The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 06

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JULY 17, 1853.

Our Father who art in heaven, who fillest all time with thine eternity and all space with thy loving-kindness and thy tender mercy, we flee unto thee once more, seeking to deepen our consciousness of thee, to pour out our heart's gratitude for thy daily blessings continually given unto us, and to seek new inspiration from thy spirit, extending everywhere.

O Father, we thank thee for this world about us, and above us, and underneath our feet, which thou hast given us to dwell in. We thank thee for the ground that we tread on, for the trees that roof us over, for the bread that we eat, and for the fleeces that we wear.

Father, we thank thee for all this wonderful beauty wherein thou speakest to the wakening sense of man. We bless thee for the day, which from thy golden urn thou pourest out upon the world, and that every morning thou baptizest anew each speck of earth with heaven's own light. We thank thee that thou whitenest the darkness of the night by the moon's untiring beauty, and that thou pasturest the stars in thine own fields of boundless space, nor sufferest thou a single fleece of light ever to be lost, thou Shepherd of the earth, and Shepherd of the sky.

We thank thee for this nobler world of man, for its serener day, its light more heavenly, and all the blessed stars of consciousness that shine within our soul. We thank thee, that thou makest us capable to understand the material world that is about us, and to rule and master by wisdom, by justice, and by love, this greater, nobler world that we are.

We thank thee for the still and silent joys that come to every earnest and holy heart. We bless thee for the happiness that attends our daily work, and all the things which thou givest us to do here on the earth.

We thank thee that thou hast given us this immortal soul, which, feeding on the earth, grows for what is more than earthly, and with great hungering of heart, reaches ever upwards for what is perfect, for what is good and beautiful and holy in thine own sight. We thank thee that, as thou feedest every plant with dew from heaven, and with light from the world's great sun, so with sweet influence thou rainest inspiration down upon thy children, and with thy loving-kindness wilt bless every soul, though wandering oft-times from thee.

We remember before thee our daily lives, the perplexities of our business, the trials of our patience, the doubts, and the darkness, yea, and the sin that doth most easily beset us; and we pray thee that we may be warned by all that we suffer, and urged onwards by everything that we enjoy, till we have cast behind us the littleness of our childhood, and with manly, womanly dignity, pursue our march on earth, not weary though we run, and not fainting as we mount up like eagles towards thy perfection. We remember before thee the disappointments, the sadness, and the affliction of our mortal life. We remember how often our arms are folded around emptiness, when the mortal whom we truly love has taken wings to itself and is immortal with thee.

Father, we pray thee that thou wilt instruct us in these, our earthly misfortunes, and by every disappointment, and all affliction, may we grow wiser, and purer, more holy-hearted still; and while in our feebleness we may not thank thee for what thou hast taken, O Lord, let us learn from sorrow a deeper lesson than joy and gladness ever bring. Even as the night reveals a whole heaven of stars, so may the darkness of disappointment, the night of sorrow, open heaven to thy children's eyes, till brighter beams are abont us, and the consciousness of immortality fills up our souls and wipes the tears from every eye.

So may all our mortal life be a journey upwards, and we fly forwards towards thee, till, at last, may thy truth fill our understanding, may thy justice enlarge our heart, and may love and holiness and faith in thee subdue every unholy thing, and change us anew to thine own image, O Thou who art our Father and the Mother of our souls. So may thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.