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[Prayer for] Saturday night, by Grace Aguilar (24 December 1836)


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Saturday night, Dec. 24, 1836.
Blessed Lord,
I thank Thee
for the calm and holy Sabbath I have this day passed.
I thank Thee for granting me this opportunity
of consecrating this day.
Accept the hours I have dedicated to prayer,
to meditation on Thy Holy Word;
let them ascend,
as the incense of ancient burnt offering,
to the foot of Thy throne.
No longer are we permitted to gather together
as a flock in Thy Holy Temple,
and, under the blessed guidance of some chosen Shepherd,
worship before Thee.
No longer does the fire from Heaven
consume the offering Thou, oh Lord,
once deigned to accept.
We are cast from Thee:
no nation has sinned as we have;
to none have Thine abundant mercies
been so manifestly proved;
and even now Thy mercy is extended towards us.
We were deserving of utter annihilation,
of utter darkness, misery, of complete rejection;
but yet Thy mighty arm is stretched over us
to preserve and to redeem;
for Thou art indeed a God
long-suffering and gracious,
abundant in mercy and truth.
Blessed are those words!
and hast Thou not said, oh God,
the Sabbath day was to be a perpetual covenant,
a sign between Thee and the children of Israel for ever?
Then, though we are scattered among the nations,
deprived of Thy Holy Spirit, Thy illumining light,
oh, “Do not abhor us for Thy name’s sake,
do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory:
remember, break not Thy covenant with us.” (Jeremiah 14:21)
Thy grace has this day permitted me
to pray with fervour, on this day
to feel holy joy in the study of Thy law.
Oh, my God, “Thou knowest,
remember me and visit me”
with a continuance of Thy Holy Spirit,
that I may not fall back,
and become accursed in Thy sight.
My sinful nature bids me fear
these blessed feelings will depart from me,
that I shall become more guilty,
sink deeper and deeper into sin.
Oh, merciful Father,
spare me, spare me this.
Let my whole life show forth Thy glory;
let it prove it is good to trust in Thee;
that Thou wilt yet have mercy
on those who walk in Thy paths.
Oh, when shall I become pure and holy in Thy sight;
when shall I be good enough to come to Thee?
Clothed as I am in iniquity and sin,
there appears before me
a dreary waste of life to be traversed,
ere the goal is gained,
filled with snares and temptations
to draw me astray from the only path of safety;
a waste where,
if I love to wander,
if I refrain not my feet,
the Lord will not accept me,
he will remember my iniquities and sins.
Oh, God,
let me cling to Thee, failing, tottering as I am;
Thou, Thou alone canst save me,
canst purify me, cleanse me.
Behold, all my trust is in Thee,
in that mercy, that love,
which has been ours so long,
which will not fail while I call upon Thee.
Almighty Father,
oh, blessed,
blessed be Thy name,
I feel,
I know,
Thou hast not utterly rejected me;
this day Thy mercy,
Thy grace,
have been mine.
I look back upon my Sabbath,
and I feel through Thy mercy
I have not wasted, idled it away, this day.
Oh, merciful art Thou, oh God, most merciful,
thus to grant me one day to devote to Thee,
and grace to feel, to acknowledge this great blessing.
Blessed Lord,
let me become more humble in my thoughts,
more fervent in my prayers;
grant me a tighter rein
on my wandering thoughts and fancies,
that I may not forsake Thee,
that I may not go backward.
I am full of sin: “I was shapen in iniquity;
in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:7)
Yet, oh Lord, have mercy;
make me more worthy in Thy sight.
Strengthen my good resolutions,
let them not fade and die;
and, oh, when stretched on my bed of death,
when life is departing, good Lord,
graciously permit that every Sabbath
spent in a manner pleasing to Thee, when in health,
may stand clear and light in my recollection,
to soften my corrupt and sinful body,
to soothe my polluted mind,
when the Heavenly essence
Thou didst breathe within me
shall burst its prison of clay,
and seek the God who gave it!
Merciful Father,
let this my earnest supplication be acceptable to Thee;
and now glory, glory, glory unto Thee!
oh, Thou Most Highest,
for the grace vouchsafed me this day.
“The Lord is nigh unto them that call upon Him,
to all that call upon Him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)
I will extol Thee, oh God, my King,
I will bless Thy name for ever and for ever.
Every day will I bless Thee,
and praise Thy name for ever and ever!
Glory unto Thee, oh God;
glory and might and praise.
Oh, preserve my spirit;
turn not away from me, oh God,
quicken me for Thy name’s sake! —

“Saturday night, Dec. 24, 1836” (17th of Tevet, 5597) by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 192-195. In the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853) the prayer appears with small variations of spelling and punctuation on pages 110-112.








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