Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An evening prayer

On the 200th anniversary of her death, one of Jane Austen's prayers:
Father of Heaven, whose goodness has brought me in safety to the close of this day, dispose my heart in fervent prayer. Another day is now gone and added to those for which I was already accountable. Teach me, Almighty Father, to consider this solemn truth, as I should do, that I may feel the importance of every day and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what your goodness may yet bestow on me than I have done of the time past.

Give me grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which my blessed savior has set me the highest example, and which, while it prepares me for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure the best enjoyment of what the world can give. Incline me, O God, to think humbly of myself, to be severe only in the examination of my own conduct, to consider my fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity that I would desire from them myself.

I thank you with all my heart for every gracious dispensation, for all the blessings that have attended my life, for every hour of safety, health, and peace; and of domestic comfort and innocent enjoyment. I feel that I have been blessed far beyond anything that I have deserved. And though I cannot but pray for a continuance of all these mercies, I acknowledge my unworthiness of them and implore you to pardon the presumption of my desires.

Keep me, O Heavenly Father, from evil this night. Bring me in safety to the beginning of another day, and grant that I may rise again with every serious and religious feeling that now directs me.

May your mercy be extended over all mankind, bringing the ignorant to the knowledge of your truth, awakening the impenitent, touching the hardened. Look with compassion upon the afflicted of every condition. Assuage the pangs of disease, comfort the broken in spirit.

More particularly do I pray for the safety and welfare of my own family and friends wheresoever dispersed, beseeching you to avert from them all material and lasting evil of body and mind. And may I, by the assistance of your Holy Spirit, to so conduct myself on Earth as to secure an eternity of happiness in your Heavenly kingdom.

Grant this, most merciful Father, for the sake of my blessed savior, in whose name and words I further address you,
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.