BY John MacDuff, 1885

Prayer for the first morning of a new year

Almighty and everlasting God, You are the Alpha and the Omega—the First and the Last. Amid all the vicissitudes of a changing world, You change not. All things below must perish—but You remain the same. You have mercifully preserved us to see the commencement of another year. We desire to begin this new period of our existence by consecrating its hours to You. Before we enter on its manifold duties, and its unknown trials—we beseech You to impart to us Your gracious benediction. We would seek to connect its coming blessings with You—to own Your hand and Your wisdom in its coming sorrows. We would seek to feel that it can only be to us a happy year by being a holy one—spent in Your service and devoted to Your praise. It is one of the many new years we have seen; we cannot tell how few we may have yet to see.

Our prayer is, that we may live this year as if it were to be our last. Lord, we desire to begin the year, where we would wish to begin and to end its every day—at the opened Fountain. We desire to take as our motto and superscription throughout its course "God forbid that we should glory, save in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ." We desire to connect this new year's morning with the great atoning sacrifice, without which no years could have revolved to us. Our every temporal comfort, as well as every spiritual blessing, flow to us entirely from Jesus. Oh, do enkindle in our hearts a flame of more ardent devotedness to Him, whose amazing love it is, which crowns every year with goodness, and makes all its paths to drop fatness.

Gracious Lord, we desire, this morning, to make a fresh consecration of ourselves and our household unto You. Sprinkle our lintels with the blood of the everlasting covenant. Set Your own seal and mark on our foreheads. If in past years there has been forgetfulness of You—if Your kindness has been abused, and Your mercies slighted, and Your name dishonored—enable each and all of us to make this year one of more undivided surrender to Your service. May it be a new year of love, and meekness, and forgiveness, and close walking with God. May sin be more dreaded, and holiness more loved. May the lessons of eternity come more powerfully and impressively home to us. Let us live as immortal beings. Let us live a dying life. Let it not be the impression of a solemn anniversary like the present, but a habitual conviction, that "The fashion of this world is passing away."

O Lord, accept of this our united new year's sacrifice. We would light our flickering lamps at Your holy altar—do replenish them day by day with the oil of Your grace; that should any of us be summoned in the course of the year to meet our Lord, we may not have to make the mournful confession, "Our lamps have gone out."

Good Lord, bless all our dear friends; we would remember them, as we trust they are remembering us, this day, at Your footstool. Hear our mutual prayers: may the cloud of mercy descend on all our heads. Though absent from one another on earth, may faith bring us near, by having our tents pitched by the gate of heaven. Bless our native land; may it ever remain a center of holy influences, distinguished by that righteousness which exalts a nation. Bless our rulers, our senators, our magistrates. Bless the ministers of the everlasting Gospel; may they be wise to win souls; and may every religious privilege we now enjoy, be handed down unimpaired to the last posterity. God of all grace, undertake for us. Let the pillar of Your presence go before us. Direct, control, suggest throughout this year, all that we design or do—so that every power of our bodies, and every faculty of our souls, may unite for the showing forth of Your praise and glory. And all that we ask is for the sake of Jesus—Your only Son and our Savior. Amen.