O LORD God! the Fountain of all fullness, we, who are nothing but emptiness, come unto Thee for all supplies, nor shall we come in vain, since we bear with us a plea which is all prevalent. Since we come commanded by Thy Word, encouraged by Thy promise, and preceded by Christ Jesus, our great High Priest, we know that whatsoever we shall ask in prayer, believing, we shall receive. Only do Thou help us now to ask right things and may the utterances of our mouth be acceptable in Thy sight, O God our Strength and our Redeemer.
We would first adore Thy blessed and ever-to-be-beloved Name. “All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting.” Heaven is full of Thy glory. Oh! that men’s hearts were filled therewith, that the noblest creatures Thou hast made, whom Thou didst set in the Paradise of God, for whom the Savior shed His blood, loved Thee with all their hearts.
The faithful, chosen, called, and separated, join in the everlasting song. All Thy redeemed praise Thee, O God! As the God of our election, we extol Thee for Thine everlasting and immutable love. As the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we bless Thee for that unspeakable gift, the offering of Thine Only-begotten. Words are but air, and tongues but clay, and Thy compassion is divine, therefore it is not possible that any words of ours should “reach the height of this great argument” or sound forth Thy worthy praise for this superlative deed of grace.
We bless Thee, also, divine Son of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, that Thou didst not disdain to be born of the Virgin, and that, being found in fashion like a man, thou didst not refuse to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Let Thy brows be girt with something better than thorns. Let the eternal diadem forever glitter there. Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood. Unto Thee be glory, and honor, and power, and majesty, and dominion, and might, forever and ever!
And equally, most blessed Spirit, Thou who didst brood over chaos and bring it into order, Thou who didst beget the Son of God’s body of flesh, Thou who didst quicken us to spiritual life, by whose divine energy we are sanctified and hope to be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, unto Thee, also, be hallelujahs, world without end!
O Lord! our soul longeth for words of fire, but we cannot reach them! Oh! when shall we drop this clay which now is so uncongenial to our song? When shall we be able with wings to mount upward to Thy throne, and having learned some flaming sonnets that have once been sung by cherubim above, we shall praise Thee forever?
Yet even these are not rich enough for Thy glory. We would sing unto Thee a new song. We will, when we reach the heavenly shore, become leaders of the eternal music. “Day without night” will we “circle God’s throne rejoicing,“ and count it the fulness of our glory, our bliss, our heaven, to wave the palm, and cast our crowns with our songs at Thy feet forever and ever!
Our Father, which art in heaven, next to this we would offer prayer for those who never think of Thee, who, though created by Thee, are strangers to Thee, who are fed by Thy bounty and yet never lift their voices to Thee, but live for self, for the world, for Satan, for sin. Father, these cannot pray for themselves for they are dead. Thy quickened children pray for them. These will not come to Thee, for, like sheep, they are lost, but do Thou seek them, Father, and bring them back.
Oh! our glorious Lord, Thou hast taught us to pray for others, for the grace which could have met with such undeserving sinners as we are must be able to meet with the vilest of the vile. Oh! we cannot boast of what we are. We cannot boast of what we have been by nature. Had we our doom, we had now been in hell. Had we this day our proper, natural, and deserved position, we should still have been in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. ‘Tis Thy rich, free, sovereign, distinguishing grace which has brought us up out of the miry clay and set our feet upon a rock. And shall we even refuse to pray for others? Shall we leave a stone unturned for their conversion? Shall we not weep for those who have no tears and cry for those who have no prayers? Father, we must and we will.
“Fain our pity would reclaim,
And snatch the fire-brands from the flame.”
There are those who are utterly careless about divine things. Wilt Thou impress them! May some stray shot reach their conscience! Oh! that they may be led solemnly to consider their position and their latter end! May thoughts of death and of eternity dash like some mighty waves, irresistibly against their souls! Oh! may heaven’s light shine into their conscience! May they begin to ask themselves, where they are, and what they are, and may they be turned unto the Lord with full purpose of heart.
There are others who are concerned, but they are halting between two opinions. There are some that we love in the flesh who have not yet decided for God. Behold it trembles in the balance! Cast in Thy cross, O Jesus, and turn the scale! Oh! Love irresistible, come forth and carry by blessed storm the hearts which have not yet yielded to all the attacks of the law! Oh! that some who never could be melted, even by the furnace of Sinai, may be dissolved by the beams of love from the tearful eyes of Jesus!
Lord, Lord, if there be a heart that is saying, “Now, behold I yield. Lo! at Thy feet rebellion’s weapons I lay down and cease to be Thy foe, Thou King of kings”—if there be one who is saying, “I am willing to be espoused unto Christ, to be washed in His blood, to be called in His righteousness”—bring that willing sinner in now! May there be no longer delay, but may this be the time when, once for all, the great transaction shall be done and they shall be their Lord’s and He shall be theirs.
Oh! that we could pour out our soul in prayer for the unconverted! Thou knowest where they will all be in a few years! Oh! by Thy wrath, we pray Thee, let them not endure it! By the flames of hell, be pleased to ransom them from going down into the pit! By everything that is dreadful in the wrath to come, we do argue with Thee to have mercy upon these sons of men, even upon those who have no mercy upon themselves. Father, hast Thou not promised Thy Son to see of His soul’s travail? We point Thee to the ransom paid. We point Thee once again to the groans of Thy Son, to His agony, and bloody sweat! Turn, turn Thy glorious eyes thither, and then look on sinners and speak the word and bid them live. Righteous Father, refresh every corner of the vineyard and on every branch of the vine let the dew of heaven rest. Oh! that Thou wouldest bless Thy Church throughout the world! Let visible union be established, or if not that, yet let the invisible union which has always existed be better recognised by believers. Wilt Thou repair our schisms? Wilt Thou repair the breaches which have been made in the walls of Zion? Oh! that Thou wouldest purge us of everything unscriptural, till all Christians shall come to the law and to the testimony, and still keep the ordinances and the doctrines as they were committed to the apostles by Christ!
Remember our land in this time of need. Do Thou be pleased by some means to relieve the distress prevalent. Quicken the wheels of commerce that the many who are out of employment in this city may no longer be crying for work and bread. Oh! that Thou wouldest make wars to cease to the ends of the earth, or when they break out, break Thou the slave’s fetters thereby, and though desperate be the evil, yet grant that Satan may cast out Satan and may his kingdom be divided and so fall.
Above all, Thou long-expected Messiah, do Thou come! Thine ancient people who despised Thee once are waiting for Thee in Thy second coming, and we, the Gentiles, who knew Thee not, neither regarded Thee, we too are watching for Thine advent. Make no tarrying, O Jesus! May Thy feet soon stand again on Olivet! Thou shalt not have this time there to sweat great drops of blood, but Thou shall come to proclaim the year of vengeance for Thy foes and the year of acceptance for Thy people.
“When wilt thou the heavens rend,
In majesty come down?”
Earth travails for Thy coming. The whole creation groaneth in pain together until now. Thine own expect Thee. We are longing till we are weary for Thy coming. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen and Amen.