534) A Few Good Prayers

MORNING PRAYER of John Stott  (1921-2011):

Good morning, Heavenly Father; good morning, Lord Jesus; good morning, Holy Spirit.  Heavenly Father, I worship you, creator and sustainer of the universe.  Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.  Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. 

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more.  Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.  Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me.  Amen.

     John Stott was an Anglican priest, and for many decades, a leader in the worldwide Evangelical movement.  Stott prayed this prayer every morning for much of his life.  The prayer address all three persons of the Trinity, emphasizing this central Christian understanding of God.  I like the familiarity with which God is addressed (‘good morning!’), and yet the focus is on reverent praise for God’s almighty majesty as Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier.  The prayer also includes requests for the faith and ability to live better, more obedient, lives, and, a plea for mercy for our inevitable failures.  It is a wonderful prayer and it has become a part of my own daily morning prayers.

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A MEALTIME PRAYER by John Stott:

Dear God,
In a world that is hungry, we thank you for good food;
In a world that is lonely, we thank you for good friends;
In a world that is getting ever darker, we thank you for the light of Christ.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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A PRAYER FOR A BUSY DAY:

Lord, I shall be verie busy this day.
I may forget Thee, but do not forget me.

–Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652) on October 23, 1652
before the battle of Edgehill in the English Civil War.

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A PRAYER FOR THE STRENGTH TO CHANGE:
My Lord Jesus, look at how my neighbor has injured me, slandered my honor with his talk, and interfered with my rights.  I cannot tolerate this, and so I wish he were out of my way.  O God, hear my complaint. I cannot feel kindly toward him, even though I know I should.  See how cold and insensible I am.  O Lord, I can’t help it, and so I stand forsaken.  If you change me, I will be devout and have better thoughts.  Otherwise, I must remain as I am.  O dear God, change me by your grace.  Amen.

–Martin Luther, adapted from Luther’s Prayers (#173), tr. by Charles Kistler (1917)
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EVENING PRAYER:

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;
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, 0 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.

     This prayer is from a prayer book I use every morning for my daily devotions:  A Diary of Private Prayer by Scottish pastor and theologian John Baillie (1886-1960).  This devotional classic contains a one page prayer for every morning and evening of the month.  The above prayer is for the evening of the 21st day.  It is a most wonderful prayer, beginning with gratitude for this day, this world, and this life.  The prayer then lifts our thoughts to a remembrance of God’s promise of an eternal life in his home, and reminds us to see our current sufferings in the light of that eternal hope.  The prayer then ends as it began, with gratitude, this time giving thanks for our home in eternity.  

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The Bible itself contains many wonderful prayers.  Here are just a few of the shorter ones.  These can be easily memorized and prayed anytime during the day or night.

Lord, save me.  –Matthew 14:30

Lord, help me.  –Matthew 15:25

I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.  –Mark 9:24

Come quickly to me, O God.  You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.  –Psalm 70:5

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  –Psalm 103:1

I am laid low in the dust; renew my life according to your Word.  –Psalm 119:25

Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endures forever.  –Psalm 136:1

God, be merciful to me a sinner.  –Luke 18:13

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.  –Luke 23:42

Come, Lord Jesus.  –Revelation 22:20