1242) Morning and Evening Prayer (jb2)

From my favorite book of prayers, A Diary of Private Prayer, 1949, by John Baillie, Church of Scotland pastor and theologian, (1886-1960); containing a morning and evening prayer for thirty-one days (adapted).

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MORNING PRAYER  (Sixth Day)

O God, who has proven Thy love for mankind by sending us Jesus Christ our Lord, and has illumined our human life by the radiance of His presence, I give Thee thanks for this Thy greatest gift.

For my Lord’s days upon earth;

For the record of His deeds of love;

For the words He spoke for my guidance and help;

For His obedience unto death;

For His triumph over death;

For the presence of His Spirit with me now;

I thank thee, O God.

Grant that the remembrance of the blessed Life that once was lived out on this common earth under these ordinary skies may remain with me in all the tasks and duties of this day.  Let me remember:

His eagerness, not to be served, but to serve;

His sympathy with suffering of every kind;

His bravery in the face of His own suffering;

His meekness of bearing, so that, when reviled, He did not revile in return;

His steadiness of purpose in keeping to His appointed task;

His simplicity, self-discipline, and serenity of spirit;

His complete reliance upon Thee, His Father in Heaven.

In each of these ways give me grace to follow in his footsteps.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I commit all my ways unto Thee.  I turn my soul over to Thy keeping.  I pledge my life to Thy service.  May this day be for me a day of obedience and of charity, a day of happiness and of peace.  May all my walk and conversation be such as becomes the gospel of Christ.  Amen.

Jesus Praying in the Desert

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EVENING PRAYER  (Twenty-first Day)

O Thou Creator of all things that are, I lift up my heart in gratitude to Thee for this day’s happiness:

For the mere joy of living;
For all the sights and sounds around me;
For the sweet peace of the country and the pleasant bustle of the town;
For all things bright and beautiful and happy;
For friendship and good company;
For work to perform and the skill and strength to perform it;
For a time to play when the day’s work was done, and for health and a glad heart to enjoy it.

Yet let me never think, O eternal Father, that I am here to stay.  Let me still remember that I am a stranger and pilgrim on the earth.  For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.  Preserve me by Thy grace, good Lord, from so losing myself in the joys of earth that I may have no longing left for the purer joys of heaven.  Let not the happiness of this day become a snare to my too worldly heart.  And if, instead of happiness, I have to-day suffered any disappointment or defeat, if there has been any sorrow where I had hoped for joy, or sickness where I had looked for health, give me grace to accept it from Thy hand as a loving reminder that this is not my home.

I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast so set eternity within my heart that no earthly thing can ever, satisfy me wholly.  I thank Thee that every present joy is so mixed with sadness and unrest as to lead my mind upwards to the contemplation of a more perfect blessedness.  And above all I thank Thee for the sure hope and promise of an endless life which Thou hast given me in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

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Philippians 2:1-5  —  Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Ecclesiastes 3:11a  —  God has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart.

Hebrews 11:13-16  —  All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country— a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.