4. Prayer on New-Year’s Day.

O triune God, Thus have we again by Thy grace brought a year of our wretched life and weary pilgrimage upon earth to a close, and to-day in Thy name begin another. Lord! how unspeakably great is Thy goodness, how innumerable are Thy benefits which Thou hast shown unto me and mine in the past, though on account of our sins we have deserved nothing at Thy hands but wrath and punishment! Thou hast graciously preserved Thy precious Word and holy sacraments in Thy holy congregation, peace and unity in the government, prosperity and blessing in material comforts, and didst richly bestow for our enjoyment all manner of blessings for body and soul. Thou with paternal care didst protect Thy church from false doctrine and persecution on account of the true faith, our land from hostile invasion and evil contagion, our houses and property from fire and water, and didst by Thy care faithfully avert from us all dire calamities. How shall I find words to express the inestimable [128]value of these blessings? How can I according to my obligations be sufficiently thankful? Behold, Lord, I offer to Thee, at the close of the old year, the fruits of my lips, and glorify Thy grace and mercy with all my strength and powers. My soul must honor Thee, my spirit must praise Thee, my mouth shall thank Thee, and all that is within me must proclaim Thy glory. I prostrate myself in heartfelt sorrow before Thy feet and confess unto Thee with a penitent heart all my sins in which I was conceived and born, and with which I have offended Thee during the past year, as well as during the whole of my past life.

Most beloved Father! do not now reckon such past sins to my condemnation, and do not remember in Thy wrath my past transgressions, but graciously forgive and forget the same for the sake of the sufferings of Thy dearly beloved Son. Jesus, my beloved Saviour, be merciful to me, a poor sinner, blot out like a cloud and mist all my transgressions by Thy merit, cast them into the sea of Thy innocent blood, that they may never more come to light or before the [129]judgment of God. O God, Holy Spirit! create within me the new man, that I may not bring into the new year old sins and impurities, but to-day begin a new life and partake anew of Thy grace. Withhold from me, O Triune God! all long and well deserved punishment, and continue to bless me and mine with all manner of bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal gifts. Let Thy grace rest upon us anew every morning, and renew Thy good will to all who in this new year seek their refuge with Thee and wait upon Thy goodness. Grant unto us still further Thy precious Word, which is a joy and comfort to our hearts. Enlighten our teachers and pastors, and grant unto their holy work the blessing of heaven; strengthen our faithful rulers and prosper all their good undertakings, which are pleasing to Thee. Bless our parents, and prosper Thou the work of their hands. Fill our souls with true fear of God, and our hearts with joy in the Holy Ghost. Bestow unto our bodies health, and grant peace within our borders. Crown this year with Thy goodness and grant unto us that [130]which is necessary to the support of life. Protect Thy church from error in the faith and from scandalous living, our land from war, famine and pestilence, our homes from consuming flames and all damage and danger, the products of the field from hail and tempest. Curb the wrath and fury of satan, and send Thy heavenly hosts that they may guard and protect us in all our ways. Convert our enemies and check all our persecutors, help the oppressed, provide for the poor, feed the hungry, give drink unto the thirsty, clothe the naked, free the innocent captives, comfort the distressed, gladden the sorrowing, strengthen the weak, care for the sick, be merciful to the widows and orphans, deliver the oppressed, guide the traveler and accompany the dying through death unto life.

Lord! teach us to act according to Thy good pleasure, and Thy good Spirit direct our footsteps, that we may walk before Thee in faith, patience and hope, in godliness and honesty, in meekness, humility and chastity, and all Christian virtues. But when we sin, then chastise us gently; when [131]our sins trouble us, comfort us with Thy grace, and Thy joyful Spirit uphold us. When satan assails us, do Thou support us, when the world persecutes us, then protect us; when our flesh and blood would overpower us, then strengthen our spirit; when we err, set us aright again. When we fall, lift us up by Thy hand. When we become weak and weary in our calling, refresh us. When we are in necessity and danger, relieve us. When we are sick and weak, then be our physician. Should we according to Thy will during this year depart from hence, grant that our spirits be commended into Thy hands. O Lord! hear; Lord! be merciful; Lord! take heed and grant it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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