BY John MacDuff, 1885

Prayer for a Day of Humiliation

Almighty and Most Merciful God, You are glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, continually doing wonders. You are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity—You cannot look upon sin but with abhorrence. Do pour out upon us this day the spirit of grace and of supplication—the spirit of humility and deep abasement. In self-renouncing lowliness we desire to take the publican's place and cry out, "Unclean, unclean! God be merciful unto us sinners!" Father! we have sinned against heaven and in Your sight, we are no more worthy to be called Your children. Our sins have reached unto the clouds; they are highly aggravated; they have been committed against manifold privileges, solemn warnings, earnest entreaties, innumerable mercies.

The kindness of the best earthly friend has been nothing to Yours. Morning and evening have had the same testimony to bear, of unmerited patience, and condescension, and love—and yet our hearts have been ungrateful and unthankful. They have been mercies abused; warnings slighted; providences unsanctified. We acknowledge our sins as individuals. Our hearts have been estranged from You—we have been lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Divine things have not been exercising a paramount influence over us. We have been living for earth; seeking our chief good short of Yourself, the only soul-satisfying portion. Our love has been cold—our faith weak—our graces languid—our services polluted. Self and sin have mingled with our best attempts to glorify You. We have not been exercising a holy watchfulness over ourselves. We have been guilty of envy and jealousy; we have harbored unkind suspicions of others; we have not had that love which hopes all things, and believes all things, and endures all things. In prosperity, we have been unmindful of the Author of our mercies. In adversity we have been tempted to give way to hard thoughts and unrighteous surmises about the faithfulness and rectitude of Your dealings.

We acknowledge our sins as families. We have not been exhibiting consistency of walk. Your Word has not been prized as it ought. The flame of love and devotion has not burned brightly on the domestic altar as it ought. The leaven of vital godliness has not been pervading, with its hallowed influences, our family engagements, and occupations, and duties. We have not done what we might have done for You. We have been more set on selfish and worldly schemes and objects, than on devising measures for the promotion of Your glory and the good of our fellow-men. The religion professed by the lip—has not been verified and exemplified by holy and devout practice.

We confess our sins as a church and as a nation. Lord, You have filled our cup with mercies. You have dealt with us as You have not dealt with any other people. But, alas! have we not abused our privileges? We mourn and blush to think of the vice and profligacy—the intemperance and ungodliness, which is rising up in terrible memorial against our land. We mourn our deserted sanctuaries, and unread Bibles. We mourn the eye-service and the lip-homage which, too often among Your professing people, takes the place of heart and soul consecration. We mourn the little we have done, the much we have left undone, to promote Your cause in the world. Father, forgive us these our many and heinous offences. Humble us in the dust because of all our unworthiness. Give us grace this day, while we mourn the past, humbly, but earnestly, to resolve to live more devotedly to You in the future. Accept of our unworthy confessions, for Jesus' sake. Sprinkle these guilty hearts with His precious blood.

In the prospect of sitting down at Your holy table, may we be enabled to look upon Him whom all these transgressions of ours have pierced, and to mourn. May we be melted under a sense of our own great unworthiness, and of His amazing love. When we take into our hands the memorials of His anguish and sufferings, may they read to us an affecting lesson of the evil of that accursed thing, which cost the Son of God so much. Let us not venture on that holy ground with one sin unrepented of, or uncrucified. Let us go, humbly resolving that we are to be wholly Yours—that whatever others do, as for us, we will serve the Lord. Let us seek, in all time to come, to walk before You in holiness and righteousness of life, to the glory of Your holy name.