Two Prayers


Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed
        in thy presence,
        in thy service,
        to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains,
        sanctifies, aids every hour,
    that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
    but may rely on thy Spirit to
            supply every thought,
        speak in every word,
        direct every step,
        prosper every work,
        build up every mote of faith,
        and give me a desire
        to show forth thy praise,
            testify thy love,
            advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
        with thee, O Father, as my harbor,
            thee, O Son, at my helm,
            thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
            my lamp burning,
            my ear open to thy calls,
            my heart full of love,
            my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
        thy comforts to cheer,
        thy wisdom to teach,
        thy right hand to guide,
        thy counsel to instruct,
        thy law to judge,
        thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
        thy triumphs my joy.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)

A Prayer Before Beginning Any New Study

Next, we offer this prayer of Samuel Johnson’s as a request for God’s blessings on your work. May it be useful to you as you consider and commence new endeavors this year.

November 1752

Almighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of man; who givest understanding, and takest it away; who as it seemeth good unto Thee, enlightenest the thoughts of the simple, and darkenest the meditations of the wise, be present with me in my studies and enquiries.

Grant, O LORD, that I may not lavish away the life which Thou hast given me on useless trifles, not waste it in vain searches after things which Thou hast hidden from me.

Enable me, by the Holy Spirit, so to shun sloth and negligence, that every day may discharge part of the task which Thou hast allotted me; and so further with Thy help that labour which, without thy help must be ineffectual, such success as will most promote thy glory, and the salvation of my own soul, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Photo credit: Xerones


Thomas Trevethan is one of InterVarsity’s most gifted Bible expositors. He has also authored the books The Beauty of God’s Holiness (InterVarsity Press) and Our Joyful Confidence: The Lordship of Jesus in Colossians (DILL Press). Tom holds an MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife Barb live in Ann Arbor where we are sure he continues to affect all he encounters as he enjoys retirement from InterVarsity after many years as the staff worker for the University of Michigan.

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