21. From Caspar Neuman’s Substance of all Prayers.

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Thou art the almighty God of heaven and earth, and in Thee we live, move, and [164]have our being. Thou, however, doest desire that man should live by bread, and therefore didst, in the beginning of the world, make the earth fruitful through Thy almighty Word, and after the days of the flood, didst declare that while the earth remaineth seed-time and harvest shall not cease. Behold, Lord, this Thy order, once established, continueth yet, and Thou still doest ever crown the year with Thy goodness. Thou doest cause grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man. Thus Thou bringest bread out of the earth and doest fill our hearts with joy and gladness. Most loving God, how wisely indeed hast Thou ordered all things! How great is Thy goodness toward us, who are not worthy of Thy bread. And how wonderfully infinite Thy omnipotence, when Thou doest increase the little grain which moulders in the earth, into a hundredfold! It is Thy unsearchable wisdom, this Thine unutterable goodness, mercy and omnipotence, which hath again this year visited our land. Men had sowed their seed in hope, but Thou hast hitherto blessed the seed in the fields, [165]and hast moreover permitted us to live to the time, when men everywhere reap and gather into barns what Thou hast given. O Lord, Thou God of riches, all that men harvest is indeed Thine; for we of ourselves can bring forth nothing out of the earth, and be it little or much, it is still more than we have merited. Thanks be also unto Thy holy name for each and every gift, which Thou hast bestowed on our fields during this year. Thou alone art the God, who doest sustain us from the day of our birth, and shower Thy blessings upon us. Wherefore unto Thee alone be all the praise, honor and thanksgiving now and in eternity.

We beseech Thee, O kind Father, that Thou wouldst not again take from us in Thy wrath, what Thou in Thy grace hast given. Thou Thyself hast said in Thy Word, that rain is not seemly in harvest. So do Thou not permit that the blessings of the fields, which Thou hast hitherto spread out before our eyes, may perish by unfavorable weather. Do Thou also henceforth guard [166]that which has been gathered into barns and garners, against danger by fire and water, against thieves and unfaithful stewards, against usurers and unscrupulous grain-speculators, and against all else that might rob us, or destroy Thy gifts. Moreover let us not forget that all we receive comes from Thee and is Thine. Do Thou likewise help that because of this we may never be discontented with what Thou givest, never uselessly squander aught of it through luxury and wantonness, never lock up any of Thy gifts unmercifully against our needy neighbor through avarice or envy; nor in mistrust against Thee brood over it with cares, as though that which Thou hast given be not sufficient for our wants. Inasmuch as we in future will have need of Thy providing care, do Thou not in Thy wrath let our land remain uncultivated, lest it lie waste and become unfruitful when forsaken. Prevent every thing which might hinder the tilling of the fields after harvest. And, that no years may come, in which man sows but does not reap, do Thou provide that neither frost nor heat, neither [167]floods nor drought, nor destructive insects destroy the seed in the earth by which we in future are to live.

Be Thou with us, O gracious loving Father, and preserve unto us our daily bread, which Thou during the present harvest doest everywhere distribute. Above all grant favorable weather and constant sunshine, that the ripening grain may all fully mature, so that which yet remains in the fields may be stored away in good condition. Bless that which has been gathered into barns, that it may be prepared for our daily use, increase it while passing through our hands in preparing it, may it be blessed to our nourishment; grant us life and health, peace and quietude, to enjoy all that Thou hast given in such a manner, that it may not only give strength to the body, but also be good and wholesome to the soul, so that Thy temporal blessing may thus in manifold ways redound to our welfare. When Thou hast heard these our petitions and prayers, then remind us also of our obligations, and [168]grant that we acknowledge all our substance to be the gift of Thy goodness, that we heartily thank Thee for it, savingly use it, serve our bodies with it, as is meet, willingly impart of it to others, and finally devote and use all we have received of Thee alone unto Thy honor. Do Thou continue in future to bless our land with Thy gracious visitation, improve and enrich it with great fertility. Give warmth to the dust of the earth. Refresh the fields with fruitful showers, water their furrows, moisten the plowed ground, and do Thou prosper the grain to be sown therein, that the land may continue to yield forth its increase, the valleys be covered with corn, so that we may shout for joy and sing Thy praise forevermore.

Yea, Thou art God, Who Daily Openest Thy liberal hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Therefore do Thou during this season of harvest provide for all people, and let every one receive his proportion of food. Remind each one of his duties, that the indolent may not sleep in [169]time of harvest and neglect the necessary interests of himself and his household. But do Thou likewise grant strength to those, who in the sweat of their face gather their daily bread; refresh them when they are weary, and permit each one with his household to enjoy in good health what his fields have produced, that we all may be truly glad because of Thy benefits. But do Thou also help that the rich may not depend upon their barn bursting with plenty, and thereby forget that their souls may be taken from them unawares, and another obtain possession of that which they have gathered. Remember the poor, who have nothing to harvest. Grant that others may help gather also for them, and do Thou thyself recompense those who permit them to glean ears in their fields, or who impart unto them of their abundance. In short, where there is but little, do Thou bless the small supply, that it may be sufficient for the wants to whom it is given, and where Thou hast given a large supply, do Thou so control it, that it may not be abused unto evil. Preserve tranquility and peace in all lands, that strangers [170]come not unto us and devour our harvests. Do Thou everywhere guard against failures, hard times and famine. And do Thou also ward off from us everything which might render it difficult for us to obtain the necessary things for the support of temporal life. On the other hand, do Thou permit every one to enjoy what Thou hast allotted to him, that rich and poor alike may acknowledge and praise Thee for evermore. Finally, O Thou Saviour of all men, we ourselves are the spiritual stewards in Thy church, and Thou art the Lord of the harvest; we therefore pray Thee to send laborers into Thy harvest, and let Thy harvest among men likewise become great in all places. Grant that good seed may everywhere be sown, and pure doctrine be preached among all christians. Protect the world against the tares, which the devil is busy in scattering forth. Convert those who sow in unrighteousness and reap in sorrow, or sow unto the flesh and of the flesh reap destruction. Sanctify us all together, that we may be of one mind in Christ, and may sow unto the spirit, and of the spirit once reap eternal [171]life. Yea, when once the entire world shall be sufficiently ripe for the last harvest, then grant that we all, as pure wheat, may be bound into sheaves and gathered into Thy garners, and be preserved in heaven unto eternal joys. There shall we as those whom Thou hast promised, reap without ceasing what we have sown here, and rejoice as they that rejoice in harvest, with unspeakable joy. Hear us, O God, and grant us all what we ask, for the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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