The Collected Works of Theodore Parker/Volume 02/Theodore Parker's Prayers/Prayer 40
JANUARY 2, 1859.
O thou who art everywhere, whom no eye can see, but every heart can feel, we flee unto thee, and for a moment would hold thee in our consciousness, who art not far from any one of us, but always hast us in thy care and keeping, watching over and doing us good. We would remember before thee our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our fears, our good deeds and our transgressions, and while we meditate thereon, may we be penitent for every wrong deed, and greatly ashamed of all wickedness, but filled with noble aspirations, which shall bear us up to higher and higher heights of human excellence. O thou who art ever near us, may thy spirit pray with us in our prayer, teaching us the things we ought to pray for, and strengthening us mightily in the inner man.
O thou Infinite Spirit, we thank thee for all thy loving-kindness and thy tender mercy, which gave us our being first, and lengthenest out our lives from day to day, and from year to year, while thou presentest before us the immortal life, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor our frail hearts completely understood.
We thank thee for this fair sunlight which gladdens and cheers the faces of men, while it fills up with handsomeness the wintry hour. We thank thee for the stars, which all night long keep shining watch above a sleeping world; and we bless thee for thy providence, which cares for us when we slumber, and when we wake. Yea, we thank thee that underneath thy care we can lay us down and sleep in safety, and when we wake we are still with thee.
While we stand at the entrance of a new year, remembering thy presence with us, we cast our eyes backward, and we thank thee for all the joy and the gladness which came to our lot in the months that are past. We thank thee for the health and energy that have been in our earthly frame. We bless thee for the work our hands found to do, for the joy which comes from the harvested result of our toil and thought, and that greater but un- asked joy and blessedness which comes from the education which the process of our daily toil in thy marvellous providence doth bring about.Father, we thank thee for the new ties of mortal love which we have formed on earth, whereby eyes behold light in mutual eyes, and hearts that once were twain become one. We thank thee for the new-born blessings, these little messiahs which thy loving^kindness has left in many an earnest home. We bless thee for all the joys which spring from the various affections of life, which set the solitary in families, and of twain make one, and thence bring manifold life to increase and multiply and gladden the world.
Father, we remember before thee the sorrows and disppointments with which we have sometimes been tried. We remember the dear ones whom thou hast taken from our mortal arms, whose countenance thou hast changed, and whom thou hast sent away ; and though we have not always been strong enough to understand thy providence, or to welcome the hand which took, as that which gave, yet we thank thee that through the darkness that surrounded us we can see a great and marvellous light, whereunto we are marching step by step, whither our dear ones are gone before, not lost, but found in thee. Father on earth, Father in heaven, Father and Mother too, we thank thee for that other world whither so many of our friends are gone, and whither our own faces are Also set. We thank thee that we are conscious of our immortality, and sure that when we drop the body we are clothed upon with immortal life, and pass from glory to glory, in a progress which can never end.
We remember before thee the sins and transgressions which we have often committed; we remember the wrong deeds that we have done, the unholy feelings that we have cherished, and the wicked thoughts which have sometimes come into our minds, and been bidden to rest and tarry there. Lord, full of pain and sadness for every wrong deed we have done, for the unholy words we have spoke, and the wicked feelings we have nourished in us, we pray thee that we may not be cast down by our penitence, but ashamed of our transgression, and warned by our fall, walk more needfully in times that are to come, and journey from strength to strength, our hands uplifted, and our hearts sustained by thee.
O thou who knowest what all time shall bring forth, we cast our eyes forward, and though every day is hidden in darkness before our eyes, we pray thee that there may be such light within our heart, that it shall make it all glorious light about us, from hour to hour, and in the strength that thou givest us may we do the appointed duty of each day, and reverently bear its cross, and so fill up all our time with thy service. Within us may the true religion find its temple and its home; may thy great truths dwell in us, and the noble feelings of love to each other, and unchanging and perfect love to thee; hero may they live and do their perfect work; may they bring down every high thought which exalts itself unduly, may they tame every unworthy passion, and change our ambition from evil into good, so that all our days shall be thy days, our prayer thy worship, and our life thy continual service, and all our earthly days be made gladsome and glorious in thy sight. Then, when thou hast finished thy work with us on earth, may we lift up our eyes towards thee with gladness and great joy, and go home to that world where all tears are wiped from every eye, and where sorrow and sighing shall come no more, but we shall shine in the light of thy love, and pass from glory to glory.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. May thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from its evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen.
JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS.