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Prayer for Wisdom, by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)


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Prayer for wisdom.
Father and Lord, creator of all hearts,
to whom every thought is open,
and from whom all good desires spring,
oh endow me with wisdom
to pour before Thee
the petition I so earnestly desire,
as may be most acceptable to Thee.
Thou from whom all knowledge and wisdom come,
without whose aid and inspiration
our hearts would be sealed up,
our minds a blank,
oh give me increase of wisdom,
knowledge, and mental power —
all those blessed gifts
that lift man up from the sordid dreams of earth,
and bid him listen only
to the voice of that immortal spirit,
that intellectual soul,
which marks his union with Thee,
and in which Thou speakest.
My heart feels overwhelmed
with this deep desire:
too full to throw itself in words.
Teach me how to pray;
grant me, oh grant me,
that increase of wisdom,
of intellectual power,
for which my whole being pines.
Solomon implored Thee
for the gift of wisdom,
for the right government of a mighty kingdom.
Thou art the same one,
almighty in wisdom,
all-infinite in mercy,
who heard and blessed that prayer.
Oh grant me wisdom
for the right performance
of all my duties,
whatever they may be —
wisdom that will teach me Thee.
Oh open to me
the exhaustless treasures
of Thy Word.
Strengthen my memory,
that it may contain,
with scarce an effort,
all things worth retaining;
quicken my perception
of all things good
and beautiful,
and true,
that my moral being
may be exalted and improved.
Open and enlarge the mind
Thy goodness framed,
and fill it with true wisdom,
pure and goodly knowledge.
Cultivate and increase the talents
Thy love hath given, oh Merciful Father;
increase them,
and grant me power
to derive good understanding
and increase of knowledge
from the study of other minds
more gifted and more experienced
than my own.
Awaken my intellect
to receive and derive
and wisdom,
and good
from the ideas of others.
Oh, Thou knowest the secret motive of this prayer:
Thou knowest it springs from the deep love I bear
that wisdom,
that mental power
Thou only canst bestow.
Thou knowest I beseech Thee
not only for those precious gifts,
but that Thou wilt in Thy mercy
so direct me with good counsel from Thy presence,
that they may accrue to Thy glory
and the good of my fellow creatures.
Leave me not to my own imaginings.
Save me, oh save me
from self-righteousness,
lest wisdom itself become a snare and lure to sin.
Keep me lowly
as a little child before Thee, Lord;
but grant, oh grant me
the wisdom,
and mental power
for which I pray.
Thou alone canst grant my prayer, oh merciful Father;
Thou alone canst direct and lead me
where to attain these blessed things,
and keep me lowly,
as the spirit of true wisdom prompts.
Oh, my Father,
cleanse Thou this lowly prayer
from impurity and sin;
permit it to come before Thee
and be accepted.
Oh, through that love,
that mercy which hath no bound,
no space,
grant me these blessed gifts, most merciful Father.
But if it may not be on earth,
oh teach me submission to Thy will. —

“Prayer for wisdom” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 173-175. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 100-102.








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