Monday, January 07, 2013

New Year Prayers 3 - Prayer of Divine Support

Thou art the blessed God, happy in Thyself,
source of happiness in Thy creatures,
my maker, benefactor, proprietor, upholder.
Thou hast produced and sustained me,
supported and indulged me, saved and kept me;
Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.
May I live by Thee, live for Thee,
never be satisfied with my Christian progress but as I resemble Christ;
and may conformity to His principles, temper, and conduct
grow hourly in my life.
Let Thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience,
and render my duty my delight.
If others deem my faith folly, my meekness infirmity,
my zeal madness, my hope delusion, my actions hypocrisy,
may I rejoice to suffer for Thy name.
Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country of everlasting delights,
that paradise-land which is my true inheritance.
Support me by the strength of heaven that I may never turn back,
or desire false pleasures that will disappear into nothing. 
As I pursue my heavenly journey by Thy grace
let me be known as a person with no aim but that of a burning desire for Thee,
and the good and salvation of my fellow men and women.

comment: not quite sure where this comes from, I think it's of Puritan stock. The opening line is a cracker, and like every great prayer it begins with God and not with us. The 4th section seems increasingly relevant, not as an excuse to be an idiot, but because, in an increasingly post-Christian UK, fewer and fewer people will understand Christianity, and what makes Christians tick. It's familiar to anyone who reads the comments on any online Guardian religion piece. 

It therefore shouldn't surprise us, though we should be concerned, that a secular court can pronounce that Sunday isn't a special day for Chrisitans. Despite a growing number of non-Sunday gatherings, Sunday is still the main day of worship, fellowship and teaching for the Christian community, and the court seems to have bought the lie that 'you don't have to go to church to be a Christian'. Maybe we are in for a more 1st and 2nd century church, where Christians met before or after the working day on a Sunday for worship. 

But in the meantime the prayer reminds us that the focus is Jesus, becoming more like him, keeping our eyes on him, following his path, because it's his approval that matters most. 

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