O Lord God, help us now really to worship Thee. We would thank Thee for this occasion. We bless Thy name for setting apart this hallowed season. Lord, wilt Thou shut the door upon the world for us? Help us to forget our cares. Enable us to rise clean out of this world. May we get rid of all its down-dragging tendencies. May the attractions of these grosser things be gone, and do Thou catch us away to Thyself.
We do not ask to be entranced nor to see an angel in shining apparel, but we do ask that by faith we may see Jesus, and may His presence be so evidently realized among us that we may rejoice as well as if our eyes beheld Him, and love Him and trust Him and worship Him as earnestly as we should do if we could now put our fingers into the print of the nails.
O, Thou precious Lord Jesus Christ, we do adore Thee with all our hearts. Thou art Lord of all We bless Thee for becoming man that Thou mightest be our next of kin, and being next of kin we bless Thee for taking us into marriage union with Thyself and for redeeming us and our inheritance from the captivity into which we were sold. Thou hast paid Thy life for Thy people; Thou hast ransomed Thy folk with Thy heart's blood. Be Thou, therefore, for ever beloved and adored.
And now Thou art not here for Thou art risen. Our souls would track the shining way by which Thou hast ascended through the gate of pearl up to Thy Father's throne. We seem to see Thee sitting there, man, yet God, reigning over all things for Thy people, and our ears almost catch the accents of the everlasting song which rolls up at Thy feet: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honour, and power, and glory, and dominion, and might for ever and ever." Lord, we say, "Amen." From the outskirts of the crowd that surround Thy throne we lift up our feeble voices in earnest "Amens," for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood and hast made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign with Thee, for though far off by space, we know that we are very near to Thy heart.
Thou lookest over the heads of the angelic squadrons to behold us, and Thou dost hear the praises--aye, and the groans of Thy well-beloved, for are not we most near Thee, Thy flesh and Thy bones? We know we are. We feel the ties of kinship within us. We our best Beloved's are, and He is ours, and we are longing to get through the crowd that surround Him, and to get to the forefront, and there to bow prostrate at the dear feet that were nailed to the tree for us, and worship the Lamb who liveth for ever and ever, Who has prevailed to take the book and loose the seven seals thereof, to Whom be glory, world without end. Hallelujah!
O, Saviour, accept these our poor praises. They come from those Thou lovest, and as we prize any 9little things that come from those we love, so do we feel that Thou wilt accept the thanksgiving, the reverential homage of Thy people, redeemed ones who are a people near unto Thee, whose names are graven on the palms of Thy hands, of whom Thou art the active head and for whom Thy heart beats true and full of love e'en now.
Oh, we can say we love Thee; we wish we loved Thee more; but Thou art very dear to us. There is nought on earth like Thee. For the love of Thy name we would live and die. If we think we love Thee more than we do, we pray that we may yet love Thee more than we think. Oh, take these hearts right away and unite them with Thine own, and be Thou heart and soul and life and everything to us; for whom have we in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth we desire beside Thee.
We worship the Father, we worship the Son, we worship the Holy Ghost with all the powers of our being. We fall prostrate before the awful yet glorious throne of the Infinite Majesty of heaven. The Lord accept us since we offer these praises in the name of Jesus.
And now most blessed Lord, look down upon those who do not love Thee. O Redeemer, look upon them with those eyes of Thine which are as flames of fire. Let them see how ill they treat Thee. May they consider within themselves how dire is the ingratitude which can be negligent of a Saviour's blood, indifferent from a Saviour's heart. Oh, bring the careless and the godless to seek for mercy. Let those that are postponing serious things begin to see that the very thought of postponement of the claims of Christ is treason against His Majesty. O Saviour, dart Thine arrows abroad and let them wound many that they may fall down before thee and cry out for mercy.
But there are some who are wounded; broken hearts that seek peace--men and women, like Cornelius, that want to hear the words which God commands.
Oh, come Divine Physician, and bind up every broken bone. Come with. Thy sacred nard which Thou hast compounded of Thine own heart's blood, and lay it home to the wounded conscience, and let it feel its power. Oh! give peace to those whose conscience is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.
O God, our God, let not the teaching of the Sunday-school, the preaching of the Evangelists, the personal visitations of individual minds, let not any of these efforts be in vain. Do give conversions. We groan out this prayer from our very heart, yet can we also sing it, for Thou hast heard us plenteously already, and our heart doth rejoice in God the Saviour who worketh so graciously among the children of men.
We have been astonished as the Holy Ghost has fallen even upon the chief of sinners, and men afar off from God have been brought in. But, Lord, do more of this among us. Let us see greater things than these. Where we have had one saved, let us have an hundred to the praise of the glorious name and the Well-beloved.
Lord keep us all from sin; teach us how to walk circumspectly; enable us to guard our minds against error of doctrine, our hearts against wrong feelings, and our lives against evil actions. Oh, may we never speak unadvisedly with our lips, nor give way to anger. Above all, keep us from covetousness which is idolatry, and from malice which is of the devil. Grant unto us to be full of sweetness and light. May love dwell in us and reign in us. May we look not every man on his own things, but every man on the things of others. Give us to live for Jesus. There is no life like it. Help us to be Christly men, Christ's men, and may we in all things reflect the light which we receive from Him.
Bless our beloved Church and all its organizations. O God, take care of it. Oh! do thou make every member of the Church a pastor over others. Let all strive together for the good of all, and so may Thy kingdom come among us.
And do Thou prosper all the churches of Jesus Christ. What we ask for ourselves we seek for them. Let missionaries especially be helped by Thy Spirit, and may there come a day in which the minds of men may be better prepared to receive the Gospel, and may Messiah's Kingdom come to the overthrow of her that sitteth on the Seven Hills and to the eternal waning of Mohammed's moon, to the overthrow of every idol, that Christ alone may reign. Our whole heart comes out in this. Reign, Immanuel, reign; sit on the high throne; ride on Thy White Horse; and let the armies of heaven follow thee, conquering and to conquer. Come, Lord Jesus; even so, come quickly. Amen and amen.
O Thou who art King of kings and Lord of lords, we worship Thee.
"Before Jehovah's awful throne, we bow with sacred joy."
We can truly say that we delight in God. There was a time when we feared Thee, O God, with the fear of bondage. Now we reverence, but we love as much as we reverence. The thought of Thine Omnipresence was once horrible to us. We said: "Whither shall we flee from His presence?" and it seemed to make hell itself more dreadful, because we heard a voice, "If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there." But now, O Lord, we desire to find Thee. Our longing is to feel Thy presence, and it is the heaven of heavens that Thou art there. The sick bed is soft when Thou art there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when Thou art there, and the house of prayer when Thou art present is none other than the house of God, and it is the very gate of heaven.
Come near, our Father, come very near to Thy children. Some of us are very weak in body and faint in heart. Soon, O God, lay Thy right hand upon us and say unto us, "Fear not." Peradventure, some of us are alike, and the world is attracting us. Come near to kill the influence of the world with Thy superior power.
Even to worship may not seem easy to some. The dragon seems to pursue them, and floods out of his mouth wash away their devotion. Give to them great wings as of an eagle, that each one may fly away into the place prepared for him, and rest in the presence of God today.
Our Father, come and rest Thy children now. Take the helmet from our brow, remove from us the weight of our heavy armour for awhile, and may we just have peace, perfect peace, and be at rest. Oh! help us, we pray Thee, now. As Thou hast already washed Thy people in the fountain filled with blood and they are clean, now this morning wash us from defilement in the water. With the basin and with the ewer, O Master, wash our feet again. It will greatly refresh; it will prepare us for innermost fellowship with Thyself. So did the priests wash ere they went into the holy place.
Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God. Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray Thee. Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now. What have we to do with idols any more? Thou hast seen and observed us. Thou knowest where the difficulty lies. Help us against it, and may we now come boldly, not into the Holy place alone, but into the Holiest of all, where we should not dare to come if our great Lord had not rent the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with His own blood, and bidden us enter.
Now, we have come close up to Thyself, to the light that shineth between the wings of the Cherubim, and we speak with Thee now as a man speaketh with his friends. Our God, we are Thine. Thou art ours. We are now concerned in one business, we are leagued together for one battle. Thy battle is our battle, and our fight is Thine. Help us, we pray Thee. Thou who didst strengthen Michael and his angels to cast out the dragon and his angels, help poor flesh and blood that to us also the word may be fulfilled: "The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet, shortly."
Our Father, we are very weak. Worst of all we are very wicked if left to ourselves, and we soon fall a prey to the enemy. Therefore help us. We confess that sometimes in prayer when we are nearest to Thee at that very time some evil thought comes in, some wicked desire. Oh! what poor simpletons we are. Lord help us. We feel as if we would now come closer to Thee still, and hide under the shadow of Thy wings. We wish to be lost in God. We pray that Thou mayest live in us, and not we live, but Christ live in us and show Himself in us and through us.
Lord sanctify us. Oh! that Thy spirit might come and saturate every faculty, subdue every passion, and use every power of our nature for obedience to God.
Come, Holy Spirit, we do know Thee; Thou hast often overshadowed us. Come, more fully take possession of us. Standing now as we feel we are right up at the mercy seat our very highest prayer is for perfect holiness, complete consecration, entire cleansing from every evil. Take our heart, our head, our hands, our feet, and use us all for Thee. Lord take our substance, let us not hoard it for ourselves, nor spend it for ourselves. Take our talent, let us not try to educate ourselves that we may have the repute of being wise, but let every gain of mental attainment be still that we may serve Thee better.
May every breath be for Thee; may every minute be spent for Thee. Help us to live while we live and while we are busy in the world as we must be, for we are called to it, may we sanctify the world for Thy service. May we be lumps of salt in the midst of society. May our spirit and temper as well as our conversation be heavenly; may there be an influence about us that shall make the world the better before we leave it. Lord hear us in this thing.
And now that we have Thine ear we would pray for this poor world in which we live. We are often horrified by it. O, Lord, we could wish that we did not know anything about it for our own comfort. We have said, "Oh! for a lodge in some vast wilderness." We hear of oppression and robbery and murder, and men seem let loose against each other. Lord, have mercy upon this great and wicked city. What is to be done with these millions? What can we do? At least help every child of Thine to do his utmost. May none of us contribute to the evil directly or indirectly, but may we contribute to the good that is in it.
We feel we may speak with Thee now about this, for when Thy servant Abraham stood before Thee and spake with such wonderful familiarity to Thee, he pleaded for Sodom; and we plead for London We would follow the example of the Father of the Faithful and pray for all great cities, and indeed for all the nations. Lord let Thy kingdom come. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth. Chase the old dragon from his throne, with all his hellish crew. Oh! that the day might come when even upon earth the Son of the woman, the Man-child, should rule the nations, not with a broken staff of wood, but with an enduring sceptre of iron, full of mercy, but full of power, full of grace, but yet irresistible. Oh! that that might soon come, the personal advent of our Lord! We long for the millennial triumph of His Word.
Until then, O Lord, gird us for the fight, and make us to be among those who overcome through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of our testimony, because we "love not our lives unto the death."
We lift our voice to Thee in prayer; also, for all our dear ones. Lord bless the sick and make them well as soon as it is right they should be. Sanctify to them all they have to bear. There are also dear friends who are very weak; some that are very trembling. God bless them. While the tent is being taken down may the inhabitant within look on with calm joy, for we shall by-and-by "be clothed upon with our house that is from heaven." Lord help us to sit very loose by all these things here below. May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.
Lord save the unconverted, and bring out, we pray Thee, from among them those who are converted, but who have not confessed Christ. May the Church be built up by many who, having believed, are baptised unto the sacred name. We pray Thee go on and multiply the faithful in the land. Oh! that Thou wouldst turn the hearts of men to the gospel once more. Thy servant is often very heavy in heart because of the departures from the faith. Oh! bring them back; let not Satan take away any more of the stars with his tail, but may the lamps of God shine bright. Oh! Thou that walkest amongst the seven golden candlesticks trim the flame, pour forth the oil, and let the light shine brightly and steadily. Now, Lord, we cannot pray any longer, though we have a thousand things to ask for. Thy servant cannot, so he begs to leave a broken prayer at the mercy seat with this at the foot of it: We ask in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.