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Family Evening Prayer, by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)


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Family evening prayer.
Almighty God! Creator of all things
in heaven and earth, and sea,
Father and Saviour of Thy people Israel,
who hath in love and wisdom
ordained seasons of labour
and seasons of rest,
we come before Thee
with grateful and lowly hearts,
to thank and bless Thee
for all Thine abundant goodness
shown us in the day just passed.
We thank Thee, O our Father,
for keeping us in health,
and nourishing us with proper and healthful food:
for keeping us from idleness and sin,
for granting us seasons of recreation and joy.
We bless Thee for all these things, merciful God,
for we know they come from Thee,
and we beseech Thee, in Thine infinite mercy,
to render us more and more sensible
of Thy never-failing love,
and our own unworthiness.
O, forgive us the many faults
and secret sins
we may have committed this day.
We know that in Thy sight
we are weak and sinful beings,
and humbly and fervently
we beseech Thee, Lord, to give us grace
so to love and serve Thee,
that through Thy divine aid,
our evil propensities may at length be
conquered and subdued.
We acknowledge our inability
to become worthy of ourselves,
and implore Thy grace
to render us faithful servants of Thee,
and of Thy law.
Take away from us
all angry and rebellious feelings,
whether they are excited towards
our superiors,
our companions,
or inferiors.
Grant us a spirit of charity and forgiveness
towards all who have offended us,
and of love and humility
towards those we have offended.
Let us not lie down in anger and in sin;
merciful Father, take away from us
all such wicked thoughts and feelings.
O, guard us and all we love,
be they present or far away,
from the terrors of the night;
be with them and with us, Lord,
and let Thy Holy Spirit be at work
within us while we sleep,
that we may rise up to-morrow
with hearts prepared to love and serve Thee,
and willing to do our duty
to our parents, teachers, and companions.
Thy mighty arm is around us, merciful Father,
Thou art about our paths
and about our bed;
we cannot see Thee,
but we know Thou art ever close beside us,
and canst penetrate our most secret thoughts and wishes.
O, guard us from sin,
even in thought,
and we shall fear no evil,
for Thou art with us now, and will ever be,
as long as we call upon Thee, and trust in Thee.
O, accept then our imperfect petitions, Almighty Father,
and teach us to proclaim aloud in faith and love
“Hear, Israel,
the Lord our God is one Lord,” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom for ever and ever.[1] Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanchuma Buber Kedoshim 6, et al. 
“and these words which I command thee this day,
shall be in thy heart,
and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt speak of them when thou sittest in thine house;
when thou walkest by the way,
when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up,
and thou shalt bind them as a sign upon thine hands,
and as frontlets between thine eyes,
and thou shalt put them on the door-posts of thy house,
and upon thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
Grant peace unto us,
and unto all Israel, our Father,
this night and evermore. —

“Family evening prayer” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 156-159. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 167-169.







1Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanchuma Buber Kedoshim 6, et al.



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