Most blessed God, I rejoice that I can look up to You, the mightiest of all beings, and call You by that name which may well dispel all misgivings and hush all disquietudes: “My Father who is in heaven.”
Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Your sight. The kindest of earthly parents could not so long have borne with ingratitude and waywardness like mine. Long before now You might righteously have driven me an exile and a castaway from Your presence. But the voice of parental mercy is not silenced. The hand of parental patience and love is “stretched out still.” In the midst of deserved wrath, this is Your own gracious declaration: “I will be a Father to you!”
I mourn my grievous departures, my repeated declensions. Oh Lord, let me not live in this state of estrangement, forfeiting all the joys of a Father’s tenderness, the sunshine of a Father’s smile. May I be enabled to enjoy more and more, every day, holy filial nearness to the mercy-seat, there unburdening into Your ear all my needs and trials, my sorrows and perplexities, my backslidings and sins. Give me grace to bow with childlike submission to a Father’s will, to bear without a murmur a Father’s rod, to hear in every dealing—joyous or sorrowful—a Father’s voice, and when death comes, to have every fear dispelled by listening to a Father’s summons: “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Adapted from the Rev. John McDuff, D.D., The Morning Watches, 1852.