Monday, December 6, 2010

A Prayer for Difficult Times

Simon Patrick, The Works of Symon Patrick, Vol. 9, pp. 317-319:

A Private Prayer to be Used in Difficult Times

O ALMIGHTY GOD, who art the refuge and strength of all those that truly fear thee, and put their trust in thee; we thy servants, who have had long experience of thy goodness, and found thee a present help in the needful time of trouble, most earnestly flee unto thy infinite mercies, to implore thy grace and favour towards us in this distressed church: who know not what to do, but only lift up our eyes unto thee, from whom cometh our salvation.

Our sins indeed testify against us, that we justly deserve to be forsaken by thee, and given up as a prey to those that hate us. For we have done very wickedly, and been so far from bringing forth the fruits of the gospel of thy grace, (which we have long enjoyed in its purity,) that too many of us have turned it into wantonness, and the best of us have not been so zealous of good works as our most holy religion and the singular benefits we have enjoyed by it required from us.

Our contempt or neglect of thy divine service, our unrighteousness and uncharitableness one towards another, our riot and intemperance, our filthiness and uncleanness, our insensibleness of our brethren's miseries, and all our other high provocations call for vengeance upon us. And it is of thy mere mercy, thy longsuffering mercy, that we are not already laid waste, and made the scorn and derision of those who are round about us.

Unto that inconceivable mercy and most tender compassion we still betake ourselves, and sue for further patience and forbearance towards us; beseeching thee with earnest cries, Spare us,' good Lord, spare thy people, and give us not up unto a reproach.

Remember not our sins nor our transgressions, but according to thy mercy remember thou us for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.For thy name's sake pardon our iniquity, though it be great.

Look upon our affliction and our trouble, and forgive all our sin.

Consider our enemies, for they are many; and they hate us with a cruel hatred. But do not thou forsake us, O Lord; O our God, be not thou far from us: but preserve us in the free and undisturbed profession of thy holy religion, here established among us.

Suffer not the doctrine of the gospel to be here again corrupted, thy worship and service adulterated, the holy communion of Christ's body and blood depraved and maimed, the just rights and liberties of this church to be oppressed by any of those who have evil will unto it.

But preserve us, O Lord, from their evil designs, for thy mercy's sake, for thy holy truth's sake, (here reformed from many superstitions wherewith it was defiled,) for the sake of thy faithful people, who cry day and night unto thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who died for us, and suffered upon the cross to testify to that truth which we maintain, whom we own for our only Mediator and Advocate, whose sacrifice, once offered, we believe to be an all-sufficient satisfaction for us; whose merits alone we mention to thee, and depend upon; by whose agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion, resurrection and intercession, we beg to be delivered by thee.

Deny not, blessed Lord, the suits of such supplicants; let them never be put to confusion, but deliver them in thy righteousness; bow down thy ears unto them, and make haste to deliver them.Be thou their strong rock and house of defence, that thou mayest save them.

And for that end, stir up the hearts of all thy people to be more than ordinary zealous in their religion, more fervent and frequent in prayers and supplications, more serious in their repentance and humiliations; more constant and devout in receiving the holy communion ; more strict and careful in their whole Christian conversation.

Endue all the ministers of our religion with integrity, wisdom, and courage. Bless their labours, and protect them in the faithful discharge of their duty. And give all the people grace to follow their godly instructions, that they may be preserved from all dangerous errors and delusions.

Quicken the magistrates in their several places to maintain truth as well as execute justice.

Restore a happy unity among us, that we may standfast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.

And let it not be in the power of any of our enemies to overthrow that blessed work of reformation of religion which was brought about by the long study, and labours, and prayers, and sufferings, and blood of many of thy faithful servants; but perfect and complete it, we beseech thee, by making us all so sensible of the inestimable value of that blessing, that it may be more and more effectual in the reformation of all our lives.

Continue thy protection also over all other reformed churches, which, hitherto, are in safety. And where they are laid waste graciously restore them, after they have suffered a while with patience, to their lost liberties and enjoyments.

Hear their cry, O Lord, and arise for the sighing of these poor distressed Christians; and set them in safety from those who swell against them.

Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, and establish thou the just.

Break the arm of wicked and evil men; seek out their wickedness till thou find none.

So we thy people and sheep of thy pastures will give thee thanks for ever; we will show forth thy praise to all generations, saying,

Blessed be the Lord God our Saviour and Deliverer, who only doth wondrous things.

And blessed be his glorious name forever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory, Amen and Amen.

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