From A Diary of Private Prayer, 1949, by John Baillie, Church of Scotland pastor and theologian, (1886-1960); containing a morning and evening prayer for thirty-one days (adapted).
MORNING PRAYER (Thirtieth day)
Creator God, who rules over the lands and waters of earth, endowing them with forms and colors which no human skill can copy, give me today, I pray, the mind and heart to rejoice in your creation.
Forbid that I should walk through your beautiful world with unseeing eyes:
Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees:
Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study I should ever forget your great overarching sky.
Forbid that when all your creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face:
Let the energy and vigor, which in your wisdom you have infused into every living thing, also stir within my being, so that I may not be among your creatures as a sluggard and a drone:
And above all give me grace to use these beauties of earth all around me, and this eager stirring of life within me, as means whereby my soul may rise from creature to Creator, and from nature to nature’s God.
O Lord, grant me a kind and gentle heart towards all things that live. Let me not ruthlessly hurt any of your creatures. Let me take thought also for the welfare of little children, and of those who are sick, and of the poor; remembering that what I do unto the least of these His brethren I do unto Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
(Jesus said), “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I Thessalonians 5:10:
He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
EVENING PRAYER (Twenty-fifth day)
Holy God, to whose service I long ago dedicated my soul and life, I grieve and lament before you that I am still so prone to sin and so little inclined to obedience:
So much attached to the pleasures of my senses, so negligent of things spiritual;
So prompt to gratify my body, so slow to nourish my soul;
So greedy for present delight, so indifferent to lasting blessedness;
So fond of idleness, so indisposed for labor;
So soon at play, so late at prayer;
So brisk in the service of self, so slack in the service of others;
So eager to get, so reluctant to give;
So lofty in my professions, so low in my practice;
So full of good intentions, so backward to fulfill them;
So severe with my neighbors, so indulgent with myself;
So eager to find fault, so resentful at being found fault with;
So little able for great tasks, so discontented with small ones;
So weak in adversity, so swollen and self-satisfied in prosperity;
So helpless apart from you, and yet so little willing to be bound to you.
O merciful God, grant me yet again your forgiveness. Hear my pitiful confession, and in your great mercy remember my sins no more. Give me faith to rejoice in the righteousness of Christ my Savior so that, resting on His merits rather than on my own, I may more and more become conformed to him in my obedience to you. All this I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Psalm 4:4, 8:
Tremble and do not sin.
When you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent…
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.