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Evening prayer [in illness], by Grace Aguilar (1837)


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Evening prayer [in illness].
Blessed and beneficent Father,
I thank and bless Thee
for the calm and holy tenor of this day,
for the holy spirit,
the love of Thee,
which Thy loving-kindness hath permitted
should pervade my mind.
I bless Thee
for the bodily suffering
Thou didst in Thy mercy
make mine own,
to draw me nearer to Thee.
O let not these feelings depart from me;
Thy mercy alone can retain them,
for my sinful nature is more apt
to repine and murmur
at continued suffering
than love and bless Thee
as it hath done today.
I thank Thee, O my God,
for the calm and holy thoughts
Thy grace created within me;
O purify and exalt them,
till meditations of Thee and heaven
can alone employ these hours of sickness
which I am compelled to pass in idleness.
I thank Thee
for permitting me at times
to think of death.
O let me be aware of its approach;
guard me from the fearful state
of those who know not,
till the final moment,
that they are about to die.
I pray not for life or death, O Lord,
both are in Thy hands,
and Thou wilt grant what Thy mercy deemeth best;
my trust is in that mercy
which Thou hast promised to show
unto thousands of them that love Thee
and keep Thy comandments.
I plead not my own righteousness, O my Father,
alas! what is it before Thee who
“chargest the angels with folly?” (Job 4:18)
For the glory of Thy holy name
Thou wilt hear me;
Thou art the God of truth,
and I know that Thou wilt answer me.
O my Father,
permit me to rise tomorrow
with these feelings strengthened and increased within me;
my trust is in Thee, Almighty Father,
O forsake me not;
accept my imperfect praises,
exalt them,
and permit them in Thy mercy
to ascend to Thee.
Pardon Thou
the many secret and presumptuous sins
whereby I may have transgressed against Thee.
Guard me from them in the future, merciful Father,
and permit me to resign myself
more and more each day.
Bless unto me the hours of sleep;
and if that blessing be denied me,
fill my wakeful hours
with thoughts of Thee and heaven.
I lay me down but lightly afflicted,
yet ere the morning dawns
disease may increase
and death itself approach me;
O my Father,
let me have no will but Thine.
Thy mercy can rob even death of its sting,
and bid me welcome it
as calmly and thankfully as I do my bed.
Secure in Thine infinite love
I lay me down,
and whatever befall me,
if never again I may see
the light of day in health,
O let me have no will but Thine;
I know that it is best.
Bless, O bless those dear ones
Thou in Thy mercy hast vouchsafed to me.
Lead them in Thy paths, O my God,
and grant them every blessing in this life
which will prepare them for eternity.
Reward unto them
the constant love and care for me,
and grant me that grateful spirit
which will ever bid me love
and pray for them.
I would bless Thee, O my God,
for the innumerable blessings
with which Thou hast gilded my lot
from the first hour that I drew breath,
more particularly for those of the past day;
but my sinful nature renders every effort
tame and cold.
O merciful Father,
forget not the offerings of my heart,
though I cannot give them words.
Do Thou teach me to praise Thee;
permit me to rise tomorrow
with a glowing and a grateful heart,
prepared to worship and to love Thee.
And now, O let it please Thee
to bless the prayer of Thy servant,
that it continue forever before Thee
as Thou hast promised,
and with Thy blessing, O Lord God,
let the earnest supplication of Thy servant
be blessed forever.

“Evening Prayer” by Grace Aguilar was posthumously published by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings (1853) and included in the section “Prayers in Illness,” pp. 119-121. The prayer appears between one dated 31 December 1836 and another dated 14 January 1837, along with several other undated prayers. This prayer was not included in Aguilar’s Essays and Miscellanies (1853) containing the version of “Sacred Communings” published in the United States.






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