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God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Thy will, not mine, be done.

February 19

Daily Reflections

I'M NOT DIFFERENT

In the beginning, it was four whole years before A.A. brought
permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman. Like the "high
bottoms, " the women said they were different; . . . The
Skid-Rower said he was different . . . so did the artists and the
professional people, the rich, the poor, the religious, the agnostic, the
Indians and the Eskimos, the veterans, and the prisoners. . . .
nowadays all of these, and legions more, soberly talk about how very
much alike all of us alcoholics are when we admit that the chips are
finally down.
AS BILL SEES IT, p. 24

I cannot consider myself "different" in A.A.; if I do I isolate myself
from others and from contact with my Higher Power. If I feel
isolated in A.A., it is not something for which others are responsible.
It is something I've created by feeling I'm "different" in some way.
Today I practice being just another alcoholic in the worldwide Fellowship of
Alcoholics Anonymous.

***********************************************************

Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

Many things we do in A.A. are in preparation for that crucial moment
when, walking down the street on a nice sunshiny day, we see a nice
cool cocktail lounge and the idea of having a drink pops into our
minds. If we've trained our minds so that we're well prepared for that
crucial moment, we won't take that first drink. In other words, if
we've done our A.A. homework well, we won't slip when temptation
comes. In preparation for that crucial moment when I'll be tempted,
will I keep in mind the fact that liquor is my enemy?

Meditation For The Day

How many of the world's prayers have gone unanswered because
those who prayed did not endure to the end? They thought it was too
late, that they must act for themselves, that God was not going to
guide them. "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."
Can I endure to the very end? If so, I shall be saved. I will try to
endure with courage. If I endure, God will unlock those secret
spiritual treasures that are hidden from those who do not endure to
the end.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may follow God's guidance, so that spiritual success shall
be mine. I pray that I may never doubt the power of God and so take
things into my own hands.


***********************************************************

As Bill Sees It

A.A.: Benign Anarchy and Democracy, p. 50

When we come into A.A. we find a greater personal freedom than any
other society knows. We cannot be compelled to do anything. In that
sense our Society is a benign anarchy. The word "anarchy" has a bad
meaning to most of us. But I think that the idealist who first advocated
the concept felt that if only men were granted absolute liberty, and were
compelled to obey no one, they would then voluntarily associate
themselves in the common interest. A.A. is an association of the benign
sort he envisioned.

But when we had to go into action--to function as groups--we discovered
that we also had to become a democracy. As our oldtimers retired, we
therefore began to elect our trusted servants by majority vote. Each
group in this sense became a town meeting. All plans for group action
had to be approved by the majority. This meant that no single individual
could appoint himself to act for his group or for A.A. as a whole.
Neither dictatorship nor paternalism was for us.

A.A. Comes Of Age, pp. 224-225


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Walk In Dry Places
 
Sticking with the winners____Prudence
"Stick with the winners,"  newcomers are told at Twelve Step meetings. The real message of this statement is to share the attitudes and actions of people who are successful in living sober.
No recovering person can have a successful day while dwelling on ideas that can be harmful.  We'll meet people in the course of the day whose attitudes may appall us. We may work with people who are critical, gossipy, or resentful.  It's not our duty to correct them or argue with them.  We're wise, however, not to accept what we recognize as wrong thinking.
Winners, in AA terms, are people who seek sobriety first and live up to the principles of the program.  Seem them out for help in doing likewise.
I'll try to associate with people who exemplify the highest and best in good attitudes.


***********************************************************

Keep It Simple

Changing brings questions, and questions bring change. ---Anonymous
What am I becoming? How do I know if what I'm doing is right? Is it best for me? We are full of questions. Often, times of question a are times of change. We are becoming something new, and there is always a little fear of change. Luckily, we don't need to know what we are becoming to find peace. What we need to know is what we believe in. And we'll become what we believe in. If we believe in sobriety, we'll be sober. If we believe in honestly, we'll struggle to be more honest. We must give ourselves the freedom of becoming. Becoming means we're on a trip, a journey. Over time, becoming takes on a comfort of its own.
Prayer for the Day:  Higher Power, what am I becoming? I give up having to know the answer. All I need to believe is that You love me and will do what is best for me.
Action for the Day:  I'll ask lots of questions. Often, the question is more important than  the answer.

***********************************************************

Each Day a New Beginning

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.  --Agnes DeMille
The day ahead offers us choices of many kinds--some big ones, many that will affect other persons close to us, a few that will have profound effects on our destiny. But no choice, no decision we make, will be wrong. A particular decision may lead us slightly astray. Down a dead-end path perhaps--but we can always turn back and choose again.
We are seldom aware of the gravity of a particular choice at the time of making it. Only hindsight reveals the wisdom of an important choice. Nevertheless, no choice is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. And at the same time, no choice is all-powerful regarding our destiny. We are offered chances again and again for making the right choices, the ones that will most contribute to the bigger plan for our lives.
I need not worry about today's opportunities for decision-making. I will listen to those around me. I will seek guidance in the messages coming to me. I will make the choices I need to, today.


***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition

Chapter 8 - TO WIVES

Our next thought is that you should never tell him what he must do about his drinking. If he gets the idea that you are a nag or a killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero. He will use that as an excuse to drink more. He will tell you he is misunderstood. This may lead to lonely evenings for you. He may seek someone else to console him - not always another man.

p. 111


***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition Stories

GUTTER BRAVADO - Alone and unemployable, he was given two options by the court, get help or go to jail, and his journey toward teachability began.

The meetings gave me what my sponsor likes to call one of the most important words in the Big Book:  A.A. put a "we" in my life.  "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol. . . ."  I no longer had to be alone.  Fellowship and activity kept me coming back long enough to work the Twelve Steps.  The more I did, the better I felt.  I started hanging out with my sponsor and some active people at the meetings.  They showed me how gratitude is something that is demonstrated, not talked about--gratitude is action.  They suggested I was lucky to still have a car, even though it was a junker; therefore, I might consider taking the less fortunate to meetings.  They reminded me you can't teach anything to a know-it-all, so remain teachable.  When old behaviors started to creep back in, they called me on it.  When life just didn't feel right, they talked about developing faith and relying on my Higher Power.  They told me lack of power was my dilemma and that there is a solution.  I took to A.A. immediately and believed like a child that if I leveled my pride enough to thoroughly follow their path, I'd get what they had.  And it worked.  Starting out, I just wanted to keep the authorities off my back.   I never bargained for this program's changing the course of my life or showing me the way to freedom and happiness.

p. 510

***********************************************************

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Tradition Three - "The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking."

In a neighboring state, Ed had holed up in a cheap hotel. After all his pleas for help had been rebuffed, these words rang in his fevered mind. "They have deserted me. I have been deserted by my own kind. This is the end . . . Nothing is left." As he tossed on his bed, his hand brushed the bureau near by, touching a book. Opening the book, he read. It was a Gideon Bible. Ed never confided any more of what he saw and felt in that hotel room. It was the year 1938. He hasn't had a drink since.

pp. 144-145


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"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched... but are felt in the heart.  --Hellen Keller

"It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business."  --Gertrude Stein

We need to let the old go, so the new can emerge.  --Peggy Bassett

The more I force things, the tougher my life gets.  --Helen Neujahr

My daily choice is to rise and shine or rise and whine.  --Anonymous

***********************************************************

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

PREJUDICE

"The chief cause of human errors
is to be found in the prejudices
picked up in childhood."
-- Rene Descartes

During the past few years I have begun to recognize how many of my
prejudices were planted in childhood. Family, teachers, priests and
"the neighborhood" passed on to me prejudices: " The Jews are bad
because they killed Jesus." "Blacks are inferior to white people ---
but you should be kind to them." "Women should obey the man of the
house." "Gays are child molesters." "People who do not accept Jesus will not
go to Heaven." "Sex is for having babies and you should not enjoy
it."

Today I live with the problem of knowing that these statements are
untrue but a part of me is still affected by them.

Today my spiritual program demands that I expose prejudice for the
"hate-mail" that it is, and try to pass on to the next generation the
joy that comes from love, acceptance and freedom.

Let the children grow in freedom.

***********************************************************

"For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:11-13

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.
Lamentations 3:24-25


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Daily Inspiration

Joy is left if you rid your heart of all that pulls you down. Lord, help me to heal my spirit and grow from today's experiences.

You have a responsibility to be the best that you can be. Lord, may I find a good balance in my life so that I neither neglect myself and my duties nor my responsibility to those that need or depend on me
.

***********************************************************

NA Just For Today

Reservations

"Relapse is never an accident. Relapse is a sign that we have a reservation in our program."
Basic Text, p. 76

A reservation is something we set aside for future use. In our case, a reservation is the expectation that, if such-and-
such happens, we will surely relapse. What event do we expect will be too painful to bear? Maybe we think that if a
spouse or lover leaves us, we will have to get high. If we lose our job, surely, we think, we will use. Or maybe it's the
death of a loved one that we expect to be unbearable. In any case, the reservations we harbor give us permission to
use when they come true-as they often do.
We can prepare ourselves for success instead of relapse by examining our expectations and altering them where we
can. Most of us carry within us a catalog of anticipated misery closely related to our fears. We can learn how to
survive pain by watching other members live through similar pain. We can apply their lessons to our own
expectations. Instead of telling ourselves we will have to get high if this happens, we can quietly reassure ourselves
that we, too, can stay clean through whatever life brings us today.
Just for today: I will check for any reservations that may endanger my recovery and share them with another addict.

***********************************************************

You are reading from the book Today's Gift.
I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice. --Leon Blum
Sometimes, trying to do the right thing isn't easy because it isn't what we want to do. For instance, we may want to
sneak a cookie to take to bed with us, or we may want to stay out late. But is that the right thing to do?
One way to tell is to think how we'll feel after we've done it. Will we be happy, or will we feel guilty because we know in
our hearts it is wrong? On the other hand, how would we feel if we resisted the temptation? Perhaps we'd feel great
because we'd know in our hearts we'd done the right thing. And don't we deserve to feel good about ourselves? Of
course we do!
How wonderful it is that our feelings can help us do the right thing when we're in doubt.
Will I have the courage to follow my true feelings today?


You are reading from the book Touchstones.
He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. --Friedrich Nietzsche
Our sense of purpose in life is not fixed in concrete. It changes from youth through all the stages of life. Often in the
transitions to a new growth stage we are most confused. In the chaotic life created by our own addictive or
codependent thinking, all meaning collapses around us. At these times we wonder, "What is the point?" "Does
anything really matter?"
We receive a why for our existence by participating in the whole of this world. We are sons, or fathers, or husbands,
or brothers, or friends to very specific people - and to the rest of our community, extending to all of creation. Our
sense of purpose may change when life circumstances change. We get married, for instance, and then say, "Now
what?" Or a child is born, or a parent dies, or we become disabled. Each time we may be confronted again with the
questions. Being open to contact with our world, keeping our barriers down so we stay in touch, restores our
awareness of purpose.
May I continue to respond to the changing phases in life - and be open to the renewal of purpose, which is here for me.


You are reading from the book The Language Of Letting Go.
Our Path
I just spent several hours with someone from my group, and I feel like I'm losing my mind. This woman insisted that
the only way I would make progress in my program was to go to her church and succumb to her religious rules. She
pushed and insisted, and insisted and pushed. She's been in the program so much longer than I have. I kept thinking
that she must know what she's talking about. But it didn't feel right. And now I feel crazy, afraid, guilty, and ashamed. -
-Anonymous
The spiritual path and growth promised to us by the Twelve Steps does not depend on any religious belief. They are
not contingent upon any denomination or sect. They are not, as the traditions of Twelve Step programs state, affiliated
with any religious denomination or organization.
We do not have to allow anyone to badger us about religion in recovery. We do not have to allow people to make us
feel ashamed, afraid, or less than because we do not subscribe to their beliefs about religion.
We do not have to let them do it to us in the name of God, love, or recovery.
The spiritual experience we will find as a result of recovery and the Twelve Steps will be our own spiritual experience.

It will be a relationship with God, a Higher Power, as we understand God.
Each of us must find our own spiritual path. Each of us must build our own relationship with God, as we understand
God. Each of us needs a Power greater than ourselves. These concepts are critical to recovery.
So is the freedom to choose how to do that.
Higher Power, help me know that I don't have to allow anyone to shame or badger me into religious beliefs. If they
confuse that with the spirituality available in recovery, help me give their issue back to them. Help me discover and
develop my own spirituality, a path that works for me. Guide me, with Divine Wisdom, as I grow spiritually.


Today I will be aware not to judge myself when I feel less than perfect. I am beginning to love myself just as I am and

that feels so nice. --Ruth Fishel

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Journey to the Heart

Be Gentle with Your Heart
On this road, this journey to the heart, you will see more, feel more, and be more than you’ve ever been before.
Your heart is open, your spirit is alive. You’re open to all that the universe, life, and God hold for you. Because you’re
that open, you are more sensitive than ever to people, energies, places, things. You are more sensitive to any
unresolved issues in yourself and in those around you. You are open, more open that you’ve ever been.
Comfort yourself. Wrap yourself up in a blanket of love and hope. Know that you will be feeling, seeing, and taking in a
great deal. Know that you will be healing at a deeper level than ever before. Most of the time, this will bring joy. But an
open heart is not one-dimensional, joy is not the only emotion it will embrace. Make room in your heart, room in your
life, and time in your days to feel other feelings,too– anger, grief, fear, exuberance, tenderness, betrayal, and
exhilaration– all the emotions an open heart feels.
You’re more open than you’ve ever been. Take gentle, loving care of yourself. Be tender with your heart.

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More Language Of Letting Go

Make your own fun
My house renovation project was way behind schedule. Spring was right around the corner. Stress was a pounding
ache in the back of my head.
Then we went to the toy store. “Oh, these will be great,” he said, grabbing two Nerf guns off the shelf. “And how about
a bow-and-arrow set,too?”
When we got home, we took some markers and drew a big target on the wall in the living room. We started shooting
at it, but soon grew tired of that game and started shooting at each other instead.
A friend walked in the front door.
We shot him. Two in the belly and one to the forehead.
He threw me into the hot tub.
And I forgot that the ceiling wasn’t done, and that the walls weren’t painted, and that the carpet would have to be
delayed. That night we had a barbecue, and our friends took out the markers and drew pictures of themselves, their
experiences, and their hopes on the unpainted walls of the house that was behind schedule. And we laughed, and no
one cared that the house was unlivable.
We can’t always control the timing of our plans, but we can have fun along the way. Friends don’t care if the project is
finished; they just want to be a part of the magic of life.
Look at things from a new perspective. Laugh. Be grateful you’re where you are at this moment. Don’t worry about
trying to hurry the future along. Look for the joy in life now.
Maybe a visit to the toy store would help you,too.
God, if I can’t see the joy in life, help me look again.

Activity: Go to the toy store today. But something that appeals to you, or buy something ridiculous– a twirl-o-paint, an
Erector set, a game of Operation, a bead-o-matic. Break out of your mold; look at life from a new perspective. Learn
how to play, again.

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A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

When a person says something rash or ugly, we sometimes say they are “forgetting themselves,” meaning they’re
forgetting heir best selves in a sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury. If I remember the kind of person I want to be,m
hopefully I won’t “forget myself” and yield to a fit of temper. I’ll believe that the positive always defeats the negative:
courage over comes fear; patience overcomes anger and irritability; love overcomes hatred. Am I always striving for
improvement?

Today I Pray

Today I ask that God, to Whom all things are possible, help me turn negatives into positives — anger into super-
energy, fear into a chance to be courageous, hatred into love. May I take time out of remember examples of such
positive-groom-negative transformations from the whole of my lifetime. Uppermost is God’s miracle; my freedom from
the slavery of addiction.

Today I Will Remember
Turn negatives into positives.

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One More Day

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another. – John Dewey

Accepting change is our lives is the basis of growth. To often, we’ve seen marks are razed, friends move away or die,
we become ill.

Eventually, we come to see change in a different light. For good or bad, or weather we approve or don’t approve,
change will happen. The only thing we can control is our reaction to it. Change that is progress or growth, such as old
landmarks disappearing and new ones being built or friends becoming involved in self-help groups, can be welcomed.

Other changes which can’t be greeted with enthusiasm — losing friends or becoming ill — can at least be seen as
random, not personal, consequences of human life. With this frame of mind, we are able to accept the challenges
demanded of us.

Changes in my life can encourage growth.

*****************************************

One Day At A Time

~ SELF KNOWLEDGE ~

We're our own dragons as well as our own heroes
and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.
Tom Robbins

I always tried to do my best in everything I did. Studies, school, and managing my own family are some good
examples. Being in control made it seem as though I always did as I was told, but I had a very difficult time Being on
my own and thinking for myself. The talent I was born with gave me a good start at being an artist, but I couldn't seem
to make a successful career out of it. I was scared and shy and didn't dare be on the forefront of making this talent
into what I wanted it to be.

When I started on my path to Recovery, I found that I was being too much of a perfectionist. I was always told to do
things perfectly and I tried and tried but never seemed to satisfy my parents or the god of my childhood. So when I
grew up I was so hard on myself that I lost the creativity I was born with. Creativity can't thrive in a hostile environment.

One day while reading an author I liked, I read that I had to "get out of my own way". I was a dragon trying to do
something creative and it didn't work. I have to learn to "rescue myself from myself" so I can do my art with the talents
that are God-given.

One day at a time ... I realize that if I want to see myself as I really am,I cannot stand in my own shadow.
~ Myrlene ~

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AA 'Big Book' - Quote

The alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly relations with his children. Their young minds were
impressionable while he was drinking. Without saying so, they may cordially hate him for what he has done to them
and to their mother. The children are sometimes dominated by a pathetic hardness and cynicism. - Pg. 134 - The
Family Afterward

Hour To Hour - Book - Quote

It is easier for us to blame others (parents, spouses, friends) for our addiction then it is to look at self. We must never
forget that we drank that drink, snorted that coke, toked that joint, and took that fix. US. 'They' didn't do it.
May I never forget that I used too many mind affecting chemicals because I have the disease of addiction! Other
reasons are not causes. Everyone has problems yet not everyone suffers from addiction.

Empowering My Own Day
There are no victims, only volunteers. If there is something I don't like in the way things are going for me, I will see
what I can change. I can change the subject if someone goes on and on about things that I don't want to talk about. I
can change my routines and trade un-nourishing ones for nourishing ones, I can set boundaries with my time. My time
is precious to me, it is all I have to call my very own. I won't throw it away and then blame someone else. I have a right
to protect the quiet and pleasure in my day, to do more of those things that give me pleasure and fewer of things that
run me down. If I am living up to my responsibilities, that is enough.
I won't throw my time away with both hands
- Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor - Book - Quote

Half measures do not avail us half, they avail us nothing.
Am I willing to go to any length?

"Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book" - Book

If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

Time for Joy - Book - Quote

Today I know that I am doing the best that I can and I will be gentle with myself. I will watch what comes without
struggle and will accept what is and adjust myself to it, rather than wanting it to be different than it is.

Alkiespeak - Book - Quote

The difference between God and me is that God doesn't think he's me. - Anon.

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AA Thought for the Day

February 19

Coming Home
I returned to AA, but I was reluctant for a long time to tell of my experience.
I was afraid that no one would believe me and that they would laugh.
Later, I learned that others had had the same experiences.
- Came To Believe . . ., p. 17

Thought to Ponder . . .
Recovery is discovery.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
N E W = Nothing Else Worked.

~*~A.A. Thoughts For The Day~*~

Entirely Ready
It is plain for everybody to see that each sober AA member
has been granted a release from this very obstinate
and fatal obsession.
So in a very complete and literal way,
all AA's have "become entirely ready"
to have God remove the mania for alcohol from their lives.
And God has proceeded to do just that.
c. 1952 AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 64

Thought to Consider . . .
I stood in the sunlight at last.

*~*~*AACRONYMS*~*~*
S T E P S = Solutions To Every Problem in Sobriety

*~*~*~*~*^Just For Today!^*~*~*~*~*

Faith
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
"Therefore, Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand
together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every A.A. meeting is an assurance that
God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him."
1952, AAWS, Inc.; Printed 2005; Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pg. 33

*~*~*~*~*^ Grapevine Quote ^*~*~*~*~*

"Drinking is no longer a problem, but my thinking sure is. Writing a gratitude list puts the brakes on negative thoughts,
turns me back toward the light, and helps me to see the beauty in everyday life."
New York, N.Y., January 2006
From: "Tools for Life"
Beginner's Book: Getting and Staying Sober in AA

~*~*~*~*^ Big Book & Twelve N' Twelve Quotes of the Day ^*~*~*~*~*

"If there be divorce or separation, there should be no undue haste
for the couple to get together. The man should be sure of his
recovery. The wife should fully understand his new way of life. If
their old relationship is to be resumed it must be on a better basis,
since the former did not work. This means a new attitude and spirit
all around. Sometimes it is to the best interests of all concerned
that a couple remain apart. Obviously, no rule can be laid down.
Let the alcoholic continue his program day by day. When the time for
living together has come, it will be apparent to both parties."
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Working With Others, Page 99

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.
Alcoholics Anonymous page 60

And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances.
-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 104

Misc. AA Literature - Quote

A.A.: Benign Anarchy and Democracy
When we come into A.A. we find a greater personal freedom than any other society knows. We cannot be compelled to
do anything. In that sense our Society is a benign anarchy. The word 'anarchy' has a bad meaning to most of us. But I
think that the idealist who first advocated the concept felt that if only men were granted absolute liberty, and were
compelled to obey no one, they would then voluntarily associate themselves in the common interest. A.A. is an
association of the benign sort he envisioned.
But when we had to go into action - to function as groups - we discovered that we also had to become a democracy. As
our oldtimers retired, we therefore began to elect our trusted servants by majority vote. Each group in this sense
became a town meeting. All plans for group action had to be approved by the majority. This meant that no single
individual could appoint himself to act for his group or for A.A. as a whole. Neither dictatorship nor paternalism was for us.

Prayer for the Day: Prayer for One's Home by Edgar Guest
Peace, unto this house, I pray,
Keep terror and despair away;
Shield it from evil and let sin
Never find lodging room within.
May never in these walls be heard
The hateful or accusing word.
Grant that its warm and mellow light
May be to all a beacon bright,
A flaming symbol that shall stir
The beating pulse of him or her
Who finds this door and seems to say,
“Here end the trials of the day.“
Hold us together, gentle Lord,
Who sit about this humble board;
May we be spared the cruel fate
Of those whom hatreds separate;
Here let love bind us fast, that we
May know the joys of unity.
Lord, this humble house we'd keep
Sweet with play and calm with sleep.
Help us so that we may give
Beauty to the lives we live.
Let Thy love and let Thy grace
Shine upon our dwelling place.
Amen.

Ask and you shall receive,
Seek and ye shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

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