As we anticipate “knowing God, his power, and our hope better” (Ephesians 1:17-19) in the new year please join me in praying with a nineteenth century Englishman who truly understood the purpose of theological study. The following is a prayer authored in 1860 by Edward Bouvarie Pusey. He composed this prayer on Easter Sunday of that year upon his completion of a commentary on the Minor Prophets during his years teaching at the university in Christ Church, Oxford.
“O Eternal Truth, and True Love, and loving Light, our God and our All,
enlighten our darkness by the brightness of Thy light;
irradiate our minds by the splendor of holiness,
that in Thy Light we may see light,
that we, in turn, may enlighten others,
and kindle them with the love of Thee.
Open Thou our eyes,
that we may see wondrous things out of Thy law,
Who makest eloquent the minds and tongues of the slow of speech.
To Thee, to Thy glory, to the good of Thy Church and people,
may we labor, write, live.
Thou hast said, Lord, to Thine Apostles and Prophets,
their followers and interpreters,
‘Ye are the salt of the earth;
ye are the light of the world.’
Thou hast said it, and, by saying it, hast done it.
Grant to us, then, Lord, that we too,
like them, may be preachers of heaven, sowers for eternity,
that they who read, may, by the knowledge of Thy Scriptures,through the graveness and the weight of Thy promises and threats,
despise the ensnaring entanglements of earth,
and be kindled with the love of heavenly goods,
and the effectual earnest longing for a blessed eternity.
This be our one desire, this our prayer,
to this may all our reading and writing and all our toil tend,
that Thy Holy Name may be hallowed,
Thy Holy Will be done, as in heaven, so in earth,
Thy Holy kingdom of grace, glory, and endless bliss,
where Thou wilt be all things in all,
may come to us. Amen.”