840) Prayers by Walter Rauschenbusch (b)

From For God and the People: Prayers of the Social Awakening, 1909.  (Adapted)

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MORNING PRAYERS:

O God, we thank you for the sweet refreshment of sleep and for the glory and vigor of the new day.  As we set our faces once more toward our daily work, we pray for strength sufficient for our tasks.  May Christ’s spirit of duty and service ennoble all we do.  Uphold us by the consciousness that our work is useful work and a blessing to others.  If there has been anything in our work harmful to others and dishonorable to ourselves, reveal it to our inner eye with such clearness that we shall hate it and put it away, even though it be at a loss to ourselves.  When we work with others, help us to regard them not as servants to do our will, but as brothers and sisters, equal to us in human dignity, and equally worthy of their full reward.  May there be nothing in this day’s work of which we shall be ashamed when the sun has set, nor in the evening of our life when our task is done and we to go our long awaited home to see your face.  Amen.

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Once more a new day lies before us, our Father.  As we go out among others to do our work, touching the lives of our fellows, make us, we pray, friends of all.  Save us from blighting any heart by the flare of sudden anger or secret hate.  May we not bruise the rightful self-respect of anyone by contempt or malice.  Help us to cheer the suffering by our sympathy, to freshen the despairing by our hopefulness, and to strengthen in all the wholesome sense of worth and the joy of life.  Save us from the deadly poison of class-pride.  Grant that we may look all people in the face with the eyes of a brother or a sister.  If anyone needs us, make us ready to yield our help ungrudgingly, unless higher duties claim us.  May we rejoice that we have been abundantly blessed by you, and are thus able to be helpful to our fellow-men.  Amen.

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O great Companion of our souls, go with us today and comfort us by the sense of your presence.  Help us to focus on our duty.  Guide us by the voice within.  May we take heed of all the judgments of others and gather patiently whatever truth they hold, but teach us still to test them by the words and spirit of the one who alone is our Master.  May we not be so conformed to this world that all people fully approve of us, but may we speak the higher truth and live the purer righteousness which you have revealed to us.  If others speak well of us, may we not be puffed up; if they slight us, may we not be cast down; remembering the words of our Master who encouraged us to rejoice when men speak evil of us and tremble if all speak well.  Amen.

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O God, we who are bound together in the tender ties of love, pray for a day of unclouded love.  May no passing irritation rob us of our joy in one another.  Forgive us if we have often been keen to see the human failings, and slow to feel the preciousness of those who are still the dearest comfort of our life.  May there be no sharp words that wound and scar, and no rift that may grow into estrangement.  Do not allow us to grieve those whom you have sent to us to love and be loved by.  May our eyes not be so blinded by selfishness that we come to appreciate our loved ones only when it is too late and they return to you.  Amen.

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Lord, we lift our hearts to you in the pure light of morning and pray that we be kept clean of bitterness and hostility by the power of forgiving love.  If any slight or wrong still rankles in our souls, help us to pluck it out so that we may be healed by you.  Do not allow us to turn in anger on him who has wronged us and seek his hurt, lest we increase the sorrows of the world and taint our own souls with the poisoned sweetness of revenge.  Grant that by the insight of love, we may understand our brother in his wrong, and if his soul is sick, to bear with him in pity, and pray that he be healed by the gentle spirit of our Master.  Make us determined to love even at cost to our pride, that so we may be soldiers of your peace on earth.  Amen.

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FOR SUNDAY MORNING:  O God, we rejoice that today no burden of work will be upon us and that our body and soul are free to rest.  We thank you that this day was hallowed by you for all who toil, and that from generation to generation your weary children have found it a shelter and breathing space.  We pray for your peace on all who cease from labor and enjoy the comfort of their home and the companionship of those they love.  Forbid that the pressure of covetousness or thoughtless love of pleasure rob any of their divine right of rest.  Grant us wisdom and self-control that our pleasures may not be follies, lest our leisure drain us more than our work.  Teach us that our body cannot rest unless our soul has repose, that so we may walk this day in your presence in tranquility of spirit, taking each joy as your gift, and on the morrow return to our labor refreshed and content.  Amen.

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Psalm 88:13  —  I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Colossians 3:23  —  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Exodus 20:8-10a  —  Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work.

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