The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 02

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AUGUST 4, 1850.

O thou Eternal One, whose presence fills all space and occupies all time, who hast thy dwelling-place in every humble heart that trustfully looks up to thee, we flee to thee again to offer thee our morning psalm of thanksgiving and of praise, and to ask new inspiration from thee for days to come, while we stain our sacrifice with penitence for evils that our hands have wrought. Father, may thy spirit pray with us in our prayer, teaching us the things that we ought to ask of thee; may we serve thee faithfully and worship thee aright. Lord, we bow down our spirits before thee, we reverence thine infinite power, we adore thine unbounded wisdom, which understands things past, things present, and to come; we confide in thy perfect justice, knowing that we are safe; but, O Lord, we rejoice in thy love. We bless thee for thy tender mercies, our hearts thank thee for thy loving-kindness, and we reach out the arms of our soul towards thee, knowing that thou art our Father, who lovest us better even than the mothers that have borne us. Lord, we do not know how to praise thee as we ought, for we do not understand all of thy goodness, we cannot measure all of thy loving-kindness towards us, for it is infinite.

We thank thee for the signs and tokens of thyself which thou hast placed around us everywhere. We thank thee for this lovely day which thou lendest us. We bless thee for the broad green world beneath our feet, for these wondrous heavens above our heads, which nightly thou sowest with starry seed, and every morning limnest with orient light. We thank thee that all these things are a revelation of thee, for day giveth voice unto day, and night speaketh unto night, and the rivers as they roll, and the ocean as it ebbs and floods, and this all-embracing sky,—O Lord, they tell of thy magnitude, they speak of thy power, they talk of thy wisdom, and they charm us with tidings of thy love.

But a greater revelation than this of thyself hast thou made in thy still small voice, which whispers in our soul that all this magnificence is but a drop of thee, yea, a little sparklet that has fallen from thy presence, thou Central Fire, and Radiant Light of all. We know that these outward things are but a sparkle of thy power, a whisper of thy wisdom, a faint breath of thy loving-kindness. Lord, we thank thee that on our soul thou hast writ that thou art our Father, that thy name is Love, that we should not tremble nor fear before thee, but as a child to its mother, so may we turn longingly and lovingly and with unfailing trust to thee. Pardon us that we have known thee no better, that we have trembled when we should have rejoiced, and have been afraid when there was none to molest us nor to make us afraid. Lord, open our inner eye that we may see thee as thou art, touch thou our soul with thine own inspiration that we may know thee, that we may love thee, that we may serve thee with our daily life.

We remember in our prayer the temptations which every day brings with it, our sorrows, and our trials, and our cares. Arm us for the duty which thou givest us to do, make us strong to bear every cross, patient and earnest to do every day's work in its own day, and to bear ourselves so bravely that we shall always acquit us as men, and so be strong. In our day of passion, we pray thee to deliver us out of its flame and heat, that we come as thy children of old out of the furnace, with no smell of its pollution on our garment's hem. And in the more dangerous period of interest and ambition, we pray thee to save us from its chilling cold and its wintry frost, that we come out not benumbed by its palsy, nor frozen by its snow. Give us wisdom to disperse our darkness, let justice triumph over selfishness in our soul, let duty be supreme over desire, till every desire becomes dutiful and our daily life is one continual sacrament to thee. Father, let a living love of thee dwell in our hearts, let it become strong within us, and lead to a faith that fails not and needs not to be ashamed. May our earthly life be beautiful and acceptable in thy sight, and may our souls be filled with, every spiritual gift from thee; and receiving much, may we give the more, making our lives still more acceptable to thee. Lead us through evil and through good report, bearing the cross which thou layest upon us; and by our prayers, our toil and our tears, change thou us into the glorious image of thyself, that we may be wholly thine, transformed to thee, and thy truth dwell with us, thy justice pitch her tent with us, and thine own loving kindness charm and enchant our very souls. So may thy kingdom come, and so thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.