By Lewis Bayly
O most mighty and glorious God! full of incomprehensible power and majesty; whose glory the very heaven of heavens is not able to contain! Look down from heaven upon me, thine unworthy servant, who here prostrate myself at the footstool of thy throne of grace. But look upon me, O Father, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, in whom only thou art well pleased! For of myself, I am not worthy to stand in thy presence, or to speak with mine unclean lips to so holy a God as thou art. For thou knowest that in sin I was conceived and born, and that I have lived ever since in iniquity: so that I have broken all thy holy commandments by sinful motions, unclean thoughts, evil words, and wicked works; omitting many of those duties which thou requirest for thy service, and committing many of those vices which thou, under the penalty of thy displeasure, hast forbidden.
[Here thou mayest confess to God thy secret sins, which do most burthen thy conscience, saying, But more especially, O Lord, I do here with grief of heart confess unto thee, &c.]
And for these my sins, O Lord, I stand here guilty of thy curse, with all the miseries of this life, and everlasting torments in hell-fire, when this wretched life is ended, if thou shouldst deal with me according to my deserts. Yea, Lord, I confess, that it is thy mercy which endureth for ever, and thy compassion which never fails, that is the cause that I have not been long ago consumed. But with thee, O Lord, there is mercy, and plenteous redemption. In the multitude, therefore, of thy mercy, and confidence in Christ's merits, I entreat thy divine Majesty that thou wouldst not enter into judgment with thy servant, neither be extreme to mark what I have hitherto done amiss: for if thou dost, then no flesh can be justified in thy sight, nor any living stand in thy presence. But be thou merciful unto me, and wash away all the uncleanness of my sin, with the merits of that precious blood which Jesus Christ hath shed for me. And seeing that he hath borne the burthen of that curse which was due to my transgressions, O Lord deliver me from my sins, and from all those judgments which hang over my head, as due unto me for them, and separate them as far from thy presence as the east is from the west! bury them in the burial of Christ, that they may never have power to rise up against me, to shame me in this life, or to condemn me in the world which is to come. And I beseech thee, O Lord, not only to wash away my sins with the blood of thine immaculate Lamb, but also to purge my heart, by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption; that I may feel thy Spirit more and more killing my sin, in the power and practice thereof, so that this day I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the everlasting God, in righteousness and holiness. And give me grace, that by the direction and assistance of the same Holy Spirit, I may persevere to be thy faithful and unfeigned servant to my life's end; that when this mortal life is ended, I may be made a partaker of immortality and everlasting happiness in thy heavenly kingdom. In the meantime, O Lord, whilst it is thy blessed will and pleasure that I may continue" to spend and end that small number and remnant of days which thou hast appointed for me to live in this vale of misery, teach me so to number my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom: and as thou dost add days unto my life, so, good Lord, I beseech thee, add repentance and amendment to my days, that as I grow in years, so I may increase in grace and favour with thee and all thy people. And to this end, give unto me a supply of all those graces which thou knowest to be wanting in me, and necessary for me, with an increase of all those good gifts wherewith thou hast already endowed me; that so I may be the better enabled to lead such a godly life, and honest conversation, as that thy name may thereby be glorified, others may take good example by me, and my soul may more cheerfully feed on the peace of a good conscience, and be more replenished with the joy of the Holy Ghost. And here, O Lord, according to my bounden duty, I give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all those blessings which of thy goodness thou hast bestowed upon me. And namely, for that thou hast of thy free love, according to thine eternal purpose, elected me, before the foundation of the world was laid, unto salvation in Jesus Christ;-for that thou hast created me after thine own image, and hast begun to restore that in me which was lost in our first parents;-for that thou hast effectually called me, by the working of thy Spirit, in the preaching of the gospel, and the receiving of the sacraments, to the knowledge of thy saving grace, and obedience to thy blessed will;-for that thou hast bought and redeemed me, with the blood of thine only-begotten Son, from the torments of hell, and thrall of Satan;-for that thou hast, by faith in Christ, freely justified me, who am by nature the child of wrath;-for that thou hast in good measure sanctified me by thy Holy Spirit, and given me so large a time to repent, together with the means of repentance. I thank thee likewise, good Lord, for my life, health, wealth, food, raiment, peace, prosperity, and plenty; and for that thou hast preserved me this night from all perils and dangers of body and soul, and hast brought me safe to the beginning of this day. And as thou hast now wakened my body from sleep, so, I beseech thee, waken my soul from sin, and carnal security; and as thou hast caused the light of the day to shine in my bodily eyes, so, good Lord, cause the light of thy Word and Holy Spirit to illuminate my heart; and give me grace, as one of thy children of light, to walk in all holy obedience before thy face this day; and that I may endeavour to keep faith and a clear conscience towards thee, and towards all men, in all my thoughts, words, and dealings. And so, good Lord, bless all my studies and actions which I shall take in hand this day, as that they may tend to thy glory, the good of others, and the comfort of my own soul and conscience in that day when I shall make my final account to thee. O my God, keep thy servant, that I do no evil to any man this day; and let it be thy blessed will not to suffer the devil nor his wicked angels, nor any of his evil members, or my malicious enemies, to have any power to do me hurt or violence. But let the eye of thy holy Providence watch over me for good and not for evil; and command thy holy angels to pitch their tents round about me, for my defence and safety in my going out and coming in, as thou hast promised they should do about them that fear thy name. Into thy hands, O Father, I do here commend my soul and body, my actions, and all that ever I have, to be guided, defended, and protected by thee; being assured, that whatsoever thou takest into thy custody cannot perish, nor suffer any hurt or harm. And if I at any time this day shall through frailty forget thee, yet, Lord, I beseech thee, do thou in mercy remember me. And I pray not unto thee, O Father, for myself alone; but I beseech thee also be merciful unto thy whole church, and chosen people, wheresoever they live upon the face of the earth. Defend them from the rage and tyranny of the devil, the world, and antichrist. Give thy gospel a free and a joyful passage through the world, for the conversion of those who belong to thine election and kingdom.
Bless the churches and kingdoms wherein we live with the continuance of peace, justice, and true religion. Bless our sovereign the Queen, and all the royal family, Increase in them all heroical gifts and spiritual graces which may make them fit for those places for which thou hast ordained them. Direct all the nobility, ministers, and magistrates of this church and commonwealth, to govern the people in true religion, justice, obedience, and tranquillity. Be merciful unto all the brethren which fear thee, and call upon thy name. And comfort as many among them as are sick and comfortless in body or mind; especially be favourable to all such as suffer any trouble or persecution for the testimony of thy truth, and holy gospel; and give them a gracious deliverance out of all their troubles, which way it shall seem best to thy wisdom, for the glory of thy name, the further enlarging of the truth, and the more ample increase of their own comfort and consolation. Hasten thy coming, O blessed Saviour, and end these sinful days; and give me grace, that like a wise virgin I maybe prepared with oil in my lamp to meet thee, the blessed bridegroom, at thy coming, whether it be by the day of death, or of judgment; and then, Lord Jesus, come when thou wilt, even Lord Jesus come quickly. These, and all other graces which thou knowest needful and necessary for me, this day and evermore, I humbly beg and crave at thy hands, O Father, giving thee thy glory, in that form of prayer, which Christ himself hath taught me to say unto thee:
"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name," &c.