Prayers for the Day
The following prayers are from The Primer (1652) by John Owen and can be used to give children a framework for talking to the Lord in prayer about any and everything, at all times of day. Though the language of the prayer may require some explanation, the themes and attitudes serve as great foundations for teaching children about communion with their heavenly Father.
The Desiring of a Blessing before Meat
Holy Father, thou taketh care of us, and provideth for us, and we live continually upon thy allowance, in our selves we have neither hope nor help: we pray thee give us to taste of thy love and kindesse in the creatures thou hast now prepared for us; command a blessing upon them, and let the blessing of thy free Grace be upon our hearts to prepare them for thy selfe, and thy service, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Thanksgiving after Meat
Thou reneweth thy mercies unto us, O Lord; because great is thy faithfulnesse: make our hearts, we pray thee, sensible of thy goodnesse and kindnesse towards us, and teach us in the injoyment of thy manifold mercies, to live unto thy praise, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer for the Morning Blessed
Lord God, the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: and in him my God, and my Father, of whose patience and mercy it is that I am not consumed; I thy poor creature, and unworthy sinful servant, do beseech thee to lift up the light of thy countenance upon me, and to make me accepted in thy beloved Son: wash me in his blood from all my sins and defilements, and make him to be Righteousness unto me, who have none in myself: O Lord, I am weak, dark, and ignorant, give me to know thee, the onely true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ: fill my heart with the feare of thy great Name, and help me to grow up, and to increase in grace, and in the knowledge of my Lord and Saviour: let me not be led aside into the snares of Satan, and paths of ungodlinesse, to be a griefe unto thy Spirit, or a provocation to the eye of thy glory: Be with me this day, whereunto in thy patience and forbearance thou hast brought me: keep me from sin and danger, help me to perform the duties thou requirest at my hands, and the things that I know not, do thou teach me. Bless all thine own people everywhere with an increase of Grace and Peace: establish the Common-Wealth of this nation in righteousness and quietnesse; let thy Gospel yet flourish amongst us; deal with my parents and friends, as thou usest to deal with them that fear thy Name, and be my God, and my guide all my days, through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Wash me in his blood from all my sins and defilements, and make him to be Righteousness unto me, who have none in myself.
A Prayer for the Evening
Most holy Lord God, and in Jesus Christ the Father of mercy, and the God of all consolation, thou hearest the desires of them who draw nigh to the throne of Grace, through the new and living way which thou hast appointed, to make their requests known unto thee with supplications: I thy poore sinful creature do beseech thee in Jesus Christ, to stretch out thy Fatherly armes unto my soule, to receive it with mercy into thy bosomlove. It is the riches of thy Grace alone that I desire to roll myself upon; for in myself I am sinful, defiled, unbelieving, so that thou mighteth justly cast me out of thy presence for evermore: but there is mercy and forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared: O let my soul have a share therein: thou hast been good unto me the day past, take me now this night into thy blessed care and protection, let me know thee more, and love thee more, and trust thee more by working of that love of thine, which thou showest in the mercies of the morning and evening, through that my Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Blessed God, and my dear Father in Jesus Christ, I beseech thee to give me thy holy Spirit to dwell in me, and to bring my soul unto thee: let the Lord Jesus be my lot and portion, and my heart be filled with the feare of thy great Name: show me, O Lord, thy kindnesse, even in the things of this life, and let my poor soul be always precious in thy sight, through Christ our Lord.
This article is adapted from An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian Vision for Every Stage of Life by Crawford Gribben.
When John Owen died on August 24, 1683, his reputation as “the Calvin of England,” was firmly established.
Our focus is on God through prayer; our glance is at the Bible; and we turn Godward and pray about every matter that occurs to us as we read.
It’s easy to complicate prayer; but at its essence, prayer is simply talking with God.
What Owen offers is not quick relief, but long-term, deep growth in grace that can make strong, healthy trees where there was once a fragile sapling.