Adapted from A Collection of Forms of Prayer for Every Day in the Week by John Wesley.
General questions which a serious Christian may propose to himself before he begins his evening devotions:
- With what degree of attention and fervor did I use my morning prayers, public or private?
- Have I done anything without considering—in the moment or beforehand—whether it directly or indirectly tends to the glory of God?
- Did I, in the morning, consider what particular virtue I was to exercise, and what business I had to do, in the day?
- Have I been zealous to undertake, and active in doing, what good I could?
- Have I interested myself any farther in the affairs of others than charity required?
- Have I, before I visited or was visited, considered how I might thereby give or receive improvement?
- Have I mentioned the faults or failures of others when it was not necessary for the good of another?
- Have I unnecessarily grieved anyone by word or deed?
- Have I before or in every action considered how it might be a means of improving in the virtue of the day?
Particular questions relating to the love of God:
- Have I set apart some of this day to think upon his perfections and mercies?
- Have I labored to make this day a day of heavenly rest, sacred to divine love?
- Have I employed those parts of it in works of necessity and mercy, which were not employed in prayer, reading, and meditation?
O my Father, my God, I am in your hand; and may I rejoice above all things in being so. Do with me what seems good in your sight; only let me love you with all my mind, soul, and strength.
I magnify you for granting me to be born in your Church, and for religions parents; for washing me in your baptism, and instructing me in your doctrine of truth and holiness; for sustaining me by your gracious providence, and guiding me by your blessed Spirit; for admitting me, with the rest of my Christian brothers, to wait on you at your public worship; and for so often feeding my soul with your most precious body and blood, those pledges of love, and sure conveyances of strength and comfort. O be gracious unto all of us, whom you have this day (or at any time) admitted to your holy table. Strengthen our hearts in your ways against all our temptations, and make us “more than conquerors” in your love.
O my Father, my God, deliver me, I ask you, from all violent passions: I know how greatly obstructive these are both of the knowledge and love of you. O let none of them find a way into my heart, but let me ever possess my soul in meekness. O my God, I desire to fear them more than death; let me not serve these cruel tyrants, but reign in my breast; let me be ever your servant, and love you with all my heart.
Deliver me, O God, from too intense an application to even necessary business. I know how this dissipates my thoughts from the one end of all my business, and impairs that lively perception I would ever retain of you standing at my right hand. I know the narrowness of my heart, and that an eager attention to earthly things leaves it no room for the things of heaven.
O teach me to go about all my work with so truly disengaged a heart, that I may still see you in all things, and see you therein as continually looking upon me, and searching my reins; and that I may never impair that liberty of spirit which is necessary for the love of you.
Deliver me, O God, from a slothful mind, from all lukewarmness, and all dejection of spirit. I know these cannot but deaden my love to thee; mercifully free my heart from them, and give me a lively, zealous, active, and cheerful spirit; that I may vigorously perform whatever you command, thankfully suffer whatever you choose for me, and be ever ardent to obey in all things your holy love.
Deliver me, O God, from all idolatrous love of any creature. I know infinite numbers have been lost to you, by loving those creatures for their own sake, which you permit—even command—to love subordinately to you. Preserve me, I ask you, from all such blind affection; be a guard to all my desires, that they fix on no creature any farther than the love of it tends to build me up in the love of you. You require me to love you with all my heart: Undertake for me, I ask you, and be my security, that I may never open my heart to anything except out of love for you.
Above all, deliver me, O my God, from all idolatrous self-love. I know, O God—blessed be thy infinite mercy for giving me this knowledge—that this is the root of all evil. I know you made me, not to do my own will, but yours. I know that the very corruption of the devil is having a will contrary to yours. O be my helper against this most dangerous of all idols, that I may both discern all its subtleties, and withstand all its force. O you who have commanded me to renounce myself, give me strength, and I will obey your command. My choice and desire is to love myself as all other creatures, in and for thee. O let your almighty arm so establish, strengthen, and settle me, that you may ever be the ground and pillar of all my love.
By this love of you, my God, may my soul be fixed against its natural inconstancy; by this may it be reduced to an entire indifference as to all things else, and simply desire what is pleasing in your sight. May this holy flame ever warm my breast, that I may serve you with all my might; and let it consume in my heart all selfish desires, that I may in all things regard, not myself, but you.
O my God, let your glorious name be duly honored and loved by all the creatures which you have made. Let your infinite goodness and greatness be ever adored by all angels and men. May your Church, the catholic seminary of divine love, be protected from all the powers of darkness. O vouchsafe, to all who call themselves by thy name, one short glimpse of your goodness. May they once taste and see how gracious you are, that all things else may be tasteless to them; that their desires may be always flying up towards you, that they may render you love, and praise, and obedience, pure and cheerful, constant and zealous, universal and uniform, like the holy angels render you in heaven.
Send forth your blessed Spirit into the midst of these sinful nations, and make us a holy people: Stir up the heart of our president, his family, the ministers of your church, and of all whom you have set over us, that they may be happy instruments in your hand of promoting this good work. Be gracious to the Universities, to all the people in this land: And comfort all that are in affliction; let the trial of their faith work patience in them, and perfect them in hope and love.
Bless my father and mother, brothers and sisters, friends and relations, and all that belong to this family; all that have been instrumental to my good, by their assistance, advice, example, or writing; and all that do not pray for themselves.
Change the hearts of my enemies, and give me the grace to forgive them, even as you for Christ’s sake have forgiven us.
O Shepherd of Israel, vouchsafe to receive me this night and ever into your protection; accept my poor services, and pardon the sinfulness of these and all my holy daties. O let it be your good pleasure shortly to put a period to sin and misery, to infirmity and death, to complete the number of your elect, and to hasten your kingdom; that we, and all that wait for your salvation, may eternally love and praise you, O God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, throughout all ages, world without end.