1. Prayer for the Beginning of a new Church-Year.

O Eternal God! faithful Father, at the beginning of our Church-year, we, in deepest humility, thank Thee, first of all, for all Thy special spiritual benefits shown us during the past Church-year. Thou hast thus far granted unto us Thy holy Word and its public preaching, also the use of the holy sacraments, although on account of our unthankfulness we have indeed deserved that Thou shouldst have withheld such goodness. We are indeed no better and have not sinned against Thee less than so many of our brethren in the faith elsewhere, from whom Thou, through Thy just judgment, hast either entirely or measurably withheld the word of Thy gospel and its public preaching; and it appears that Thou, through Thy judgment, wouldst yet at many [119]more places take away the light of Thy Word. O Lord! we are indeed too insignificant for all Thy mercies, which Thou hast hitherto shown us unworthy servants, and that Thou doest still deal with us so sparingly. Forgive us in mercy all our sins by which we, whether by the neglect and incomplete performance of good or the committing of evil, have offended Thee during the past Church-year. Grant this to be our first blessing in this Church-year, that Thou wilt with the blood of Thy dear Son blot out all our sins of the past year, and in order that we may be worthy of such grace, do Thou work true repentance in all our hearts, so that we may not bear into the new Church-year any of our old sins unforgiven and which we do not by Thy power mean entirely to abandon. Preserve unto us still further Thy holy word and sacraments and thus the kingdom of Thy Son among us, and do not bestow such power upon the enemy, that will enable him to rob us of such gifts and that the kingdom of darkness be extended among us. In this however, dear Father, look not upon that [120]what we are deserving, but that the honor of Thy Son be not blasphemed by the enemies who may imagine to have destroyed His kingdom among us. Preserve all our faithful teachers and ministers, whom Thou hast given us, and bestow upon them, at this beginning of the Church-year, new light and strength in Thy Holy Spirit, that they may present unto us, by Thy power and presence, Thy Word in its purity and simplicity without the admixture of human wisdom; also may they at all times have the wisdom and light rightly to conceive the most needful things to be treated of before their christian congregations. Permit them therefore not to speak what they desire, but do Thou alone rule their tongues and hearts, that they may always speak what is pleasing unto Thee. Give such efficacy to Thy Word and Thy holy Sacraments, that we may also in this Church-year experience that they are still the blessed means of our salvation, that they will save our souls. Seal anew the good Thou hast already wrought in the hearts of Thy children during the past year, and the Word Thou hast [121]made effectual among them; and let it still further manifest its power in teaching the ignorant, in converting the unregenerate, in convicting the malicious, in strengthening the souls that already know Thee, whose number Thou wilt also in the ways known to Thee largely increase during this year. Grant also unto all hearers, that they not only receive the Word out of the mouth of their pastors with attention and meekness, but also at all times, whilst hearing, present their hearts unto Thee in such stillness and resignation, that Thy Holy Spirit may complete the work of faith in them, and by whose influence they may during this Church-year lead a more holy life before Thee than heretofore. Especially grant Thy grace that we make Thy Word the firm foundation of our knowledge of the truth among us, in order that it may become a living knowledge, which in its fruits will praise Thee, and we indeed experience that, to know, here by faith and there by sight, that Thou Father art the only true God and whom Thou hast sent is Jesus Christ, is everlasting life. Amen.

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