The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 07
FEBRUARY 5, 1854.
Our Father who art in heaven, and on earth, and near unto every heart, we flee unto thee, seeking to feel thy presence, and, conscious of thee, to know thee as thou art, and to worship thee with all our mind and conscience and heart and soul. We seek to commune with thy spirit for a moment, that we may freshen our hearts, tired with the world's journey and sore travel, and bow our faces down and drink again at the living waters of thy life. thou Infinite One, we reverence thee, who art the permanent in things that change, the foundation of what lasts, the loveliness of things beautiful, and the wisdom and the justice and the love which make and hold and bless all this world of matter and of men. Thou who art without variableness or turning shadow, we thank thee that thou needest not our poor prayers to teach thee of our need, nor askest thou our supplication's argument to quicken thy mercy or to stir thy love. Thou anticipatest before we call, and doest more and better for us than we can ever ask or think. O Father, who adornest the summer and cheerest the winter with thy presence, we thank thee that we know that thou art our Father, and our Mother, that thou fold- est in thine arms all the worlds which thou hast made, and warmest with thy mother's breath each mote that peoples the sun's beams, and blessest every wandering, erring child of man.
Lord, how marvellous is thy loving-kindness and thy tender mercy, which thou spreadest out over matter and beast and man. In loving-kindness hast thou made them all, and in tender mercy thou watchest over the wander- ings of the world, blessing those that sorrow, and recalling such as go astray. Oh, whither can we flee from thy presence? If we take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead us, and thy right hand shall hold us up. Yea, Lord, our transgression hideth us not from thee ; but thine eye seeth in sin as in righteousness, and when our own hearts cry out against us, thou, who art greater than our heart, still takest us up, bearest us on thy wings, and blessest us with thine infinite love.
Father, we remember before thee our several wants and conditions in life, and we thank thee for the happiness that crowns our days, for the success that attends our efforts here on earth, the brightness that we gather in our homes, and the hearts whose beating is the music round our fireside and their countenance the blessing on our daily bread. We thank thee for these things wherein our hearts rejoice.
But we remember also in our prayer the world's sternness and severity, the sorrows that stain our face with weeping, and make our hearts sometimes run over with our sadness, and our deep distress. Father, if we cannot thank thee for the things that we suffer, we still will thank thee that we know that thine eye pities us in our sorrows, and no sadness stains our face but thou knewest it before we were born, and gatherest the tears which we shed, and changest them into glorious pearls, to shine in our crown of glory as morning stars that herald the coming of the heavenly kingdom here below.
We pray thee that we may find comfort in every sorrow, and when the world turns its cold, hard eye upon us, when the mortal fades from our grasp, and the shadow of death falls on the empty seat of child or wife or friend, Lord, by the shining of thy candle in our heart, may we see our way through darkness unto light, and journey from strength to strength, our hearts still stayed on thee.
Help us to grow stronger and nobler by this world's varying good and ill, and while we enlarge the quantity of our being by continual life, may we improve its kind and quality not less, and become fairer, and tenderer, and heavenlier too, as we leave behind us the various events of our mortal life. So, Father, may we grow in goodness and in grace, and here on earth attain the perfect measure of a complete man. And so in our heart, and our daily life, may thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.