Adapted from A Collection of Forms of Prayer for Every Day in the Week by John Wesley.
Particular questions relating to humility:
- Have I labored to conform all my thoughts, words, and actions to these fundamental maxims: “I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing?”
- Have I set apart some time this day to think upon my infirmities, follies, and sins?
- Have I ascribed to myself any part of any good which God did by my hand?
- Have I said or done anything with a view to the praise of men?
- Have I desired the praise of men, or taken pleasure in it?
- Have I commended myself, or others, to their faces, unless for God’s sake, and then with fear and trembling?
- Have I despised anyone’s advice?
- Have I, when I thought so, said, “I am in the wrong”?
- Have I received contempt for things indifferent, with meekness? for doing my duty, with joy?
- Have I omitted justifying myself where the glory of God was not concerned? Have I submitted to be thought in the wrong?
- Have I, when contemned, First, prayed God it might not discourage or puff me up; Secondly, that it might not be imputed to the condemner; Thirdly, that it might heal my pride?
- Have I, without some particular good in view, mentioned the contempt I had met with?
I desire to offer unto you, O Lord, my evening sacrifice—the sacrifice of a contrite spirit. “Have mercy upon me, O God, after your great goodness, and after the multitude of your mercies do away my offenses.” Let your unspeakable mercy free me from the sins I have committed, and deliver me from the punishment I have deserved. O save me from every work of darkness, and cleanse me “from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,” that, for the time to come, I may, with a pure heart and mind, follow you, the only true God.
O Lamb of God, who, both by your example and precept, instructed us to be meek and humble, give me grace throughout my whole life, in every thought, and word, and work, to imitate your meekness and humility. O mortify in me the whole body of pride; grant me to feel that I am nothing and have nothing, and that I deserve nothing but shame and contempt, but misery and punishment. Grant, O Lord, that I may look for nothing, claim nothing; and that I may go through all the scenes of life, not seeking my own glory, but looking wholly unto you, and acting wholly for you. Let me never speak any word that may tend to my own praise, unless the good of my neighbor require it; and even then let me beware, lest, to heal another, I wound my own soul. Let my ears and my heart be ever shut to the praise that comes of men, and let me “refuse to hear the voice of the charmer, charm he never so sweetly.” Give me a dread of applause, in whatsoever form, and from whatsoever tongue, it comes. I know that “many stronger men have been slain by it,” and that it “leads to the chambers of death.” O deliver my soul from this snare of hell; neither let me spread it for the feet of others. Whosoever perish thereby, be their blood upon their own head, and let not my hand be upon them.
O Giver of every good and perfect gift, if at any time it pleases you to work by my hand, teach me to discern what is my own from what is another’s, and to render unto you the things that are yours. As all the good that is done on earth you do it yourself, let me ever return to you all the glory. Let me, as a pure crystal, transmit all the light you pour upon me; but never claim as my own what is your sole property.
O you who were despised and rejected of men, when I am slighted by my friends, disdained by my superiors, overborn or ridiculed by my equals, or contemptuously treated by my inferiors, let me cry out with your holy martyr, “It is now that I begin to be a disciple of Christ.” Then let me thankfully accept, and faithfully use, the happy occasion of improving in your meek and lowly spirit. If for your sake “men cast out my name as evil,” let me “rejoice and be exceeding glad.” If for my own infirmities, yet let me acknowledge your goodness, in giving me this medicine to heal my pride and vanity, and beg your mercy for those physicians of my soul by whose hands it is administered to me.
“Make me to remember you on my bed, and think upon you when I am waking.” You have preserved me from all the dangers of the day past; you have been my support from my youth up until now; “under the shadow of your wings” let me pass this night in comfort and peace.
O Creator and Preserver of all mankind, have mercy upon all conditions of men; purge your holy catholic Church from all heresy, schism, and superstition. Bless our president in his person, in his actions, in his relations, and in his people. May it please thee “to endure his Council, and all the Nobility, with grace, wisdom, and understanding;” the Magistrates, with equity, courage, and prudence; the Gentry, with industry and temperance; and all the Commons of this land, with increase of grace, and a holy, humble, thankful spirit.
O pour upon our whole Church, and especially upon its ministers, the continual dew of your blessing. Grant to our Universities peace and piety; and to all that labor under affliction, constant patience and timely deliverance. Bless all my family, especially my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all my friends and benefactors. Turn the hearts of my enemies; forgive them and me all our sins, and grant that we, and all the members of your holy Church, may find mercy in the dreadful day of judgment, through the mediation and satisfaction of your blessed Son Jesus Christ; to whom, with you and the Holy Ghost the Comforter, be all honor, praise, and thanksgiving, in all the Churches of the saints for ever.