A Prayer on Sunday

Mirza-Shoaib: Dancing on a Cloud

I bless you, O most holy God, for the unfathomable love whereby you have ordained that spirit with spirit can meet and that I, a weak and erring mortal, should have this ready access to the heart of him who moves the stars.

With bitterness and true compunction of heart I acknowledge before you the gross and selfish thoughts that I so often allow to enter my mind and to influence my deeds.

I confess, O God–

That often I let my mind wander down unclean and forbidden ways;
That often I deceive myself as to where my plain duty lies;
That often, by concealing my real motives, I pretend to be better than I am;
That often my honesty is only a matter of policy;
That often my affection for my friends is only a refined form of caring for myself;
That often my sparing of my enemy is due to nothing more than cowardice;
That often I do good deeds only that they may be seen of men, and shun evil ones only because I fear they my be found out.

O holy One, let the fire of your love enter my heart, and burn up all this coil of meanness and hypocrisy, and make my heart  as the heart of a little child.

Give me grace, O God, to pray now with pure and sincere desire for all those with whom I will have to do this day. Let me remember now my friends with love and my enemies with forgiveness, entrusting them all, as I now entrust my own soul and body, to your protecting care; through Jesus Christ. Amen.

(John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, 75, adapted.
Photo: Mirza Shoaib: Dancing on a Cloud)