Eternal, unchangeable Jehovah! Your perfections and glories will never change. Jesus your Son is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The closer the eternal world gets, the more I must consider it. But sadly, my views, my affections, and my best intentions keep changing—just like my poor body.
Where do these changes come from, Lord? And what about the way my soul feels alienated from you?
Why can I not just come to you with the affection of a child, as I once did? Why do I avoid serving you? It was once my greatest pleasure. Now it seems like a burden.
Where is the blessing I once had? My joy in you as my Heavenly Father was so obvious that strangers could not miss it. My heart overflowed with so much love to you, and passion for serving you, that it felt like self-denial not to express it.
Where did I fall? You see me still, but I am not the same. I blush to see how cold and indifferent I have become.
When you see me in secret, you see me amusing myself with trivial things, when I used to spend my time serving you.
You see me coming into your presence as if I was forced. And when I am before you, my spirit is so empty that I hardly know what to say to you—though you are my God, and there could never be anything more important than time spent with you.
Even when I do speak with you, my prayer is cold and formal. What happened to the passion I once felt, the intense pursuit of you, O God?
And what happened to the wonderful rest I had in you, that feeling of just being happy to be near you—and my determination to never stray from your presence?
I am so far removed from that place. When my short devotions are over-—if you can even call them devotions— I forget about you for the longest time.
I am so barely animated by your love, or interested in serving you, that a stranger might talk with me for a long while and not have a clue that I knew you, or had even ever heard of you!
You call me to your house, Lord, on your own day. But my worship is heartless.
I present you with nothing more than my body. My thoughts and affections are engrossed in other things.I draw near you with my mouth, and honor you with my lips—but my heart is far from you (Isaiah 29:13).
You call me to your table, but my heart is so frozen, it hardly melts even at the fot of the cross. It hardly feels any power in the blood of Jesus.
I am such a wretched creature,unworthy of being called yours! Unworthy of a place among your children, even the lowest place in your family.
I am worthy to be cast out, forsaken, even utterly destroyed.
Is this the dedication I once promised you, and which you have so many reasons to expect?
Is this my response to your daily care? For the sacrifice of your Son, the presence of your Spirit, the pardon of my numberless sins? For the undeserved and so often forfeited hopes of eternal glory?
Lord, I am ashamed to stand or kneel before you. But pity me, I beg you, and help me. My soul lays itself in the dust before you. Give me life, according to your word (Psalm 119:25)!
Do not let me waste any more time—I am at the edge of a cliff!
Give me grace to turn toward your testimonies, without further delay, that I may keep your commandments (Psalm 119:59-60).
Search me, Lord, and try me. Get to the root of this disease which spreads itself over my soul, and heal me.
Show me my sin, Lord, that I may see its horror. Show me Jesus in such a light that I may look upon him and mourn, that I may look upon him and love (Zechariah 12:10).
May I awaken from this lethargy into which I am sinking, and may Christ give me a more abundant spiritual life than ever. Alive in him, let me recover the ground I have lost—and then gain yet more!
Send your Spirit on me to dwell in a temple consecrated to himself (1 Corinthians 3:16), and may he direct my holy and acceptable sacrifice of service (Romans 12:1).
May the incense be constant and fragrant! May the sacred fire burn and blaze perpetually (Leviticus 6:13)! And may none of its vessels ever be profaned by unholy or forbidden use. Amen.
-Philip Doddridge, Piercing Heaven, Robert Elmer Ed., 76-79.