Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry
A family prayer for the Lord’s Day morning.
Most gracious God and our Father in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is good for us to draw near to thee, the nearer the better, and it will be best of all when we come to be nearest of all in the kingdom of glory.
Thou hast thy being of thyself and thy happiness in thyself; we therefore adore thee as the great Jehovah: We have our being from thee, and our happiness is in thee, and therefore it is both our duty and our interest to seek thee, to implore thy favour, and to give unto thee the glory due unto thy name.
We bless thee for the return of the morning light, and that thou causest the day-spring to know its place and time. O let the Day-spring from on high visit our dark souls, and the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing under his wings.
We bless thee that the light we see is the Lord’s: That this is the day which the Lord hath made, hath made for man, hath made for himself, we will rejoice and be glad in it. That thou hast revealed unto us thy holy sabbaths, and that we were betimes taught to put a difference between this day and other days, and that we live in a land in all parts of which God is publicly and solemnly worshipped on this day.
We bless thee that sabbath liberties and opportunities are continued to us; and that we are not wishing in vain for these days of the Son of man; that our candlestick is not removed out of its place, as justly it might have been, because we have left our first love.
Now we bid this sabbath welcome: Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, hosanna in the highest. O that we may be in the Spirit on this Lord’s Day; that this may be the sabbath of the Lord in our dwelling; in our hearts, a sabbath of rest from sin, and a sabbath of rest in God. Enable us, we pray thee, so to sanctify this sabbath, as that it may be sanctified to us and be a means of our sanctification; that by resting today from our worldly employments, our hearts may be more and more taken off from present things and prepared to leave them; and that by our employing our time today in the worship of God, we may be led into a more experimental acquaintance with the work of heaven, and be made more meet for that blessed world.
We confess we are utterly unworthy of the honour and unable for the work of communion with thee, but we come to thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is worthy, and depend upon the assistance of thy blessed Spirit to work all our works in us, and so ordain peace for us.
We keep this day holy, to the honour of God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, in remembrance of the work of creation, that work of wonder, in which thou madest all things out of nothing by the word of thy power and all very good: and they continue to this day according to thine ordinance, for all are thy servants. Thou art worthy to receive blessing and honour and glory and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. O thou who at first didst command the light to shine out of darkness, who saidst on the first day of the first week, Let there be light, and there was light; we pray thee, shine this day into our hearts, and give us more and more of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; and let us be thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, a kind of first-fruits of thy creatures.
We likewise sanctify this day to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and our exalted Redeemer, in remembrance of his resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week, by which he was declared to be the Son of God with power. We bless thee, that having laid down his life to make atonement for sin, he rose again for our justification, that he might bring in an everlasting righteousness. That the stone which the builders refused, the same is become the head stone of the corner: This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. We bless thee, that he is risen from the dead, as the first-fruits of them that slept, that he might be the resurrection and the life to us. Now we pray, that while we are celebrating the memorial of his resurrection with joy and triumph, we may experience in our souls the power and virtue of his resurrection, that we may rise with him, may rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, from the dust of this world to a holy, heavenly, spiritual, and divine life. O that we may be planted together in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection, that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.
We sanctify this day also to the honour of the eternal Spirit, that blessed Spirit of grace, the Comforter, rejoicing at the remembrance of the descent of the Spirit upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost, the first day of the week likewise. We bless thee, that when Jesus was glorified, the Holy Ghost was given to make up the want of his bodily presence, to carry on his undertakings, and to ripen things for his second coming; and that we have a promise that he shall abide with us for ever. And now we pray that the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, may dwell and rule in every one of us to make us partakers of a new and divine nature. Come, O blessed Spirit of grace, and breathe upon these dry bones, these dead hearts of ours, that they may live and be in us a spirit of faith and love and holiness, a spirit of power and of a sound mind.
O Lord, we bless thee for thy holy word, which is a light to our feet and a lamp to our paths, and which was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope; that the scriptures are preserved pure and entire to us, and that we have them in a language that we understand. We beg that we may not receive the grace of God herein in vain. We bless thee that our eyes see the joyful light, and our ears hear the joyful sound of a Redeemer and a Saviour, and of redemption and salvation by him; that life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. Glory be to God in the highest, for in and through Jesus Christ there is on earth peace and good-will towards men.
We bless thee for the great gospel-record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Lord, we receive it as a faithful saying and well worthy of all acceptation; we will venture our immortal souls upon it; and we are encouraged by it to come to thee, to beg for an interest in the mediation of thy Son. O let him be made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, let us be effectually called into fellowship with him, and by faith be united to him, so that Christ may live in us, and we may grow up into him in all things, who is the head; that we may bring forth fruit in him, and whatever we do in word or deed, we may do all in his name. O let us have the Spirit of Christ, that thereby we may make it appear we are his. And through him we pray that we may have eternal life, that we may none of us come short of it, but may all of us have the first-fruits and earnests of it abiding in us.
We bless thee for the new covenant made with us in Jesus Christ; that when the covenant of innocency was irreparably broken, so that it was become impossible for us to get to heaven by that covenant, thou wast then pleased to deal with us upon new terms; that we are under grace and not under the law; that this covenant is established upon better promises in the hand of a mediator. Lord, we fly for refuge to it, we take hold of it as the hope set before us. O receive us graciously into the bond of this covenant, and make us accepted in the beloved, according to the tenor of the covenant. Thou hast declared concerning the Lord Jesus that he is thy beloved Son, in whom thou art well pleased, and we humbly profess that he is our beloved Saviour in whom we are well pleased; Lord, be well pleased with us in him.
O that our hearts may be filled this day with pleasing thoughts of Christ and his love to us, that great love wherewith he loved us. O the admirable dimensions of that love; the height, the depth, and length, and breadth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge! Let this love constrain us to love him and to live to him, who died for us and rose again. O that it may be a pleasure and mighty satisfaction to us to think that while we are here praying at the footstool of the throne of grace, our blessed Saviour is sitting at the right hand of the throne of glory, interceding for us. We earnestly beg that through him we may find favour with thee our God, and may be taken into covenant and communion with thee.
We humbly pray thee, for his sake, forgive all our sins, known and unknown, in thought, word, and deed: Through him let us be acquitted of guilt and accepted as righteous in thy sight; let us not come into condemnation, as we have deserved; let our iniquity be taken away and our sin covered; and let us be clothed with the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear. O let there be no cloud of guilt to interpose between us and our God this day, and to intercept our comfortable communion with him; and let our lusts be mortified and subdued, that our corruptions may not be as a clog to us, to hinder the ascent of our souls heavenwards.
We pray thee, assist us in all the religious services of this thine own holy day. Go along with us to the solemn assembly, for if thy presence go not up with us, wherefore should we go up? Give us to draw nigh to thee with a true heart, with a free heart, with a fixed heart, and in full assurance of faith. Meet us with a blessing: Grace thine own ordinances with thy presence, that special presence of thine which thou hast promised where two or three are gathered together in thy name. Help us against our manifold infirmities, and the sins that do most easily beset us in our attendance upon thee; let thy word come with life and power to our souls, and be as good seed sown in good soil, taking root, and bringing forth fruit to thy praise; and let our prayers and praises be spiritual sacrifices, acceptable in thy sight, through Christ Jesus; and let those that tarry at home divide the spoil.
Let thy presence be in all assemblies of good Christians this day. Grace be with all them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; let grace be upon them all. In the chariot of the everlasting gospel, let the great Redeemer ride forth triumphantly, conquering and to conquer, and let every thought be brought into obedience to him. Let many be brought to believe the report of the gospel, and to many let the arm of the Lord be revealed. Let sinners be converted unto thee, and thy saints edified and built up in faith, holiness, and comfort, unto salvation. Complete the number of thine elect, and hasten thy kingdom.
Now the Lord of peace himself give us peace always by all means. The God of hope fill us with joy and peace in believing, for Christ Jesus’ sake, our blessed Saviour and Redeemer, who hath taught us to pray, Our Father which art in heaven, etc.