The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 05

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AUGUST 1, 1852.

O thou Creating and Protecting Power, who art our Father, yea, our Mother not the less, we flee unto thee, and would lift up the psalm of our thanksgiving unto thee, and by our prayer seek to hold communion with thy spirit, and be strengthened for the cares and the duties and the delights of our mortal life. We come before thee, Lord, with the remembrance of our daily toils, and the common things of life still murmuring in our ears, and we would lift up our souls unto thee, to learn new wisdom, to acquire more justice, to feel a deeper philanthropy and a heartier piety in our own souls. We know that thou art not to be worshipped as though thou askedst even prayer at our poor lips, for we know that thou ever watchest over us, and foldest the universe in thine arms of love, needing no prayer of ours to kindle thy sympathy to the humblest of thy creatures. Lord, the earth is thine altar, and the heavens over our head, they are the incense of creation offered in their beauty to thy greatness and thy glorious name. Lord, the universe is a voice of thanksgiving unto thee, and in serene and cloudy days this flying globe lifts up her voice, and sings to thee, morning and evening and at noon of day, her continual psalm of joy and praise. But our hearts in their poverty constrain us to flee unto thee, out of the sorrows and the joys of this world, to praise thee for thy blessings, and to ask of thee new glories in time to come. We desire to be deeply conscious of thy presence, which fills all time, which occupies all space. We would know thee as thou art, and in our souls feel continually thy residence with us and the abiding of thy spirit in our heart.

Father, we thank thee for this wondrous and lovely world in which thou hast placed us. For the magnificent beauty of summer we thank thee, for the storied promise of the spring which has gone by, and the earnest of the harvest, whose weeks in their fulfilment bring daily new tokens of thy goodness and thine infinite love. We thank thee that thou waterest the earth with rain from thine own sweet heavens, rejoicing the cattle on a thousand hills, which thou also carest for, as for thy chosen ones, and ministerest life to every little moss amid the stones of a city, and feedest the mighty forests which clothe with verdure our own New England hills. We thank thee that thou givest us grass for the cattle, and corn to strengthen the frame of man, and order est all things by number and measure and weight, wielding the whole into a mighty mass of usefulness and a glorious orb of transcendent beauty. We bless thee for the beautiful amid the homely, the sublime among things low, for the good amid evil things, and the eternal amid what is transient and daily passing from our eye.

We thank thee for the happiness that attends us in our daily life, for the joys of our daily work, for the success which thou givest to the labours of our hand, and the strength to our soul which comes from our daily toil on the earth. We thank thee for the plain and common household joys of life, for the satisfactions of friendship, for the blessedness of love in all the dear relationships of mortal life. Father, we thank thee for the large sympathy with our brother-men everywhere, and that we know that thou hast made them all alike in thine own image, and hast destined all thy children to toil on the earth, and to a glorious immortality of never-ending blessedness beyond the grave.

Father, we thank thee that we know thee, that amid hopes that so often deceive us, amid expectations that fail and perish, we have still our faith assured in thee, who art without variableness or shadow of turning. Lord, thou delightest us still more when we remember that our life itself is the gift of thine hand. In our sorrow and sadness we look up to thee, and when mortal friends fail us, and the urn that held our treasured joys is broken into fragments, and the wine of life is scattered at our feet, Lord, we rejoice to know that thou understandest our lot, and wilt make every sorrow of our life turn out for our endless welfare, and our continual growth, so that thou wilt take us home to thyself with no stain of weeping on our face. Lord, when ourselves have been false, when our own hearts cry out against us, and we stain our daily sacrifice with remorseful tears, we rejoice to know that thou art greater than our heart, and wilt bring home every wandering child of thine, with no stain of sin on our immortal soul. Father, we thank thee that amid the joys of the flesh, amid the delights of our daily work, and all the sweet and silent blessedness of mortal friendship and love upon the earth, thou givest us the joy of knowing thee, the still and calm delight of lying low in thy hand, and feeling the breath of thy spirit upon us. Yea, Lord, we thank thee that thou holdest each one of us, yea, all of thy children, and the universe itself, as a mother folds her baby to her bosom, and blessest us all with thine infinite loving-kindness and thy tender mercy.

Father, we pray thee that we may never be false to the great glories with which thou surroundest us, under our feet, and over our head, and the still diviner glories which thou placest in our heart and soul. We pray thee that within us our lives may be blameless, every faculty active and at its work, and that our outward lives may be useful, and all our existence blameless and beautiful in thy sight, Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. May our lives be marked every day by some new lesson that we have learned, some duty that we have done, some faithfulness that we have accomplished ; and at last, when our mortal pilgrimage is ended, take us to thyself, Lord, to dwell with thee, leaving behind us the memory of good deeds, and bearing with us a soul disciplined by the trials of life, and enlarged by its blessings. So may we pass from glory to glory, till we are changed into thine own image, and the peace of thy love is made perfect in us. So may thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.