The Wise and Foolish Virgins, by Charles Haslewood Shannon, ca. 1919.
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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer as the Day Draws to a Close
Well, dear God, the day is almost over and as I look back upon it, I could have done better and I could have done worse. It makes me happy that I have done something right today, no matter how small. And I thank you, that I might look forward to the night in the comfort of knowing that your forgiveness for my errors is limitless. Forgive me my wrongs, in the name of Christ, and take me to the safety of your bosom as I wind down from the tumult of the day you gave me. I pray that my sleep will be peaceful tonight, and that I will face tomorrow filled with renewed purpose.
by Mason Barge
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
To Put My Trust in Christ
Lord God, let me not put my trust in the words of men, for their minds are weak and their tongues are tainted by the world. Let me not put my trust in the thoughts of my mind, for I am filled with sin and self-deceit; but let me test everything having to do with faith against our only true teacher, Jesus Christ, and the true Word of God that He inspired the apostles to write in the Bible.
In Christ's name, I pray,
Mason Barge 4/4/14
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Book of Common Prayer (Epis)1928
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Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary
and bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.
Matthew 25:1-13 (ESV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Notes on the Scripture
This parable of Christ is easily understood. Christ is the bridegroom, and the virgins are the people of earth awaiting his coming. Those who prepare themselves for the coming of Christ will enter into “the marriage feast,” which is Christ’s kingdom. But those who do not prepare themselves, Christ will deny.
Because we do not know when Christ will come, we must prepare ourselves now, with daily prayer and the reading of God’s Word. We must at all times remember our belief in Christ and our faith in His resurrection, and we must honor Him with our praise.
During Advent, we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ, his birth as a human child to a humble young woman who spent the night in a barn. This echoes our waiting for Christ’s return, and the joy we express in remembrance of Christ’s birth echoes the joy we know will come when Christ returns to us.