the comforts of a new day, I bless You for the liberty of access into Your presence. Bend Your heavens and come down; fill my heart with Your love, as I draw near to the footstool of Your Throne. I thank You for Your gracious assurance that these Gates of Prayer lead to an abounding treasury of spiritual blessing, out of which all my need shall be supplied.
In Jesus, my adorable Redeemer, infinite fullness dwells; and out of His fullness —the riches of Your glory in Him —You are willing to impart even grace for grace. You have supplied all my need in the past. You have been a bountiful, and a wise Provider; presenting me with the blessings of Your goodness, and giving help from trouble, when vain was the help of man. I look to You for guidance and direction in the future. That future is veiled and hidden but it is in Your better keeping. I would say, in simple confiding faith, “Undertake for me.” Hitherto have You been true to Your unfailing promise “As Your day is, so shall Your strength be;” and over every coming need and exigency I may well write “Jehovah Jireh,” “The Lord will provide.”
Supply that need this day. If called to do battle with evil, let me go forth in Your might, prepared for the conflict. Strengthen me with Your Good Spirit: fortify me against every temptation. In the extremity of my own weakness, may I lean on Your Almighty arm. You hold me up, and I shall be safe. Preserve me from the world’s insinuating, seductive power, and from the treachery and deceitfulness of my own evil heart. Order my steps in Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.
In the discharge of duty, may it be my effort and endeavor to subordinate the secular to the sacred. Keep me ever roused from the low dream of earth, to see, as in the patriarch’s dream, the ladder of God. May Your providence’s be as angels traveling up and down that ladder, and beckoning me nearer to You.” Keep me from whatever would be detrimental to my spiritual interests: from all avarice and selfishness; from all malice and uncharitableness; from all indolence and sloth; from putting off till tomorrow what can be best done, and may only be done, today. If You have given me of this world’s goods, may I seek to be a generous almoner of Your bounties. If silver and gold I have none, may I give You the consecration of the heart, and the answer of the life; knowing that You accept according to that a man has, not according to what he has not. Forbid that my talent, be what it may, should be hid in the earth. May I ever listen to the prompting “How much You owe Your Lord?” and with a quickened sense of my responsibilities to You the Great Creditor, may I be diligent, that I may be found of You in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Supply the need of those whom I love. Wherever my friends are, O You ever-present God, protect and defend them by Your mighty power. If You send them prosperity, keep them from being intoxicated with it: if You send adversity, keep them from being unduly depressed by it. Enrich them with the blessings of Your covenant grace. May we all be bound up together, on the great reaping day of Judgment, in the same bundle of life.
Supply the need of those who are in sorrow. When human cisterns are emptied and human props removed, may they know You as the Portion that cannot be taken from them. May they honor You by being dumb in the midst of perplexing dealings —recognizing these as the ministers of Your will, sent on a mission of wisdom and mercy, and that while they are only planning for time, You are planning for Eternity. May they trust Your sure word of promise, that though now they may see through a glass darkly, —when death shall have rent with his wing the obstructing cloud, in Your light they shall see light. May the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, direct their hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
Bless the nations of the earth. Hasten the day when the nameless wrongs of a now groaning and travailing creation shall be redressed when all heathen shrines shall be demolished; when will-worship and superstition shall cease. Turn the world’s sighing’s into songs of gladness. Cause its sinful unbelief, the lust and tyranny of passion, the twin curse of slavery and war, to yield to the benign scepter of the Prince of Peace. Increase the ministry of holy lives, and loving deeds. Purify Your churches more and more. Stimulate them to greater energy in Your service. As witnesses for You may they seek with augmented and ever increasing fidelity to show forth the Word of life: and may Your faithful ministers enjoy at last the blessed testimony, that they have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
Listen to these my humble prayers, and when You hear forgive and grant me an answer in peace for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen.
The Gates of Prayer
By John Ross MacDuff
Ο Lord, be our protection, for You are our redemption. Direct our minds by Your gracious Presence, and watch over our paths with guiding love; that among the snares which lie hidden in the path in which we walk, we may so pass onward with hearts fixed on You, that by the journey of faith we may come to be where You would have us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Mozarabic Liturgy, A.D. 700.)