At the close of the old year and commencement of the new year.
We are including these prayers in our bulletin this Sunday. I have not changed the language to modernise it - that would be an interesting exercise. The first is from the Canadian Presbyterian Church and the late 1800s, the second from a short book of prayers for family worship that the Church of Scotland published around the same time
AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we give thee hearty thanks that in thy great goodness thou hast preserved us during another year, and hast bestowed innumerable blessings upon us. Grant, we beseech thee, that with the year just passed away we may put off our old sins, our evil desires and lusts, and with the new year begin to live more earnestly a Christian life.
Let thy blessing be upon us, O Lord, and mercifully defend us in the coming year from all evil of body and soul. Make thy face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us ; and give us thy present and everlasting peace, that we may so pass all the days of our sojourning here on earth, that after this life we may live with thee and all thy holy angels for ever and ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
PRAYER AT THE BEGINNING OF A YEAR.
GOD, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, enable us, we pray Thee for Christ's sake, with this new year, anew to dedicate ourselves and all we have to Thee. As we live by Thy grace, and rejoice in Thy bounty, may we be able to live to Thy praise, and to serve Thee evermore with gladness.
Teach us, good Lord, to seek first Thy kingdom and righteousness, that all other things may be added unto us. Grant that our spiritual life may this year grow, and bear fruit unto Thy glory. Lord, increase our faith. Make our hope in heavenly things brighter and more enduring ; and cause us to know the love of Christ, that we may love Thee with all our soul and strength and mind, and may love our neighbours as ourselves. May the passing years bring us nearer the gate of heaven, and nearer to Thee in Christ.
Impress us, O God, with an abiding sense of the shortness and uncertainty of our lives, and so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Give us grace to redeem the time we have spent in sloth, vanity, and wickedness, by greater earnestness and diligence in the work of preparation for eternity. Grant that, as our days are multiplied, our holy resolutions may be strengthened ; and that, as we draw ever nearer to the grave, we may con- stantly grow in our conformity to Thine image, and in our meetness to inherit Thy heavenly kingdom.
Into Thy hands, O God, we commit ourselves, beseeching Thee, who hast blessed us hitherto, to bless us still. Prosper us in our lawful undertakings. Keep us from all the evil that is in the world. Prepare us for all events that may befall us. Grant that, whether in prosperity or in adversity, in health or in sickness, in life or in death, we may be upheld and comforted with the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love Thee. And make us to be so rooted and grounded in the faith, and so abundantly fruitful in good works, that in what hour soever our Lord shall come, we may be found of Him in peace, and may receive that crown of righteousness which is laid up for them that love His appearing.
Graciously hear us, O God, and have mercy on us, for the Lord Jesus' sake. — Amen.