Editor's note:

Jane Austen is not only one of the fun­ni­est writ­ers of all time, she is a beau­ti­ful­ly expres­sive one, as is evi­denced by the col­lec­tion of three evening prayers she com­posed for fam­i­ly worship.

You’ll find the third one of these, altered slight­ly for use in both morn­ing or evening, below. It is, I believe, a love­ly exam­ple of the art of devo­tion­al writ­ing. I pray that it bless­es your day.

—Justine Olawsky

Teach us, Almighty Father, that we may feel the impor­tance of every day, and every hour as it pass­es, and earnest­ly strive to make a bet­ter use of what thy good­ness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.

Give us grace to endeav­our after a tru­ly Chris­t­ian spir­it to seek to attain that tem­per of for­bear­ance and patience of which our blessed Sav­iour has set us the high­est exam­ple; and which, while it pre­pares us for the spir­i­tu­al hap­pi­ness of the life to come, will secure to us the best enjoy­ment of what this world can give. Incline us oh God! to think humbly of our­selves, to be severe only in the exam­i­na­tion of our own con­duct, to con­sid­er our fel­low-crea­tures with kind­ness, and to judge of all they say and do with that char­i­ty which we would desire from them ourselves.

We thank thee with all our hearts for every gra­cious dis­pen­sa­tion, for all the bless­ings that have attend­ed our lives, for every hour of safe­ty, health and peace, of domes­tic com­fort and inno­cent enjoy­ment. We feel that we have been blessed far beyond any thing that we have deserved; and though we can­not but pray for a con­tin­u­ance of all these mer­cies, we acknowl­edge our unwor­thi­ness of them and implore thee to par­don the pre­sump­tion of our desires.

May thy mer­cy be extend­ed over all mankind, bring­ing the igno­rant to the knowl­edge of thy truth, awak­en­ing the impen­i­tent, touch­ing the hard­ened. Look with com­pas­sion upon the afflict­ed of every con­di­tion, assuage the pangs of dis­ease, com­fort the bro­ken in spirit.

More par­tic­u­lar­ly do we pray for the safe­ty and wel­fare of our own fam­i­ly and friends where­so­ev­er dis­persed, beseech­ing thee to avert from them all mate­r­i­al and last­ing evil of body or mind; and may we by the assis­tance of thy holy spir­it so con­duct our­selves on earth as to secure an eter­ni­ty of hap­pi­ness with each oth­er in thy heav­en­ly king­dom. Grant this most mer­ci­ful Father, for the sake of our blessed Sav­iour in whose holy name and words we fur­ther address thee.

Our Father which are in heav­en, Hal­lowed be thy name. Thy king­dom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heav­en. Give us this day our dai­ly bread. And for­give us our debts, as we for­give our debtors. And lead us not into temp­ta­tion, but deliv­er us from evil: For thine is the king­dom, and the pow­er, and the glo­ry, for ever. 

Amen.

In the pub­lic domain, via the Jane Austen Cen­tre.

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