BY John MacDuff, 1885

Prayer when detained from public worship

Almighty and everlasting God, You are glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, continually doing wonders. Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Amid all the changes and vicissitudes of a changing world, You the Lord do not change. You are the same, and Your years shall have no end. We desire to bless and praise Your holy name for the return of another day. This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Do go forth everywhere with the preaching of the everlasting gospel. Clothe Your priests with salvation: let Your saints shout aloud for joy. May the assemblies of Your people be enabled to worship You in the beauties of holiness, and feel it to be good for them to draw near unto God.

It is our comfort to know that You are not confined to temples made with hands; that wherever there is a true worshiper, there, there is a prayer-hearing God. O God of Bethel—God of our Fathers, and the covenant God of all who truly fear You, do look down in kindness on us who are prevented this day, by the restraints of Your Providence, from joining with our fellow-Christians in the public services of the sanctuary. It is not to numbers You look—wherever two or three are gathered together in Your name, we have Your own recorded promise, that there You will be in the midst of them to bless them and to do them good. Though You love the gates of Zion, You are not forgetful of the dwellings of Jacob. You have said that You will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, as well as upon her assemblies, a cloud of smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Let the pillar of Your promised presence go before us; may we feel like Your disciples of old, when the voices of heavenly messengers on the mount were silenced—that we are "alone with Jesus."

Gracious Savior, abide with us; we are independent of all ordinances—if we have You. It is Your presence and love which gives a blessing to all outward means of grace. Your most hallowed altar is the altar of a humble, lowly, contrite heart. Your most acceptable sacrifice is the incense of grateful love—of devoted, obedient, submissive lives. O Great Angel of the everlasting covenant, sprinkle these our unworthy prayers and services with the incense of Your spotless merits, that thus, worthless and polluted in themselves, they may be made acceptable in the sight of God.

Lord, may every returning Sabbath be finding us better prepared for the eternal Sabbath. May sin be dying within us. May we be progressively advancing in the divine life. May we be abounding in faith, and hope, and love; seeking by Your grace to walk in newness of life—more humbly—more consistently—more prayerfully. May we live as dying creatures. May all the solemn events that are taking place among ourselves and around us, be so many voices proclaiming, "Arise and depart—for this is not your rest."

Lord, break the world's alluring spell; strip it of its vain fascinations! Let the "seen and the temporal" be more subordinated to the "unseen and the eternal." May we give evidence to all, that we are living under the power and influence of gospel principles and renewed affections. May we be meek and gentle—patient and forbearing—thankful and resigned. And even though trial and sorrow should at times be our allotted portion, may we seek to show that the grace of God can impart an inner sunshine which no outward darkness can obscure.

Do look down in mercy on all our dear friends—may they too see the good of Your chosen ones, and glory with Your inheritance. May the fragrance of this day's services follow them throughout the week; may they have the increasing experience that the way of holiness is the way of happiness. Bless all Your missionary servants. Give them a double portion of Your Spirit. May it be their privilege this day to gather in some sheaves of the great gospel harvest. May the Lord of the harvest stand by them to strengthen them; should they be now only sowing in tears, may it be theirs, at last, to reap in joy.

And now, Lord, what wait we for? Our hope, for ourselves, and for all near and dear to us—is in You. Hear us for the sake of Him whom You hear always, and in whose most precious name and words we pray.