Written prayers offer the reader an opportunity to deepen spiritually. They can offer new ideas, new topics about which to pray, or new language to express what is happening in one’s heart.
John Baillie (1886-1960), the Scottish theologian, was also known as a man of prayer. In 1937, he published A Diary of Private Prayer which includes a morning and evening prayer for each day of the month. His deep piety led to the epithet “mediating” theologian.
The following prayer is from the 27th day (morning). Take time to read the prayer slowly and, if a word or phrase attracts your attention, simply stop and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your response. There is no need to hurry.
In this prayer, I spent time with Baillie’s reflection that God looks down on earth’s sorrows with “unspeakable love and tenderness.” What a gift these words are in our hurried and unloving world! Tenderness is not a word we normally use so it deserves some attention.
Think about our world as it approaches Easter and realize that God is watching sorrowfully, with unspeakable love and tenderness. The words communicate his deeply caring nature. Or, consider earth’s sorrows in your own neighborhood, your city, your country and around the world. How might you pray for sorrowing people, including yourself?
Allocate some time each day to read this prayer as you approach Easter and reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Twenty-seventh Day: Morning
Grant, O most gracious God, that I may carry with me through this day’s life the remembrance of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ my Lord.
For Thy fatherly love shown forth in Jesus Christ Thy well-beloved Son:
For his readiness to suffer for our sakes:
For the redemptive passion that filled His heart: I praise and bless Thy holy name.
For the power of His Cross in the history of the word since He came:
For all who have taken up their own crosses and have followed Him:
For the noble army of martyrs and for all who are willing to die that other may live:
For all suffering freely chosen for noble ends, for pain bravely endured, for temporal sorrows that have been used for the building up of eternal joys: I praise and bless Thy holy name.
O Lord my God, who dwellest in pure and blessed serenity beyond the reach of mortal pain, yet lookest down in unspeakable love and tenderness upon the sorrows of earth, give me grace, I beseech Thee, to understand the meaning of such afflictions and disappointments as I myself am called upon to endure. Deliver me from all fretfulness. Let me be wise to draw from every dispensation of Thy providence the lesson Thou art minded to teach me. Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens. Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee.
Glory be to Thee, O Father, and to Thee, O Christ, and to Thee, O Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
--John Baillie, from A Diary of Private Prayer