A PRAYER FOR THE GRACE OF DEVOTION
Thomas a Kempis
"O Lord my God, You are all my good. And who am I that I should dare to speak to You? I am Your poorest and meanest servant, a vile worm, much more poor and contemptible than I know or dare to say. Yet remember me, Lord, because I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing. You alone are good, just, and holy. You can do all things, You give all things, You fill all things: only the sinner do You leave empty-handed. Remember Your tender mercies and fill my heart with Your grace, You Who will not allow Your works to be in vain. How can I bear this life of misery unless You comfort me with Your mercy and grace? Do not turn Your face from me. Do not delay Your visitation. Do not withdraw Your consolation, lest in Your sight my soul become as desert land. Teach me, Lord, to do Your will. Teach me to live worthily and humbly in Your sight, for You are my wisdom Who know me truly, and Who knew me even before the world was made and before I was born into it."
I know not what today, or tomorrow, holds only that I desire to do your will. I dare not trust my own selfish desires for they bring me only grief and pain. You alone are my good, You alone are life to me, You alone are the Giver, the Sustainer, the Fulfiller and my greatest Treasure. When I desire you above all earthly joys, You allow Yourself to be found and in finding there is great joy, as one finding a hidden treasure. I am slow in pursuing the Eternal, and quick to chase the fleeting. Continue your faithfulness to me, show Yourself tangibly to me, that I grow not weary in following You. Give me wisdom to understand things beyond my years. May I suffer long with others as You have with me. Give me strong convictions for Your purposes, grace in my preferences and clarity of distinction. May I live with others peacefully, in an understanding way, and yet fight for Your Word.
This prayer is too much for me to become, yet You will accomplish your purposes in those who humbly seek Your will. May this year be a year of growth, marked by humility, unity, sacrifice, steadfastness, prayer for Your will to be done in my life and in the lives of others and a clear focus on the Prize; The Prince of Life, my Ransom, The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, The Great I Am, the Joy of Heaven. May I have my eyes and heart focused on You and my hands doing the work that You have ordained.
2 Puritan Prayers
Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plow deep in me, great Lord, Heavenly Husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.
God of my end, it is my greatest, noblest pleasure to be acquainted with Thee and with my rational, immortal soul; it is sweet and entertaining to look into my being when all my powers and passions are united and engaged in pursuit of Thee, when my soul longs and passionately breathes after conformity to Thee and the full enjoyment of Thee; no hours pass away with so much pleasure as those spent in communion with Thee and with my heart.
O how desirable, how profitable to the Christian life is a spirit of holy watchfulness and godly jealousy over myself when my soul is afraid of nothing except grieving and offending Thee, the blessed God, my Father and friend, whom I then love and long to please, rather than be happy in myself! Knowing, as I do, that this is the pious temper, worthy of the highest ambition, and closest pursuit of intelligent creatures and holy Christians, may my joy derive from glorifying and delighting Thee. I long to fill all my time for Thee, whether at home or in the way; to place all my concerns in Thy hands; to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own. Help me to live to Thee for ever, to make Thee my last and only end, so that I may never more in one instance love my sinful self.