The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 10

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JANUARY 11, 1857.

O thou Infinite Spirit, who art present where two or three are gathered together, and who with all thine infinite perfections encampest about each solitary soul, we would draw near unto thee, who art never far from any one of us, and in thy presence gird up our souls and worship thee with such communion and income of spirit in our morning prayer that we shall serve thee all our life, bearing with patience our daily cross, and reverently doing with strength the duties thou givest us to do. May we worship thee who art Spirit, with our spirit and the truth of every faculty; and wilt thou, who seekest such to worship thee, accept the psalm of our lips and the aspiring of our heart.

O thou Infinite One, we thank thee for the winter with which thou hast overcast the world, for we know that in every flake of snow thou sheddest from the heavens thou hast a benediction writ for all mankind, could our eyes but read the lustrous prophecy so curiously announced.

We thank thee that thou givest to mankind, in our body and in our soul, the power over these material things that are about us. We thank thee that in the midst of the winter's snow we can build us our pleasant habitation, and have a perennial summer all safe from winter's desolating frost. We thank thee for the large power thou hast given us to make even the storms serve the voyage of our life, and to use the very ice of Northern realms as the servant of man's pleasure and the handmaid of his health. Father, we bless thee for the wondrous faculties which thou hast treasured up within the frame of man.

We bless thee for all periods in our life. We thank thee for the infancy, which is from thine own kingdom of heaven, cradled in love on earth, the little flower prophetic of other love that is to come, given not less than received, in the never-ending progress of the immortal soul. We thank thee for the period of the young man's and the young woman's life, when the body, unwonted to the experience of the world, runs over with the vernal energies of life's incipient year. We thank thee for the energy of passion, and the power of soul which thou givest us to tame this creature into wise and virtuous strength. We bless thee for the high hopes, the generous aspirations, and the quick and mounting instincts of the soul, which belong to the young man's life. We bless thee for the hardier vigour of the middle-aged, whom experience has made more wise, and we thank thee that frequent stumbling bids us take heed to our ways, and by many a failure and fall mankind is warned of the difficulties that beset his path. We thank thee for the mighty power of will that can restrain passion in its instinctive swing, and hold ambition from its wicked aim, which else might mar and desolate the soul. We thank thee for the yet later period, when thou crownest the experienced head with silver hairs without, and within hivest up the manifold treasures of long-continued life. Father, we thank thee for the instinctive power of the young, the sober calculating strength of the middle-aged, and the long-treasured glories of old men, found in the paths of righteousness, whose head is a lamp of white fire carried before us to warn us of the wrong, and to guide thy children to ever-increasing heights of human excellence.

O Lord, we pray thee that we may all of us use so nobly the nature thou hast given us, that in early, or in middle, or in advanced life, there may be such a strength of pious trust in thee as shall give thy children the victory in the day of their youth, and they may overcome the passions which else would war against the soul; and, in the middle way of mortal life, may it abate the excessive zeal of ambitious selfishness, and bring down all covetousness and every proud thing that unduly exalts itself against thee; and in the later days of mankind, may it be a strong staff in the old man's hand, and a lamp full of heavenly fire which goes before his experienced feet, guiding him still farther forward, still higher upward, and leading to serene and blameless abodes of beauty and of oneness with thee.

O thou Infinite One, we thank thee for the opportunities of our daily life. And for its trials, shall we not thank thee? If in our feebleness we dare not thank thee for the crosses that are laid on us and the disappointments which vex our mortal affections, still, Lord, we will bow our faces before thee, and with thankful hearts exclaim, The Lord giveth, let Him take away when he will.

Father, we pray thee that we may live so generous and aspire so high that our noblest prayer shall be the practice of our daily life, and so by continual ascension we shall rise up towards thee, enriched from thy fulness of joy, and the gladness and peace which thou givest, with no miracle, to every earnest and aspiring child of thine. So may thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.