John MacDuff, 1856
19 July, 2013
A Prayer for Gratitude of the Past!
John MacDuff, 1856
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all His benefits!" Psalm 103:2
O God Almighty, draw near to me at this time in Your great mercy - and accept my evening sacrifice! I bless You for all that gladdens my earthly lot - for food and clothing, for friends and home, for health of body and soundness of mind. Lord, I delight to trace the wondrous way by which You have hitherto led me! You have compassed my path, and my lying down. You have supplied my ever-recurring necessities. My needs have been infinite - but infinite too has been Your gracious supply. With a grateful heart I would set up my Ebenezer, saying, "Hitherto has the Lord helped me!" And remembering Your faithfulness in the past - I would confidently trust You for the future.
May I thankfully employ the manifold gifts of Your bounty. Impress upon me the feeling that I am but a steward, responsible to You for all that I possess. Let me not selfishly appropriate the varied means of usefulness which you have put within my power - but willingly employ these in Your service for the good of others. When You come to demand a reckoning - may I be able to give a faithful account of my stewardship, paying You Your own, with interest.
O my Father, while I bless You for the other proofs and tokens of Your love - far above all would I bless You for Jesus! Where would I have been this night but for Him? How dreary would have been the past! How dismal and hopeless the future! Thanks, eternal thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift! Let me feel, more than I have done, the exceeding riches of Your grace - in Your kindness toward me through Christ Jesus. Let all Your dealings only serve to confirm my love to Him, and to lead me to cleave to Him with fuller purpose of heart. May he have my undivided homage. Let no earthly gift or blessing - supplant the Giver. May every rill of temporal bliss be doubly precious to me - as flowing from Christ's atoning sacrifice!
I rejoice in the midst of trial and perplexity - to think of You, the tried and suffering One. I rejoice that amid my sorrows - I can remember Yours, that amid my very tears - I can remember Jesus wept. You can enter into all the peculiarities of Your people's case, for You were in "all points tempted."
Let me feel, even amid the troublous changes of life, that what I am apt to call painful vicissitudes - are the sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom! What I cannot now comprehend - be it mine to wait the disclosures of that blessed morning when, standing at the luminous portals of Heaven, I shall joyfully acknowledge that, "You have done all things well!"
Bless my beloved friends; may they be growing in your fear and favor; may they all at last, as sheaves in your heavenly garner - be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
I commend myself, gracious God, to Your care; let me retire to rest this night in the blessed consciousness of Your favor; and if spared to see the light of a new day, fit me for whatever You have in store for me. And all I ask is for Jesus' sake. Amen.
"Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense - and the lifting up of my hands, as the evening sacrifice."