In my life stage – with 4 kids, there are plenty of games. “Dad, would you like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini?” “Dad, if you were stuck on an island, what is the one thing you would take with you?” “Dad, would you prefer….?”
Only a few months ago we had to think a little bit like this for real! We were warned by the SES that we might need to evacuate our home because of the fires. What would we take? So, us Robbos diligently got things together, putting our valuables in the fire box.
My one thing that will always find its way to the fire box is a gift that I received upon my ordination as a deacon in December 2010. I have treasured this book. It’s called “A New Manual of Devotions” and the copy that I own is the 17th edition, published in 1738. I’m not sure when the first edition was published. I’ve had a brief search, with no success.
One of the reasons why I love this book so much is that every known ordained minister on one side of my family has been the steward of this book. My father, who sourced it from a family member in Canada put together a family tree highlighting all the holders of it back to 1740. It is signed Will Deane, 1740, W.H Deane (undated), William Deane, 1868. Others have had it since, but couldn’t quite bring themselves to sign it as I can’t! My link to the Deane family is through my Great Grandmother, who’s maiden name was Deane.
I regularly use the book for my personal prayer time and I thought for this blog, I’d modernise a portion or two of today’s prayer for you. This morning’s prayer reflects some of the work of the Holy Spirt, who is she subject of our Sunday sermon. So I thought it might be helpful for you and me as I continue to prepare for Sunday. I pray you find these very early prayers as rich and encouraging as I do.
A Prayer for Thursday Morning.
Lord, the Creator and Governor of the World! You are of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, and your tender mercy is on display in all that you do. I, your unworthy servant find myself falling low on my knees before your Throne of Grace, to renew the offering of my life in humble praise and adoration to your great and glorious majesty. Blessed is your Name, O God, for sending your Son Jesus Christ into the world, to die for the redemption of mankind, and for all the benefits and gifts I have received as a result. I
I confess, O Lord, that I am not able to please you without your help. Since you have promised to give your Holy Spirit to all who humbly ask for it while trusting in your gracious promises, please help me and enable me to do my duty towards you and towards all people. Please give me a spirit of true and intense devotion to you my Creator and my Redeemer, with an honest, meek, and humble mind, in every condition and state of life, in which you have been pleased to place me.
Oh Lord convince me more and more of the worthless and emptiness of earthly enjoyments, that my heart being lifted up above the pleasures of this life, so it may be surely fixed where true and lasting joy are to be found. Please move me to seek your Kingdom and your righteousness first. Please move me to seek your favour and the testimony of a clear conscience before all things trusting that world could not v provide me with this. Please let neither hopes nor fears neither pleasure nor profit, be ever able to draw from me from my duty to you, being steadfast and unmovable, I may always give myself to the work of the Lord, knowing that my labour for him will never be in vain
And now Lord, I humbly pray that you would take me, and all that are near and dear to me under the care and protection of your good providence. We are safe as long as we are in your hands….”
As I pray these prayers, I am regularly reminded that these prayers were written in days where people didn’t take for granted so much that I do today. The writer will often give thanks to God for visiting him in the night past to protect him and to give him rest. The writer will often stop to give thanks to God for His provision of health and safety in a way that makes me feel that he was aware that his life could be taken at any moment. Hs prayers reflect a determination to express love for God, gratitude to him for his salvation and therefore a whole life devoted to God’s service. I find them deeply encouraging and I pray that you have enjoyed this one too.
Here’s a couple of reflective questions arising from this prayer for your encouragement:
If someone followed me around for a week, what or who would they say I am are devoted to?
In light of eternity, how might you feel about what they would say?
If someone saw my bank statements, what would they say I am devoted to?
If someone saw me in my moments of rest and recreation, what would they say gives my heart rest?
What do you think it means to seek the Kingdom and his righteousness?
Do you think that people who know and love you most would notice that your life over the last 5-10 years reflects a slow and steady increase in your “spirit of true and intense devotion to God our Creator and Redeemer”? Or would they say you’ve being treading water and not much has changed?
Now, may the God of peace Himself make you holy through and through. May your whole being, spirit, soul, and body be kept faithful to Christ at His coming – whenever that may be.
With love and the promise of my prayers,