Think not any business or haste, though never so great, a sufficient excuse to omit prayer in the morning: But meditate—
1. That the greater thy business is, by so much the more need thou hast to pray for God’s good speed and blessing upon it, seeing it is certain that nothing can prosper without his blessing.
2. That many a man, when he thought himself surest, has been soonest crossed; so mayest thou.
3. That many a man has gone out of his door, and never come in again: many a man who rose well and lively in the morning, has been seen a dead man ere night.* So may it befall thee: And if thou be so careful, before thou goest abroad, to eat and drink, to fence thy body from ill airs, how much more careful shouldst thou be to pray to preserve thy soul from evil temptations?
4. That the time spent in prayer never hinders, but furthers and prospers a man’s journey and business.
5. That in going abroad into the world, thou goest into a forest full of unknown dangers, where thou shalt meet many briers to tear thy good name, many snares to trap thy life, and many hunters to devour thy soul; it is a field of pleasant grass, but full of poisonous serpents: adventure not, therefore, to go naked amongst these briers, till thou hast prayed Christ to clothe thee with his righteousness; nor to pass through these snares and ambushments, till thou hast prayed for God’s providence to be thy guide; nor to walk barefoot through this snaky field, till having thy feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, thou hast prayed to have still the brazen serpent in the eyes of thy faith; that so if thou comest not home holier, thou mayest be sure not to return worse than when thou wentest out of thy door.
Therefore, though thy haste be never so much, or thy business never so great, yet go not about it, nor out of thy doors, till thou hast at least used this or the like short prayer:
O merciful Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, I beseech thee forgive me all my known and secret sins which in thought, word, or deed, I have committed against thy Divine Majesty, and deliver me from all those judgments which are due to me for them, and sanctify my heart with thy Holy Spirit, that I may henceforth lead a more godly and religious life!
And here, O Lord, I praise thy holy name, for that thou hast refreshed me this night with moderate sleep and rest; I beseech thee likewise defend me this day from all perils and dangers of body and soul: and to this end I commend myself and all my actions to thy blessed protection and government, beseeching thee, that whether I live or die, I may live and die to thy glory, and the salvation of my poor soul, which thou hast bought with thy precious blood.
Bless me, therefore, O Lord, in my going out and coming in, and grant that whatsoever I shall think, speak, or take in hand this day, may tend to the glory of thy name, the good of others, and the comfort of mine own conscience, when I shall come to make before thee my last account. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ thy Son’s sake: in whose blessed name I give thee thy glory, and beg at thy hands all other graces which thou seest to be needful for me this day and ever, in that prayer which Christ himself has taught me, “Our Father,” &c.
Lk. 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?
Ja. 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
*Quem dies vidit veniens superbum: hunc dies videt fugiens jacentem.—Senec. Nescis quid vesper serus vehat.—Varro.
Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Jn. 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
I Pt. 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Ps. 78:14 He led them with a cloud by day and with a fiery light throughout the night.
2 Ch. 16:9 the eyes of the LORD run to and fro through-out the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
I Pt. 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Heb. 12:1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.