O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou has made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
O most merciful Saviour, who willest that all men should be saved; be present with those who are gone forth in thy Name to preach the Gospel in distant lands, especially Southside UMC’s mission team to Guatemala. Be with them in all perils, in sickness and distress, in weariness, in disappointment. Give them sure confidence in thee. Pour out upon them abundantly thy Holy Spirit, and prosper mightily the work of their hands; send unto them faithful and true fellow-laborers. Give them a rich increase there, and grant that hereafter they may dwell with thee in the heavenly places, world without end. Amen.
Taken from The Pastor’s Prayerbook, edited by Robert Rodenmayer, 1960
A few of you may have heard of John Baillie. His most popular book is called A Diary of Private Prayer. I have been using it since 1993, almost every morning. It’s a very rich devotional tool that, no matter how often I use it, still draws me closer to the Lord.
I have not read many things by Baillie, but a few years ago I stumbled upon a collection of various sermons he had given throughout the years. They made up a little book entitled, Christian Devotion. I enjoyed reading it, but the best part of the book, for me, was a short biographical chapter written by his cousin. She did a wonderful job revealing the man behind the devotional that I have been using for years.
My favorite part of the chapter was the following description of his study – not just a few facts about what it looked like – but the life that took place in that study. I know coveting is a sin, so let me say in the most sanctified way I can, that I wouldn’t resist the opportunity, should God provide it, to have a similar study (as well as a similar ministry that took place in it!). Here’s his cousin’s description of his study…
But for those who knew him in his own home in Edinburgh, the most vivid memories of John are set in his study there, that grave book-lined room, with windows shadowed in summer by the trees of the big garden. It was a quiet room, with the noises of our modern world kept outside - no telephone, no radio, no typewriter. And it was a room with three clear focal points. There was the big uncluttered desk by the window where John sat for many hours of the day writing, in his clear beautiful handwriting, sermons, lectures, and articles, and dealing
punctiliously and courteously with the endless steam of letters which came, asking him to preach, to lecture, to advise…
And there was, as another focal point, the big leather chair, where he often sat far into the night reading – the innumerable reports and periodicals which came to him from many quarters, the most recent books of theology and philosophy, novels, poetry, biography, all seasoned (like the reading of many theologians) with a reasonable sprinkling of good “detectives.”
From chair or desk he would leap to his feet to welcome his visitors, with the outstretched hand and quick look of real pleasure which tempted them to forget how busy a man he was…. [after a long list of people came to chat with him, she writes...] Missionaries, and church leaders and theologians of many communions came to talk through their problems with him. And old friends and new came just to be warmed by his friendship.
To welcome these many visitors he would start from desk or chair. But there was a third focal point in that quiet room – the prayer desk by the window with its little pile of well-worn versions of the Scriptures and of devotional books. There, at the times when he was sure to be alone, John Baillie read and thought and worshipped. And through that daily, faithful discipline of will and mind and soul, it became true that the great theologian and Church statesman was first and foremost a man holy and humble of heart.
Amen and amen.
Grace and Truth,
Most gracious God, you crown the year with your goodness. We praise you that you have ever fulfilled your promise that, while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease. We bless you for the order and constancy of nature, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea, and for the providence that year by year supplies our need.
We thank you for your blessing on the work of those who plowed the soil and sowed the seed, and have now gathered in the fruits of the earth. And with our thanksgiving for these blessings, accept our praise, O God, for the eternal riches of your grace in Christ our Lord; to whom, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor and worship, for ever and ever. Amen.
Taken from The United Methodist Book of Worship
excerpted from John Baillie's, A Diary of Private Prayer
Give me, O God, this day a strong and vivid sense that Thou art by my side. In multitude and solitude, in business and leisure, in my downsitting and in my uprising, may I ever be aware of Thine accompanying presence. By Thy grace, O God, I will go nowhere this day where Thou canst not come, nor court any companionship that would rob me of Thine. By Thy grace I will let no thought enter my heart that might hinder my communion with Thee, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for Thine ear. So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.
...Hasten the day, I beseech Thee, when all men shall acknowledge Thee as Lord over all. Hasten the day when our earthly society shall become the kingdom of Christ.
...And whatever I myself can do, give me grace this day to begin; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Lord Jesus, I see it. I see that I have added you to my life, but that I have not subtracted sin as you desire I should. Your gospel is the gospel of addition and subtraction - love and holiness. Deep in my soul I desire to repent, to add you at a new level of full surrender, and to prove my repentance to the world by what I do - by how I behave. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit so that I can demonstrate a changed life to a weary world. Amen
by Pat Morley, from Walking with Christ in the Details of Life
PS - Take this for what it is... a plea to God for help in pursuing holiness... and not a false gospel of justification by works.
O God, who hast made of one blood all the nations of the earth, and hast set the bounds of their habitation that they might seek after thee and find thee: Mercifully hear our supplications, and remove from us the menace of war. Guide the rulers with thy counsel and restrain the passions of the people, so that bloodshed may be averted and peace be preserved. And, by the pouring forth of thy Spirit upon all flesh, quicken the sense of our common brotherhood; bring the nations into a new bond of fellowship; and hasten the time when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Taken from The Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home, 1965
O God, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the darkness, and turnest the shadow of death into the morning; Drive far off from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
by William Reed Huntington