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Evening Prayer (I thank Thee), by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)


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Evening prayer.
I thank Thee, oh my Heavenly Father,
for the great mercies Thou hast vouchsafed me,
in granting that another day should pass
in health and gladness.
I thank Thee for permitting me again
to enjoy the calm repose of night,
that no affliction of mind nor body
should prevent my welcoming this season of quiet
as a blessed gift from Thee.
I thank Thee, oh Lord,
for granting me the comforts of a home,
and shelter from the night air,
from temptations
and from perils;
and even the luxurious couch
on which I lay me down to rest
is Thy gift, oh merciful God,
for how many of my fellow creatures
are deprived of that luxury,
and after working hard through the day,
how different is the couch on which their wearied
and perhaps aching limbs are laid,
to that which Thou in Thy mercy
hast vouchsafed me!
Oh how tame are my praises,
my words of thanksgiving, oh God!
How unworthy I am of Thy goodness!
And I thank Thee, most merciful,
for granting me such kind parents,
who, throughout the day,
are ever ready to contribute to my enjoyments,
to assist me with their counsel
in my studies and other employments,
and to aid me in the attainment
of my pleasures and pursuits.
Do Thou reward and bless them,
oh Lord my God,
and guard them from all evil,
distress, or bodily suffering.
And bless all those kind friends and relations
Thou hast so mercifully bestowed on me.
Father of Heaven!
oh be Thou with me through the silent hours of night.
Do not Thou forsake me
in these senseless and unguarded hours.
Thou, oh Lord, knowest the weakness of Thy creature;
then have compassion on me,
and preserve me
from the sins and follies of my own mind,
and the terrors and the dangers
that dwell in darkness
and in silence,
and from which Thy mighty arm alone
can shield us.
Oh teach my thoughts to fly to Thee;
to that glorious Heaven where Thou dwellest.
Oh raise them from the grovelling earth,
and bid them soar to Thee,
where alone is perfect happiness
and peace and glory.
Permit me to rise up in the morning,
prepared to worship Thee,
to receive all enjoyments
as blessings from Thy hand,
of which I am unworthy;
and sorrows as yet greater mercies,
for they will chasten me,
and draw me nearer Thee,
and render me more fitted
for another sphere.
Oh Lord, my God,
how dare I appeal to Thee for such great mercies,
when every day, ay, every hour,
either in word, or deed, or thought,
I sin against Thee?
Oh forgive my manifold transgressions;
I acknowledge them, oh Lord,
with an humble and penitent spirit,
for I know that they are great,
and I can do no good in a degree to atone for them,
for improvident and thoughtless
when opportunities of doing some trifling good do occur,
too frequently do I neglect them.
Father of Mercy!
oh do not withdraw Thy goodness from me,
unworthy as I am;
do not forsake me,
nor withdraw Thy Holy Spirit from me,
for then the blessing Thou hast vouchsafed me,
in permitting me to pray to Thee,
will be denied me,
and I shall become blinded and miserable
as those whom Thou hast not permitted to know
the holy consolation of humble and fervent prayer.
Oh have mercy on such afflicted ones, oh Lord,
and pour Thy Holy Grace, Thy Spirit,
on their souls,
and darkness and misery shall flee away,
for they will know,
and love,
and praise their merciful Creator.
Father, hear me!
and in Thy mercy hearken to the cry of Thy servant,
for Thou seest my heart and thoughts —
Lord, oh make them ever full of love for Thee. —

“Evening Prayer (I thank Thee)” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 186-188. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 107-109.








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