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Of old thou hast laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed : but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
May we rejoice, that, while men "die, the Lord liveth; that, while all creatures are found broken reeds and broken cisterns, he is the rock of ages, and the fountain of living waters. Oh that we may turn away our hearts from vanity, and, among all the dissatisfactions and uncertainties of the present state, look after an interest in that everlasting covenant which is ordered in all things and sure.
We thank thee that thou hast revealed to us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In his name we come. Oh receive us graciously. Justify us freely from all things. Renew us in the spirit of our minds, and bless us with all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Suffer us not to neglect the claims of eternity in the pursuit of the trifles of time; but, knowing how frail we are, may we be wise to choose that good part which shall not be taken away from us. May thoughts of death and eternity so impress our minds, as to put seriousness into our prayers and vigor into our resolutions; may they loosen us from an undue attachment to things seen and temporal; so that we may weep as though we wept not, and rejoice as though we rejoiced not.
Remembering that the present life—so short, so uncertain, and so much of which is already vanished— is the only opportunity we shall ever have for usefulness, may we be concerned to redeem the time. ' May we be alive and awake at every call of charity and piety. May we feed the hungry and clothe the naked; may we instruct the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offending, diffuse the gospel.
As we have entered on a new period of life, may we faithfully examine ourselves, to see what has been amiss in our former temper or conduct; and in thy strength may we resolve to correct it.
Prepare us for all the duties of the ensuing year. All the wisdom and strength necessary for the performance of them must come from thyself: may we therefore live a life of self-distrust and of prayer; may we ask and receive, that our joy be full; may we live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.
If we are indulged with prosperity, let not our prosperity destroy us or injure us. If our relative comforts are continued to us, may we love them without idolatry, and hold them at thy disposal; and if they are taken from us, may we be enabled to say, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Fit us for all events. Nothing can befall us by chance. - Thou hast been thus far our helper; thou hast engaged to make all things work together for our good; all thy ways are mercy and truth. May we therefore be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, may we make known our requests unto God; and may the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Bless, oh bless the young! May each of them, this day, hear thee saying, My son, give me thy heart; and from this day may they cry unto thee as the guide of their youth. Regard those who have reached the years wherein they say, We have no pleasure in them. If old in sin, may they be urged to embrace, before it be forever too late, the things that belong to their peace; and if old in grace, uphold them with thy free Spirit, and help them to remember that now is their salvation nearer than when they believed.
Bless all the dear connections attached to us by nature, friendship, or religion. Grace be to them, and peace be multiplied.
Let our country share thy protection and smiles. Bless all our rulers and magistrates.
Bless all our churches and congregations. Bless all thy ministers; may thine ordinances in their hands be enlivening and refreshing, and thy word effectual to wound and to heal.
May this be a year remarkable for the conversion of souls and the extension of the gospel. Bless all missionary societies; and let the circling months see the banner of the Redeemer carried forward, till all nations are subdued to the obedience of faith. And to thee shall be all glory forever. Amen.
(Lutheran Prayer Book, Benjamin Kurtz, 1860)