This past week I began my Family ministry class. One of my personal projects for this semester is to write a paraphrase of John Wesley’s written prayers for families. John actually wrote fourteen prayers for each morning and each evening for families to pray together. I use to read them walking to and from doctoral study classes. Finally I decided to try a paraphrase to update the 18th century English in them. I started with Monday evening since that is when the class met. Each week I will follow with a fresh paraphrase. It should be interesting.
Father of all strength and mercy, in you we live, we move, we owe our very existence. It is because of your tender compassion that you kept us safe this day, gave us comfort and hope for the future you provide. We give you praise Lord; we bow before you and admit we actually own nothing that did not come from you. But what we have received in this life we give you thanks to you God, who daily pours out your gifts upon us.
Bless you for your goodness in providing us health, food, and clothing; as well as our peace and safety. Bless you for the love of friends, for our blessed life now, and for our hope to attain immortal life. Bless you for your love, and providing any love we feel in response to you. Lord, we place ourselves before you to be filled with such life giving sense of your love that it can motivate us with greater earnestness, zeal, and diligence, to do our duty. We ask that you renew in our lives a vibrant likeness of your righteousness, purity, love, faithfulness and truth. Please, please, let Jesus, the hope of glory, shape within us a deep sense of humility, gentleness, and patience; as well as the total surrender of our souls and bodies to your holy will. Shape us so that we might not live to ourselves as much as Christ lives in us; so, like the Apostle Paul, we might say “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NRSV)
May our memory of Jesus’ love, who offered himself for our sins, be always dear and precious to us. Let that memory continually motivate us to offer ourselves to you, to do your will, just as our Lord Jesus did. May we place our confidence in you and trust our lives with you, the God who did not spare His son but freely gave Jesus for us. May we humbly accept whatever you send our way and, in everything, give thanks. We know you will never leave us, nor abandon us. Guide us safely through the many changes in this life with an unchangeable love to you, and a vibrant sense of your love for us, till the day we finally come to live with you and enjoy your presence forever.
As we prepare to sleep, graciously protect us. Settle our spirits with such peaceful and delightful thoughts of where Jesus lives that we may wish to drift away into the presence of him who died for us. That way, whether we wake or sleep, we know we will live with Christ forever.
We ask that you bless all people, famous or unknown, rich or poor, so they might all faithfully serve you and enjoy whatever they need. Please, please we ask that you peacefully order and govern this world in a way that the Church can joyfully serve you in godly quiet. We entrust you with all we have, especially our friends and other people close to us. We ask that when we die, friends and loved ones will lift up their souls to you the same way we have loved you; and they will teach the people that follow them to praise, love and obey you. If we wake in the morning, may we praise you again with joyful lips and offer ourselves an even more acceptable sacrifice to you through Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus name we ask you to hear us, and we pray the first words of your prayer like we really mean it:
Which art in heaven
Hallowed Be Your Name
Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For yours is the Kingdom, power, and glory forever