Friday, November 19, 2010

Birth-day Prayer

Jeremy Taylor provides this apt prayer to mark my day of birth; to which is subjoined a further:

A Prayer to be said upon our Birth-day, or Day of Baptism.

O blessed and eternal God, I give thee praise and glory for thy great mercy to me in causing me to be born of Christian parents.  Thou didst not allot to me a portion with misbelievers and heathen that have not known thee. Thou didst not suffer me to be strangled at the gate of the womb, but thy hand sustained and brought me to the light of the world, and the illumination of baptism, with thy grace preventing my election, and by an artificial necessity and holy prevention engaging me to the profession and practices of Christianity. Lord, since that, I have broken the promises made in my behalf, and which I confirmed by my after-act; I went back from them by an evil life; and yet thou hast still continued to me life and time of repentance; and didst not cut me off in the beginning of my days, and the progress of my sins. O dearest God, pardon the errors and ignorances, the vices and vanities, of my youth, and the faults of my more forward years, and let me never more stain the whiteness of my baptismal robe; and now that by thy grace I still persist in the purpose of obedience, and do give up my name to Christ, and glory to be a disciple of thy institution, and a servant of Jesus, let me never fail of thy grace; let no root or bitterness spring up and disorder my purposes, nor defile my spirit. O let my years be so many degrees of nearer approach to thee; and forsake me not, O God, in my old age, when I am grey-headed; and when my strength faileth me, be thou my strength and my guide unto death; that I may reckon my years, and apply my heart unto wisdom; and at last, after the spending a holy and a blessed life, I may be brought unto a glorious eternity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then may be added this thanksgiving:

O holy and almighty God, Father of mercies, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of thy love and eternal mercies, I adore and praise and glorify thy infinite and unspeakable love and wisdom, who hast sent thy Son from the bosom of felicities to take upon him our nature and our misery and our guilt, and hast made the Son of God to become the Son of man, that we might become the Sons of God, and partakers of the Divine nature; since thou hast so exalted human nature, be pleased also to sanctify my person, that by a conformity to the humility and laws, and sufferings of my dearest Saviour, I may be united to his Spirit, and be made all one with the most holy Jesus. Amen.

O holy and eternal Jesus, who didst pity mankind lying in his blood, and sin, and misery, and didst choose our sadnesses and sorrows that thou mightest make us to partake of thy felicities; let thine eyes pity me, thy hands support me, thy holy feet tread down all the difficulties in my way to heaven; let me dwell in thy heart, be instructed with thy wisdom, moved by thy affections, choose with thy will, and be clothed with thy righteousness; that, in the day of judgment, I may be found having on thy garments, sealed with thy impression; and that bearing upon every faculty and member the character of my elder brother, I may not be cast out with strangers and unbelievers. Amen.

O holy and ever-blessed Spirit, who didst overshadow the holy Virgin-mother of our Lord, and caused her to conceive by a miraculous and mysterious manner, be pleased to overshadow my soul, and enlighten my spirit, that I may conceive the holy Jesus in my heart, and may bear him in my mind, and may grow up to the fulness of the stature of Christ, to be a perfect man in Christ Jesus. Amen.

To God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the eternal Son that was incarnate and born of a virgin, to the Spirit of the Father and the Son be all honour and glory, worship and adoration, now and for ever. Amen.

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