The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 04
JULY 18, 1852.
Our Father who art in heaven, who also art not less on earth, peopling every point of space with thy presence, and filling every point of spirit with thy power, thy wisdom, and thy love, we would lift up our souls unto thee, and gather together our scattered and estrayed spirits, that we may hold communion with thee for a moment in our prayer, and be strengthened for daily duty, and made newly grateful for joys which thou givest us, more faithful to ourselves and more reliant upon thee.
We know that thou wilt remember us, nor needest thou to be entreated in our morning psalm or morning prayer, for before our heart knows our need of thee, thou art with our heart, and sustainest and givest us life. Father, we know that though earthly friends may prove faithless, though distance of space and length of time may hide the child from the mother that bore him, yet thine eye never slumbers nor sleeps, and thou rememberest us when mortal friends forsake us, or when time and distance shut out the affections of the mortal heart. Yea, Lord, the distance is no distance with thee, for thy presence shineth everywhere as the day, and thy loving-kindness waits on the footsteps of morning, and thou fillest up the shades of evening, and givest to thy beloved, even in their sleep.Father in heaven, we thank thee for all this world of thy providence, so fertile in wonders, so rich in beauty to every hungering sense of man. We thank thee that thou carest for the ground, that nightly thou waterest it with dews from heaven, and in thine own season sendest the river of waters in plenteous showers to moisten field, and garden, and hill, and town. Father, we thank thee for thy loving-kindness and thy tender mercy, that thou watchest over every little fly spreading his thin wings in this morning's sun, and holdest this system of universes in thine own arms of infinite and never-ending love.
We thank thee for the beauty which thou bringest forth in every stream of water, on every hill-side, and that wherewith thou fringest the paths of men as they pass to their daily work. We bless thee for the beauty which thou gatherest in the lily's fragrant cup, clothing it with a kinglier loveliness than Solomon in all his glory could ever put on; and in these flowers of earth, and in those imperishable flowers of beauty over our heads, we read, O Lord, the alphabet of thy loving-kindness and thy tender mercy. But we thank thee still more that in a tenderer and lovelier and holier way thou revealest thy loving-kindness and thy tenderness and thy holiness of heart to thy children.
We thank thee for the large faculties with which thou hast gifted the children of men. We thank thee for the senses that take hold of the world of sight and touch and sound, and are fed and beautified thereon. We thank thee for these spiritual powers which lay hold of justice and truth, and love and faith in thee, these flowers of the soul, these imperishable stars of the human spirit ; and we bless thee for thy yet greater loving-kindness and tender mercy which thou speakest to our souls. We thank thee that, as thou feedest the little grass by the road- side and every flower of the field with dew by night and rain by day, and warmest and waterest their roots, so thine inspiration falls down upon the souls of thy children, and thou feedest this strong and flamelike flower with thine own wisdom, thine own justice, thy holiness, and thy love.
Lord, what shall we render to thee for the least of the mercies which thou hast given us? We pray thee that we may live as blameless as the flowers of the field; that our lives within may be as fragrant, and without as fair, and that what is promise in our spring, what is blossom in our summer, may in the harvest of heaven bear fruit of everlasting life.
We look unto thee, and we will not pray thee that thou wilt remember us. We know that though a mother may forget the babe that she has borne, thou never forsakest a single child of thine. In sorrow we turn our eyes to thee, and thou wipest the tears from our eyelids; in darkness we look up to thee, and it is all light within our soul. When those that are nearest and dearest to our heart have gone down to the sides of the pit, Lord, we know that the mortal is rendered up that the soul may be clothed with immortality, and inherit everlasting joys with thee. When our own heart cries out against us, we know that thou art greater than our heart, and no folly, no wandering, and no sin can ever hide us from thine infinite motherliness. We bless thee that all thine ordinances are designed for our good, that the rod of thine affliction and the staff of our support, they both comfort us, for thou still art our shepherd, and leadest us beside the still waters, and wilt feed us in the full pastures and give peace to our soul. O Thou our God, we pray thee that we may be strength- ened for every day's duty, have patience to bear any cross that is laid upon us, wisdom to order our pathway aright, the heart of holiness to trust thee with an absolute faith, and the soul that is full of loving-kindness to do good to our brothers here on the earth. So may thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.