Prayer from the heart is always better than recited prayer; but there is a point when the heart and the pen come together, such as this._______________________________________________________(John MacDuff, "Evening Incense" 1856)"They are not of the world--even as I am not of the world." John 17:16O my God, I desire to come into Your gracious presence. May the incense-offering of gratitude and thanksgiving ascend from a grateful heart. How manifold are the proofs I have to recount of kindness on Your part! How deep the ingratitude I have to mourn on my own! My sins have reached unto the clouds--they are more in number than the sands of the sea! You are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. I cannot evade Your righteous scrutiny--all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom I have to do!Lord, I mourn the debasing influence of earthly things--the fascinating power of a present evil world. How inclined I am to conform to its evil maxims and unholy practices! How often I am found among those who "mind earthly things"--my soul cleaving to the dust, instead of soaring upwards to Yourself, my sole satisfying portion!O Lord, it is my earnest prayer that You would wean me from the world. Keep me from over-anxiety about the things that are seen--from being over-careful and troubled about earth's "many things"--to the exclusion of the one thing needful! Break every alluring worldly spell!Disenchant temporal things of their false and delusive charm! By all the beneficial discipline of Your providence--disengage me from what is fleeting, uncertain, transient, perishable; and unite me to the things which cannot be shaken--but which remain forever! May my heart be more in Heaven--imbibing more of the pilgrim spirit. May I declare plainly that I seek a better country.May I be driven nearer and closer to Him who is the true refuge and portion and Savior of His people. I rejoice to think that He has . . . a balm for every wound, a comfort for every bosom, a solace for every tear! May it be mine to go up through this 'wilderness world'--leaning on His loving and omnipotent arm!