Some Good Petitions

I’ve been using John Baillie’s famous Diary of Private Prayer the last while. (Baillie died in 1960 and his prayer language can seem archaic–by turns charming and off-putting, not least because he writes before inclusive language. But I’m sure you will just translate as you go.) Here’s a particularly good set of petitions for certain days–not every day, to be sure, but some:


Let me now go forth, O Lord my God, to the work of another day, still surrounded by Thy wonderful lovingkindnesses, still pledged to Thy loyal service, still standing in Thy strength and not my own.

Let me today be a Christian not only in my words but also in my deeds:

Let me follow bravely in the footsteps of my Master, wherever they may lead:

Let me be hard and stern with myself:

Let there be no self-pity or self-indulgence in my life today:

Let my thinking be keen, my speech frank and open, and my action courageous and decisive.

I would pray, O Lord, not only for myself but for all the household to which I belong, for all my friends and all my fellow workers, beseeching Thee to include them all in Thy fatherly regard. I pray also–

for all who will today be faced by any great decision:

for all who will today be engaged in settling affairs of moment in the lives of men and nations:

for all who are moulding public opinion in our time:

for all who write what other people read:

for all who are holding aloft the lamp of truth in a world of ignorance and sin:

for all whose hands are worn with too much toil, and for the unemployed whose hands today fall idle:

for those who have not where to lay their head.

O Christ my Lord, who for my sake and my brethren’s didst forgo all earthly comfort and fullness, forbid it that I should ever again live unto myself. Amen.


5 Responses to “Some Good Petitions”

  1. Mac

    John Bailey taught me to pray. I love the guidance of his written prayers combined with the freedom of those wonderful ellipses stuck in the middle. “To thy care also, O Father, I would commend my friends, beseeching thee to keep them safe in soul and body and to be present in their hearts tonight as a Spirit of power and of joy and of restfulness. I pray for . . . and for . . . and for . . . I pray also fro the wider circle of my associates, my fellow workers, my fellow townsmen, and all strangers within our gates; and the great world of men without to me foreign and unknown, but dear to thee; through Jesus Christ our common Lord, Amen”

  2. matichuk

    Thanks for this John. Those Baille brothers are not my tradition but I have sure come to appreciate them.

  3. Mike in Pennsylvania

    This book taught me to pray when I came to faith in college. I can still remember walking around the campus with Rev Bailie. It helped me pray more holistically than other how-to-pray guides given to new believers.

  4. Daniel Ginn

    I’m slightly confused about this bit:

    “O Christ my Lord, who for my sake and my brethren’s didst forgo all earthly comfort and fullness, forbid it that I should ever again live until myself. Amen.”

    What does that last clause mean? “[F]orbid it that I should ever again live until myself.” Does he mean “live FOR myself alone,” or is it some other kind of nuance? Maybe the modern writer would best translate it “unto.” What does everybody else think?


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