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Saturday night, Feb. 25, 1837.
Thou art my God!
I will exalt Thee,
I will praise Thy name,
for Thou hast done wonderful things.
Thou, whose councils of old were faithfulness and truth,” (Isaiah 25:1)
Thou who, when Solomon implored Thee
for the gift of wisdom,
didst answer him with blessing, oh, merciful Father,
may it please Thee to pour Thy blessing upon me,
and increase and improve the gifts
Thou hast vouchsafed me.
My every enjoyment I owe to Thee;
without Thy sustaining grace
Thy gifts would not have procured me
the affection and regard of those I love,
nor the many hours of happiness
that each day are mine.
Thou knowest the heart of Thy servant;
Thou readest its most earnest,
yet most secret wishes.
I call upon Thee, oh Lord,
for Thine attribute is mercy,
Thy name is love.
Oh, hearken unto my prayer,
let my cry come up to Thee.
Thou hast given me one talent,
not bestowed on all Thy creatures;
one that permitteth me quietly and cheerfully
to remain at home, without desiring a change,
that maketh home the dearest spot to me.
permit me, in Thy mercy, by that talent
to do some little good to my fellow creatures.
I know not the true motive of my wishes;
to my darkened and polluted eye,
it seems but love of Thee,
and love of them;
but Thou knowest my heart, oh Lord,
oh, grant my prayer accordingly.
If indeed the motive of these desires
be vanity or ambition,
oh, remove them from my heart,
even if it be by fire.
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God,
renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:12)
Take from me such corrupted hopes,
let them not remain secret,
but not less powerful sins.
But, if my humble petition be pleasing unto Thee, oh God,
if my motive be pure and holy in Thy sight,
oh, do Thou with me what seemeth best to Thee.
I have put my trust in Thee,
let me not be ashamed;
deliver me in Thy righteousness.
I know not for what I pray;
my whole heart is open to Thy awful inspection.
Oh, have compassion on Thy poor servant.
“Lord, Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising;
Thou understandest my thoughts afar off,
for there is not a word on my tongue
but lo! oh Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalms 139:3-4)
Thou knowest the most earnest wish of my heart —
by Thy gift, oh Lord, to assist my parents,
to add my mite to the happiness of my fellow creatures,
“to glorify Thy name in the great congregation,
to praise Thee before much people.” (Psalms 35:18)
If my motive be but vain ambition, Almighty Father,
in Thy mercy tear it from my heart,
and consume it in Thy just wrath.
But, if it be otherwise,
if it be pure and pleasing in Thy sight,
teach me to say,
Thy will be done,
I may bow to Thy decrees,
whatever they may be.
“Oh, God, Thou knowest my foolishness,
and my sins are not hid from Thee.” (Psalms 69:6)
Hear me, oh Lord,
for Thy loving kindness is great;
turn unto me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies,
and hide not Thy face from Thy servant,
for I am in trouble.
Let Thy salvation, oh God,
set me on High.
“Saturday night, Feb. 25, 1837” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 208-210. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 124-126.
“[Prayer for Wisdom on] Saturday Night, by Grace Aguilar (25 February 1837)” is shared through the Open Siddur Project with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.