O Lord of life, and Lord of love! Love us into life, and give us life to love Thee. And if the passion of our souls go not out toward Thee, yet let obedience and quiet godliness be ours, until such time as faithful doing shall bring gladsome singing, and thy statutes, which once were but statutes to us, shall “become our songs in the house of our pilgrimage.”
O Lord of boundless life, grant us life enough to put life into all things, that when we travel o’er this part of our life, and it seems but dust and barrenness, we may be of those who hope in Thee. Smite Thou the rock, that water may come. Touch this barrenness, till all things bloom. Touch those of us whose life is barrener than it need be— lacking knowledge and beauty, filled with petty interests and foolish cares, growing no Rose of Sharon, no flowers of God. Lord, forgive us that our life is so poor, and grant us the thoughts of God, that we may be enabled for the time to come to make this very desert blossom as the rose.
Grant that ever the outward may lead us into inward places, that whensoever the glory of this world is great, we may be listening to hear the message of the Spirit of God. Be to us according to our need, sunshine or shade, brightness or quiet gloom; now shining upon us with thy lustre, now hiding us under the shadow of thy wings. All our life long live in us, love us, be patient with us. Remember our frame, that we are but dust. But if Thou touch the dust, the soul doth live in dust, and through dust the beauties of God and the loveliness of Christ are manifest. Grant that the beauty of the Lord may be upon us, and that we, short-lived, vexed with cares, hungry, thirsty, naked, dying, corrupted, that in us the Spirit of God may so come and so dwell, that the beauty of the Lord may be upon us, and the work of our hands may be established.
Loving Father, of thy pity we beseech Thee to bless those who are in sore trouble. Be to them as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. We beseech Thee to bless all sad-hearted children. They are thine. Love Thou them, and make them know that Thou lovest them, that their sad hearts may through sadness be brought very nigh to Thee, and so at last the joy of the Lord may spring up within them.
Forgive all our errors and sins; show us all the path of life; lead us and guide us to the end, and afterward receive us to glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.—Amen.
George Dawson, non-conformist English preacher