A MORNING PRAYER TO GOD

Painting of The Missal by John William Waterhouse courtesy of Wikipedia


This prayer, called simply a Morning Prayer to God, comes from The Prayer Book, published in the 1950’s. It includes some wonderful scriptural images and themes in just a few sentences!

Benefactor of all who turn to Thee
Light of all who are in darkness,
Creative principle of every seed,
Gardener of all spiritual growth,
Have pity on me, Lord,
and make me a temple without reproach.
Look not upon my sins.
If Thou takest account of my faults,
I cannot stand before Thee;
but in Thine immense mercy
and infinite compassion
wash away my stains through our Lord Jesus Christ,
most holy and Thine only Son,
the physician of our souls.
Through Him may there be rendered to Thee all glory,
power, honor, and splendor,
through ages of ages
which wane not and have no end.

This Morning Prayer to God refers to our Creator in a number of inspiring ways. Our Lord is light (suggestive of the reference to Him as “the light of men” from John 1:4). He’s also our spiritual gardener. (Think here of Jesus’s reference to His Heavenly Father as a farmer pruning us as His branches, part of His admonition for us to bear good fruit in our lives, from John 15:1-5.)

In addition, Christ is the “physician of our souls,” indeed! He told the Pharisees in the Gospels when they asked him why He ate and drank with publicans and sinners that “They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). (And that includes all of us!)

The Morning Prayer to God also has some moving pleas for His mercy, suggestive of the Penitential Psalms 51:4 (“Wash me free of my guilt, cleanse me of my sin”) and 130:3 (“If You, Lord, were mindful of our sins, Lord, who could endure it?”).

The need of God's mercy becomes even more apparent when we consider that we’re called upon to be temples of God and of his Spirit, according to St. Paul, and should thus be “without reproach” (as is written in the prayer above).

As he wrote in one of his letters to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy; for holy is the temple of God, and this temple you are” (1 Cor 3:16-17).

Fortunately, that's not as scary as it sounds, although a healthy fear of the Lord is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. For those times we come up short in our fallen humanity, Christ can wash away our stains in the Sacrament of Penance (Confession), which He instituted for the forgiveness of sins.

It is important for us to make use of this sacrament, and indeed to seek humility in our spiritual life, so as to be more worthy to share Eternal Life with our Lord. As the ending of this prayer reminds us He exists in eternity, “through ages of ages”!

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