Thursday, April 27

The Beginning of Letting Go

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

I have to say, I never thought I'd be one of those people. I never thought I'd leave my church. Well, not until a few years ago.  It started before this thing that happened that I've labelled "the beginning." So, I have to tell you my story about faith and church membership.

Monday, April 24

My Sewing and Craft Studio Redesign: The Vision

My Sewing and Craft Studio Redesign: The Vision
I am so excited that my new space is almost ready to move in and make it mine! This is something I have been yearning for such a long time!

Monday, April 17

A prayer for Sunday Evening

Spirit of God, you are a gracious and willing guest in every heart that is humble enough to receive Thee. Be present now within my heart and guide my prayer.

A prayer for today: 1a

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of you, let my first impulse be to worship you, let my first speech be your name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer.
For your perfect wisdom and perfect goodness;
For the love you pour out on your people;
For the love you pour out on me;
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life;
For the indwelling of your Spirit in my heart;
For the gifts of the Spirit;
I praise and worship you, O Lord.
Do not, I pray, allow me to end this prayer and go through my day having forgotten you. Instead let light and joy and power go out from these moments of quietness that will remain with me the whole day long.
Keep me pure in thought;
Keep me pleasant and truthful in speech;
Keep me faithful and diligent in my work;
Keep me humble in my estimation of myself;
Keep me fair and generous in my dealings with others;
Keep me loyal to every sacred memory of the past;
Keep me mindful of my eternal calling as a child of God.
O God, you have been the protector of your people through all our generations. Be my protector today in every situation. Be my guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my guard against all threats to my spirit. Be my strength against temptation. Fill my heart with peace and joy; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 1p

O Lord who is from everlasting to everlasting, I would turn my thoughts to you as the hours of darkness and of sleep begin. O Sun of my soul, I rejoice to know that all night I shall be under the unsleeping eye of One who dwells in eternal light.

To your care, O Father, I commend my body and my soul. All day you have watched over me and your companionship has filled my heart with peace. Accompany me through every part of this night.

Give me sound and refreshing sleep.
Give me safety from all perils.
Give me freedom from restless dreams.
Give me control of my thoughts, if I should lie awake.
Give me wisdom to remember that the night was made for sleeping,
and not for the harboring of anxious or fretful or shameful thoughts.
Give me grace, if as I lie awake I think at all, to think about you.
I’m fully satisfied—as with a rich dinner. My mouth speaks praise with joy on my lips—whenever I ponder you on my bed, whenever I meditate on you in the middle of the night.[1]

To your care also, O Father, I would commend my loved ones, asking you to keep them safe in soul and body, and to be present in their hearts tonight as a Spirit of power and of joy and of restfulness. I pray also for the wider circle of all my associates, my co-workers, my community, and all the people of the world, who are dear to you; through Jesus Christ, our common Lord. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1] Psalm 63:5-6, Common English Bible

A prayer for today: 2a

O God my Creator and Redeemer, I may not begin my day unless you accompany me with your blessing. Let not the vitality and freshness of the morning, or the glow of good health, or the present success of my endeavors, deceive me into a false reliance upon my own strength. All these good gifts have come to me from you. They were yours to give and they are yours also to curtail. They are not mine to keep; I merely hold them in trust; and only in continued dependence upon you, the Giver, can they be worthily enjoyed.

Let me then put back into your hand all that you have given me, rededicating to your service all the powers of my mind and body, all my worldly goods, all my influence with others. All these, O Father, are yours to use as you will. All these are yours, O Christ. All these are yours, O Holy Spirit. Speak in my words today, think in my thoughts, and work in all my deeds. Because you graciously use even weak humans in the fulfillment of your mighty purpose for the world, let my life today be the channel through which some little portion of your divine love and pity may reach the lives that are nearest to my own.

In your holy presence, O God, I remember all my friends and neighbors, especially the poor within our community, imploring you that you would give me grace, as I am able, to serve them in your name.

O blessed Jesus, who used your own most precious life for the redemption of all people, giving no thought to ease or pleasure or worldly enrichment, but filling up all your hours and days with deeds of self-denying love, give me grace today to follow in your footsteps. To your name be all the glory and the praise, forever. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 2p

O Father in heaven, who formed my body to serve you and my soul to follow purposefully after you, with sorrow and contrition of heart I confess before you the faults and failures of the day. Too long, O God, have I tried your patience; too often have I betrayed the sacred trust you have given me to keep; yet you still welcome my humble plea, praying that you will drown my sins in the sea of your own infinite love.

My failure to be true even to my own accepted standards;
My self-deception in the face of temptation;
My choosing of the worse when I know the better:
O Lord, forgive.
My failure to apply to myself the standards of conduct I demand of others;
My blindness to the suffering of others and my slowness to be taught by my own;
My indifference for wrongs that do not touch me and my oversensitivity to those that do;
My slowness to see the good in others and to see the evil in myself;
My hardness of heart towards my neighbors’ faults and my readiness to make allowance for my own;
My unwillingness to believe that you have called me to a small work and my brother to a great one;
O Lord, forgive.

Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me! Please don’t throw me out of your presence; please don’t take your holy spirit away from me.  Return the joy of your salvation to me and sustain me with a willing spirit.[1]  Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1]Psalm 51:10-13, Common English Bible

A prayer for today: 3a

Lord of my life, whose law I desire to keep, whose fellowship I want to enjoy, and to whose service I would happily be loyal, I kneel before you as you send me forth to the work of another day.

For this new day I give you humble thanks: for its gladness and its brightness: for its long hours waiting to be filled with joyous and helpful effort: for its open doors of possibility: for its hope of new beginnings. Quicken in my heart, I pray, the desire to take advantage of today’s opportunity. Do not let me break faith with any of yesterday’s promises, nor leave any of yesterday’s wrongs unrepaired. Let me see no fellow traveler in distress and pass by on the other side. Let me leave no summit of obligation or any evil habit behind me unchallenged. Where my action can help to make this world a better place for people to live in, where my word can cheer a despondent heart or brace a weak will, where my prayer can serve the extension of Christ’s Kingdom, there let me act and speak and pray.

This day, O Lord—
Make me courteous.
Make me humble, and determined to show integrity.
Make me patient.
Make me loving.
Make me virtuous.
Make me speak sincerely.
Make me diligent in my given undertaking.
O God who in the fullness of time did raise up our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to enlighten our hearts with the knowledge of your love, grant me the grace to be worthy of His name. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 3p

O most wise, most great, most holy God, in wisdom and power and tender mercy you created me in your own image. You have given me this life to live, you have appointed my destiny and decided where I should live, you have surrounded me with gracious and generous influences, you have written your law within my heart.

And in my heart’s most secret chamber you are now waiting to meet and speak with me, freely offering me your fellowship in spite of all my sinning. Let me now make the most of of this open road to peace of mind. Let me approach your presence humbly and reverently. Let me carry with me the spirit of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Let me leave behind me all fretfulness, all unworthy desires, all thoughts of malice towards others, all hesitancy in surrendering my will to yours.

In your will, O Lord, is my peace.
In your love is my rest
In your service is my joy.
You are all my heart’s desire.
Do I have anyone else in heaven?
There’s nothing on earth I desire except you.[1]

In your presence, O God, I think not only of myself, but of others: of my friends, of those who have worked or played with me today, of those who are in sorrow, of those who are bearing the burdens of others, of those who are staffing difficult locations or lonely outposts of your Kingdom. You are the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of us all, be near to us all tonight and graciously keep watch over our souls. Hear my prayer in the name of our Savior and your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1]Psalm 73:25, Common English Bible

A prayer for today: 4a

Almighty and eternal God, you are hidden from my sight. You are beyond the understanding of my mind. Your thoughts are not the same as my thoughts. Your ways cannot be found out.

Yet you have breathed your Spirit into my life. You have formed my mind to seek you. You have persuaded my heart to love you. You have made me restless for the rest that is in you. You have planted within me a hunger and thirst that make me dissatisfied with all the joys of earth.

O Lord God, I praise and magnify your name because you have set your seal upon my inmost being, not leaving me to my own poor and petty self or to the solitary domain of physical urges and desires, but calling me to be an heir of your eternal Kingdom. I bless you for that knocking at my heart’s door that warns me of your waiting presence. I bless you for your hand upon my life, and for the sure knowledge that, however I may fumble and fail, yet underneath are your everlasting arms.

O God who alone knows what lies before me today, grant that in every hour I may stay close to you. Let me be in the world, yet not of it. Let me use this world without abusing it. If I buy, let me have the same attitude as if I owned nothing. If I have nothing, let me have the same dignity as if I possessed all things. Let me embark on no undertaking that is not in line with your will for my life, nor shrink from any sacrifice which your will may demand. Suggest, direct, control every movement of my mind; for the sake of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 4p

Creator of all things seen and unseen, before your eyes all human hearts lie bare and open. Inhibit my desire to hide anything from you that I have done or thought or imagined today. Whatever I think that I must hide from the knowledge of others forever, let me now openly acknowledge in your presence. What no proper shame kept me from committing, let no false shame keep me now from confessing.

O God whose tender mercies are over all your works, humbly and sorrowfully I crave your forgiveness for the sins of this day:
For every weakening and degrading thought which my mind has harbored;
For every word spoken in impulsiveness or passion;
For every failure of self-control;
For every stumbling block I have set in another’s way, whether by deed or example;
For every opportunity lost;
For every blessing thanklessly received;
For loitering feet and a procrastinating will.
Grant that, as the days go by, your Spirit may more and more rule in my heart, giving me victory over these and all other sinful ways.

To your loving guardianship, O Lord, I commend all those who are dear to me. Bless all those among whom I live and work and play, and grant them a satisfying sense of your reality and power. Be with all those who tonight are in any peril or distress. Be in every aching heart, in every stricken home, beside every bed of pain, giving to all the blessing of your peace. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 5a

God of my forbears, I cry out to you. You have been the refuge of good and wise people in every generation. When history began, you were the first enlightener of people’s minds, and yours was the Spirit that first led them out of their uncivilized state and cultivated them. Through all the ages you have been the Lord and giver of life, the source of all knowledge, the fountain of all goodness.

The patriarchs trusted you and were not put to shame.
The prophets sought you and you committed your word to their lips.
The psalmists rejoiced in you and you were present in their song.
The apostles waited for you and they were filled with your Holy Spirit.
The martyrs called upon you and you were with them in the midst of the flame. This suffering person cried out: the Lord listened and saved him from every trouble.[1]
O God who was and is and is to come, I thank you that this Christian way that I walk is no untried or uncharted road, but a road beaten hard by the footsteps of saints, apostles, prophets, and martyrs. I thank you for the guide posts and danger signals with which it is marked at every turn and which may be known to me through the study of the Bible, and of all history, and of all the great literature of the world. Beyond all I give you devout and humble thanks for the great gift of Jesus Christ, the Pioneer of our faith. I praise you that you have caused me to be born in an age and in a land which have known His name, and that I am not called upon to face any temptation or trial which He did not first endure.
Holy Lord, do not let me fail to profit by these great memories of the ages past, or to enter into the glorious inheritance which you have prepared for me; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1]Psalm 34:6, Common English Bible

A prayer for today: 5p

Almighty God, in this hour of quiet I seek communion with you. From the fret and fever of the day’s activities, from the world’s discordant noises, from the praise and blame of others, from the confused thoughts and vain imaginations of my own heart, I now turn aside and seek the quietness of your presence. All day long have I labored and struggled; but now, in stillness of heart and in the clear light of your eternity, I ponder the pattern my life has been weaving.

O Holy Spirit, let a great sense of your power and your glory fall upon me now, so that I may see all earthly things in their true measure.
Help me to grasp that one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day to you.
Give me an understanding of your perfect holiness that will end all pride in my own success.
Give me now a vision of your uncreated beauty that will make me dissatisfied with all lesser beauties.
Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.[1]

I am content, Lord, to leave my life in your hands, believing that the very hairs upon my head are numbered by you. I am content to give over my will to your control, believing that I can find in you a righteousness that I could never have won for myself. I am content to leave all my dear ones to your care, believing that your love for them is greater than my own. I am content to leave in your hands the causes of truth and of justice, and the coming of your Kingdom in the hearts of all people, believing that my zeal for them is but a feeble shadow of your purpose. To you, O God, be glory forever. Amen

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1] Emily Brontë 

A prayer for today: 6a

O God, who has shown love for all people by sending Jesus Christ our Lord, and have illumined our human lives by the radiance of His presence, I give you thanks for this your greatest gift.

For my Lord’s days upon the earth:
For the record of His deeds of love:
For the words He spoke for my guidance and help:
For His obedience unto death:
For His triumph over death:
For the presence of His Spirit with me now:
I thank you, Father.
Grant that the remembrance of the blessed Life that once was lived out on this common earth under these ordinary skies may remain with me in all the tasks and duties of this day. Let me remember—
His eagerness, not to be ministered unto, but to minister:
His sympathy with suffering of every kind:
His bravery in face of His own suffering:
His meekness of attitude, refraining from returning insult with insult:
His steadiness of purpose in keeping to His appointed task:
His simplicity:
His self-discipline:
His serenity of spirit:
His complete reliance upon you, His Father in Heaven.
And in each of these ways give me grace to follow in His footsteps.
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I commit all my ways to you. I make over my soul to trust in you. I pledge my life to your service. May this day be for me a day of obedience and of charity, a day of happiness and of peace. May all my walk and conversation honor the Gospel of Christ. Amen.
Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 6p

I lift up my soul to you, O Lord, for you are the only origin of all that is good and fair and true.

O God, let your Spirit now enter my heart
Now as I pray this prayer, let not any room within me be furtively closed to keep you out.
O God, Give me power to follow after that which is good.
Now as I pray this prayer let there be no secret purpose of evil formed in my mind that waits for an opportunity of fulfillment.
O God, bless all my undertakings and cause them to prosper.
Now as I pray this prayer, let me not be still holding to some undertaking on which I dare not ask your blessing.

A prayer for today: 7a

O Lord, maker of all things, your creative power brought forth the first light. You looked upon the world’s first morning and saw that it was good. I praise you for this light that now streams through my windows to rouse me to the life of another day.

I praise you for the life that stirs me:
I praise you for the bright and beautiful world into which I go:
I praise you for earth and sea and sky, for sailing cloud and singing bird:
I praise you for the work you have given me to do:
I praise you for all that you have given me to fill my leisure hours:
I praise you for my friends:
I praise you for music and books and good company and all pure pleasures.

Eternal God of Mercy, give me a tender heart today towards all those to whom the morning light brings less joy than it brings to me:
Those in whom the pulse of life grows weak:
Those who must lie on their beds through all the sunny hours:
The blind, who are shut off from the light of day:
The overworked, who have no joy of leisure:
The unemployed, who have no joy of labor:
The bereaved, whose hearts and homes are desolate:
And grant your mercy on them all.

O Light that never fades, as the light of day now streams through these windows and floods this room, so let me open to you the windows of my heart, that all my life may be filled by the radiance of your presence. Let no corner of my being be shadowed from the light of your presence. Let there be nothing within me to darken the brightness of the day. Let the Spirit of Him whose life was the light of humanity rule within my heart till evening. Amen

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 7p

Before I sleep, O God, I seek the brightness of your presence as you live in everlasting light. As my limbs grow heavy and my spirit begins to flag, I commit my soul to the One who never tires. As I lie down to sleep, I cast myself upon your tireless care. Now, when I lie helpless, I rely upon your love and eternal watch.

A prayer for today: 8a

O God, out of your love and care you sent us Jesus Christ to shine his light in our darkness. Give me wisdom to learn from the words he spoke and grace to follow in his steps.

Jesus Christ said, “And whenever you stand up to pray, if you have something against anyone, forgive.”[1]
O God, give me grace now to do so.

Jesus Christ said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[2]
O God, give me grace today to think, not of what I can get, but of what I can give.

Jesus Christ said, “But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”[3]
O God, grant that what I give may be given without self-congratulation, and without thought of praise or reward.

Jesus Christ said, “Go in through the narrow gate.”[4]
O God, give me grace this day to keep to the narrow path of duty and ethical dealing.

Jesus Christ said, “Don’t judge.”[5]
O God, give me grace this day first to take the log out of my own eye, before I look at the splinter in my brother’s or sister’s eye.

Jesus Christ said, “Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives?”[6]
O God, give me grace to live out this day in such a way that, whatever else I lose, I may not lose my soul.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

Scripture references from the Common English Bible
[1]Mark 11:25
[2]Acts 20:35
[3]Matthew 6:3
[4]Matthew 7:13
[5]Matthew 7:1
[6]Matthew 16:26

A prayer for today: 8p

O God, the sustainer of all people, I bring before you the burden of the world’s life tonight. I join myself to the great scattered circle of those who, in every corner of every land, are now crying out to you in their need. Hear us, O God, and look in pity upon our many necessities, since you alone are able to satisfy all our desire.

A prayer for today: 9a

Here I am, with little power and less wealth, lifting up my heart to you, O God, before whom all created things are but dust and breeze. You are hidden behind the curtain of senses, incomprehensible in your greatness, mysterious in your almighty power; yet here I speak with you familiarly as child to parent, as friend to friend. If I couldn’t speak to you this way, I would lose hope. For I have little power to do or to command. I am not here by my own will, nor by my own will shall I pass. Very little of what happens to me today will be what I have chosen for myself. It is you, O hidden One, who decides what I will have and where I will go. It is you who has put power in my hand to do one task and has withheld the skill to do another. It is you who keeps in your grasp the threads of this day’s life and who alone knows what lies before me to do or to suffer. But because you are my Father, I am not afraid. Because it is your own Spirit that stirs within me, I know that all is well. What I desire for myself I cannot accomplish, but what you desire in me you can achieve for me. You The determine the good that I do, for you give me the power to act.

Dear Father, take my life into your own keeping today. Control all my thoughts and feelings. Direct all my energies. Instruct my mind. Nourish my will. Take my hands and make them skillful to serve you. Take my feet and make them swift to do your bidding. Take my eyes and keep them fixed upon your everlasting beauty. Take my mouth and make it eloquent in testimony to your love. Make this day a day of obedience, a day of spiritual joy and peace. Make this day’s work a little part of the work of the Kingdom of my Lord Christ, in whose name these prayers are said.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 9p

O merciful Lord, who looks down upon the weaknesses of your people more in disappointment than in anger, and more in love than in  disappointment, let me now in your holy presence seek out the secrets of my heart.

A prayer for today: 10a

God! My God! It’s you—I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you! My body desires you in a dry and tired land, no water anywhere.Yes, I’ve seen you in the sanctuary;  I’ve seen your power and glory. My lips praise you because your faithful love is better than life itself![1]

I praise you seven times a day for your righteous rules.The people who love your Instruction enjoy peace—and lots of it. There’s no stumbling for them![2]

How can young people keep their paths pure? By guarding them according to what you’ve said.[3]

Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths.Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—because you are the God who saves me. I put my hope in you all day long.[4]

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep close watch over the door that is my lips.[5]

Keep my steps steady by your word; don’t let any sin rule me.[6]

Who can live in your tent, Lord?  Who can dwell on your holy mountain? The person who lives free of blame, does what is right, and speaks the truth sincerely; who does no damage with their talk, does no harm to a friend, doesn’t insult a neighbor;someone who despises those who act wickedly, but who honors those who honor the Lord; someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts;someone who doesn’t lend money with interest, who won’t accept a bribe against any innocent person. Whoever does these things will never stumble.[7]

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you Lord, my rock and my redeemer.[8]

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1]Psalm 63:1-3
[2]Psalm 119:164-165
[3]Psalm 119:9
[4]Psalm 25:4-5
[5]Psalm 141:3
[6]Psalm 119:133
[7]Psalm 15
[8]Psalm 19:14

A prayer for today: 10p

Almighty and eternal God, I thank you for your love that follows me all the days of my life. I thank you for informing my mind with your divine truth and strengthening my will with your divine grace. I thank you for every evidence of your Spirit's leading, and for all those little happenings which, though seeming at the time no more than chance, afterwards appear to me as part of your gracious plan for the education of my soul. O let me not refuse your leading or quench this light which you have kindled within me, but rather let me grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord and Master.

A prayer for today: 11a

O Omnipresent One, beneath whose all-seeing eye our mortal lives are passed, help me to act with true kindness and integrity today. Let me be just and true in all my interactions. Let no unkind or crude thought have a moment’s place in my mind. Let my motives be transparent to all. Let my word be my bond. Let me take no inconsiderate advantage of anybody. Let me be generous in my judgment of others. Let me be disinterested in my opinions. Let me be loyal to my friends and magnanimous to my opponents. Let me face adversity with courage. Let me not ask or expect too much for myself.

Yet, O Lord God, do not let me content myself with such an ideal of maturity as anyone has known apart from Christ. Rather let such a mind be in me as was in Him. Do not let me rest until I achieve the reputation of His own fullness. Let me listen to Christ’s question: What more are you doing [than others]?[1]And so may the Christian grace of faith, hope, and love be more and more formed within me, until all my walk and conversation declares the gospel of Christ.

O thou whose love for all was proven in the passion and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, let the power of His Cross be with me today. Let me love as He loved. Let my obedience be unto death. In leaning upon His Cross, let me not refuse my own; yet let me bear it by His strength.

Because you have set the individual in families, I crave your heavenly blessing also for all the members of this household, all my neighbors, and all people. Let Christ rule in every heart and His law be honored in every home. Let every knee be bent before Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1] Matthew 5:47, Common English Bible

A prayer for today: 11p

O merciful heart of God, I open my heart to you in true sorrow and regret. Let me keep nothing hidden from you while I pray. Let me courageously speak the truth about myself in your presence, though it is humbling to do so. What I was not ashamed to commit, let me not be ashamed to confess.

A prayer for today: 12a

O Eternal God, though I cannot see you with my eyes nor touch you with my hands, give me a clear confidence of your reality and power. Do not let me lose myself in the day believing only in the world of sense and time, but give me grace to understand that the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all. My life today will be lived in time, but eternal issues must be my concern. The needs of my body will demand my attention, but it is for the needs of my soul that I must care most. My occupation will be with material things, but behind them let me be aware of spiritual things. Let me always be mindful that the things that matter are not money or possessions, not houses or lands, not bodily comfort or bodily pleasure; but truth and honor and gentleness and helpfulness and a pure love of you.

For the power you have given me to believe in things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give you thanks, O God.
For the infiltration of my soul by your Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of you:
For the fullness of your glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
I give you thanks, O God.

I, a pilgrim of eternity, stand before you, O eternal One. Do not allow me to try to deaden or destroy the desire for you that disturbs my heart. Instead, let me yield myself to its guidance and go where it leads me. Make me wise to see all things through the eyes of eternity, and make me brave to face all the changes in my life which such a vision may entail. I ask these things in the name of your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 12p

O God in whose infinite self are laid up all treasures of wisdom and truth and holiness, grant that through constant fellowship with you the true graces of Christian character may more and more take shape within my soul:
The grace of a thankful and uncomplaining heart:
The grace to wait patiently for your answers and to answer your call promptly:
The grace of courage, whether in suffering or in danger:
The grace to endure difficulty as a good servant of Jesus Christ:

A prayer for today: 13a

O hidden Source of life, I pause meditate upon the great and gracious plan by which you have given me approval to look up to you and call you Father.

In the beginning you, the Uncreated,
Making all things out of nothing:
Space and time and material substance:
All things that creep and fly, the beasts of the forest, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea:
And at last human beings, in your own image, to have fellowship with you:
Then when, in the sin and disobedience of the human heart, that image had been defaced:
A gracious design for its restoration through the gift of your Son:
New life in Him, and a new access to your holy presence.

O hidden love of God, whose will it is that all created spirits should live forever in pure and perfect fellowship with you, grant that in my life today I may do nothing to defeat this your most gracious purpose. Let me keep in mind how your whole creation groans and labors, waiting for the perfect consummation of your plan; and let me welcome every influence of your Spirit upon my own that may speed the approach of that end. When you knock at my heart’s door, let me not keep you standing outside but welcome you with joy and thanksgiving. Let me harbor nothing in my heart that might embarrass your presence; let me keep no corner of it closed to your influence. Do what you will with me, O God; make of me what you will, and change me as you will, and use me as you will, both now and in the larger life beyond; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 13p

O heavenly Father, give me a heart like the heart of Jesus Christ, a heart more ready to minister than to be ministered unto, a heart moved by compassion towards the weak and the oppressed, a heart set upon the coming of your kingdom in the world.

A prayer for today: 14a

O God who orients our poor and shabby human lives, lifting us now and then above the dominance of thoughtless wants and greed, allowing us to shine with the borrowed lights of love and joy and peace, and making our lives mirror the beauties of a world unseen, help my part in the world’s life today not be to obscure the splendor of your presence but rather to make it more plainly visible to the eyes of others.

Let me stand today—
for whatever is pure and true and just and good:
for the advancement of science and education and true learning:
for the redemption of daily business from the blight of self-seeking:
for the rights of the weak and the oppressed:
for social cooperation and mutual help:
for the conservation of the rich traditions of the gospel:
for the recognition of new workings of your Spirit in our minds today:
for the hope of yet more glorious days to come.

Today, O Lord—
let me put right before interest:
let me put others before self:
let me put the things of the spirit before the things of the body:
let me put the attainment of noble ends above the enjoyment of present pleasures:
let me put principle above reputation:
let me put you before all else.

O God, the reflection of whose magnificent glory did once appear in the face of Jesus Christ, give me today a heart like His—a brave heart, a true heart, a tender heart, a heart with great room in it, a heart fixed on you; for His name’s sake. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 14p

O divine Love who ceaselessly stands knocking outside the closed doors of the souls of people, will you not now give me grace to throw open all my soul's doors? Tonight let every bolt and bar be drawn that has previously robbed my life of air and light and love.

A prayer for today: 15a

mortal body made immortal by God
O God who always was and always will be, and is not at one time in one place because all times and places are in you, help me to understand my destiny as your child. Here I stand, weak and mortal, amid the immensities of nature. But I am blessed by you, O Lord God, because you have made me in your own likeness and have breathed into me the breath of your own life. Within this poor body you have set a spirit that is like your own Spirit. Within this corruptible you have planted incorruption and within this mortal immortality. So from this little room and this short hour I can lift up my mind beyond all time and space to you, the uncreated One, until the light of your countenance illumines all my life.

Let me keep in mind that my mortal body is but the servant of my immortal soul:
Let me keep in mind how uncertain is my hold upon my bodily life:
Let me remember that here I have no continuing city, but only a place of sojourn and a time of testing and of training:
Let me use this world without abusing it:
Let me be in this world but not of it:
Let me behave as having nothing yet possessing all things:
Let me understand the vanity of the temporal and the glory of the eternal:
Let my world be centered not in myself but in you:
Almighty God, who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ and set Him at your right hand in glory everlasting, I thank you for this hope of immortality with which through many ages you have cheered and enlightened the souls of your saints, and which you most surely sealed through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

A prayer for today: 15p

O God of mercy, who so cares for me as if you had none else to care for, yet cares for all even as you care for me, I commend to you my own needs but also the needs of all the world.

A prayer for today: 16a

Isaiah 26:9 Bible quote, prayer

At night I long for you with my whole being;
my spirit within me watches for you.
When your judgments are at work in the earth,
those living in the world learn righteousness.[1]
Give me today, O God, a strong and vivid sense that you are by my side. In multitude and solitude, in work and leisure, in my sitting down and in my getting up, may I continuously be aware of your accompanying presence. By your grace, O God, I will go nowhere this day where you cannot come, nor seek any companionship that would rob me of yours. By your grace I will net no thought enter my heart that might hinder my communion with you, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for your ear. So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.
I steadier step
When I recall
That though I slip
You do not fall.
O Desire of all nations, in the knowledge of whose love and power there is salvation for all the peoples of the earth, hasten the day, I pray, when all men shall acknowledge you as Lord. Hasten the day when our earthly society shall become the kingdom of Christ. Hasten the day when your presence and the strong hand of your purpose shall be found not only in the hearts of a few wise and brave people but throughout the broad land, in court and council chamber, in workshop and marketplace, in the city and in the fields. And whatever I myself can do, give me grace this day to begin, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Paraphrase of A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie ©1949 Charles Scribner's Sons

[1]Isaiah 26:9, Common English Bible