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. Older copies of the book are available from Amazon at ten to twenty dollars. A new paraphrase by Susanna Wright is published by Simon and Schuster for $15.99 (I prefer Baillie’s original wording, but Wright’s may be more readable). As one of my old seminary professors used to say of his favorite book: “Buy this book. I don’t care if you don’t have any money. Sell your shoes if you have to, but buy this book.”
MORNING PRAYER; Eighth Day (adapted):
O God, who in love and pity sent us Jesus Christ to lighten our darkness, give me wisdom to profit by the words He spoke, and grace to follow in the steps He trod.
Jesus Christ said, “When you pray, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them.” O God, give me grace now so to do.
Jesus Christ said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” O God, give me grace today to think not of what I can get, but of what I can give.
Jesus Christ said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” O God, grant that what I give may be given without self-congratulation, and without thought of praise or reward.
Jesus Christ said, “Enter through the narrow gate.” O God, give me grace this day to keep to the narrow path of duty and honorable dealing.
Jesus Christ said, “Judge not.” O God, give me grace this day first to take the log from my own eye, before I regard the speck that is in my brother’s eye.
Jesus Christ said, “What will it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” O God, give me grace so to live this day that, whatever else I lose, I may not lose my soul. Amen.
EVENING PRAYER; Fourth Day (adapted):
O Lord, before whose eyes all human hearts lie bare and open, forbid that I should seek to hide from Thee anything that I have this day done or thought or imagined. What must forever be hidden from the knowledge of others, let me now openly acknowledge in Thy presence. What no proper shame kept me from committing, let no false shame keep me now from confessing.
O Lord, whose tender mercies are over all Thy works, humbly and sorrowfully I crave Thy forgiveness for the sins of this day:
For every weakening and defiling thought to which my mind has given harbor…
For every word spoken in haste or anger…
For every failure of self-control…
For every stumbling-block which by deed or example I have set in another’s way…
For every opportunity lost…
For every blessing thanklessly received…
For loitering feet and a procrastinating will…
And for _____________ …
Grant that as the days go by, Thy Spirit may more and more rule in my heart, giving me victory over these and all other sinful ways.
To Thy loving guardianship, O heavenly Father, I commend all those who are dear to me, especially ___________…
Bless all those among whom my lot is cast, and grant them a satisfying sense of Thy reality and power. Be with all those who this night are in any peril or distress. Be in every sore heart, in every stricken home, beside every bed of pain, giving to all the blessing of Thy peace. Amen.
Psalm 88:13 — I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Psalm 55:16-17 — As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
Psalm 32:5 — Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.