Starting yesterday evening I began using A Book of Private Prayer for Morning and Evening in my personal devotions, and plan to continue until I have completed it and then shift to one of the other books. I have been blessed many times in my reading of Arthur Bennett's compilation of Puritan Prayers, Valley of Vision, and find much of the same richness in MacDuff.
This is what I read this morning:
"To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
And He said unto them, When you pray, say —
MY FATHER in heaven, who through Your dear Son have given us power to become Your sons, help me to draw near to You this morning with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, seeking and receiving that blessing of Yours, which makes rich and adds no sorrow with it.
You are forever the same. Vicissitude may be impressed on all around me. The fondest affections may be dimmed or alienated: trusted friends may grow faithless. But You are forever the same.
With gratitude and thankfulness I can trace, in the retrospect of the past, Your gracious footsteps. The way I have hitherto traversed, has been paved with kindness. May I see in every temporal mercy, the image and superscription of Your love. All which gladdens and sweetens my lot, emanates from the cross of Jesus. He who spared not His own Son, has with Him also freely given me all things. Realizing my filial relation, may I have grace given me to "believe on His name." Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! May I "receive" Jesus with a hearty and unhesitating faith in His varied offices, as my Prophet, Priest, and King — the Prophet to teach me; the Priest to intercede for me; the King to reign over and within me, bringing every high thought and lofty imagination, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Amid conscious weakness and infirmity, I rely on Your grace and guidance in all the diverse experiences of life; and at last to be presented faultless before the presence of Your glory with exceeding joy!
Look in kindness on those in whom I am interested, and for whom it is alike my duty and privilege to pray. Bring into the way of truth, all such as have erred or are deceived. Have mercy on those who may have fallen wounded in the battle, or who may have turned faint-hearted in the hour of conflict. Restore unto them, the joys of Your salvation, and uphold them with Your free Spirit.
Pity and relieve Your suffering and sorrowing ones, according to their several necessities. Give them the heritage of those who fear Your name. May the thought of the coming glory and its unspeakable joys, reconcile them to the tribulations of the present world.
Have compassion on the whole world. Hasten that predicted time when all kings shall fall down before You; when all nations shall serve You; when they shall bring gold and incense, and shall show forth the praises of the Lord. Saturate Your faithful ministering servants with the healthful Spirit of Your grace, and pour upon them the continual dew of Your blessing.
Help me this day in the engagements of life. May love to You and a desire to glorify Your name, be intermingled with all I think, or say, or do. Whether I live, may I live unto the Lord; or whether I die, may I die unto the Lord; living or dying, may I be Yours! Thus fitted for duty and prepared for trial, with filial reverence and confidence, I would sum up my petitions by calling You— "MY Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. May Your kingdom come. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."Notice that this prayer is so different from most of what we offer in prayer. All too often our prayer consists of a laundry list of wants for ourselves and others. While this prayer recognizes the need for petition (Look in kindness on those in whom I am interested, and for whom it is alike my duty and privilege to pray... , Pity and relieve Your suffering and sorrowing ones...), it does not remain there indefinately. Rather there is an overarching concern for the glory and will of God, a desire for His Kingdom: Help me this day in the engagements of life. May love to You and a desire to glorify Your name, be intermingled with all I think, or say, or do. Whether I live, may I live unto the Lord; or whether I die, may I die unto the Lord; living or dying, may I be Yours!
Lord, teach us to pray.