A Prayer from The Valley of Vision: “Need of Grace”
“Thou knowest my great unfitness for service, my present deadness, my inability to do anything for thy glory, my distressing coldness of heart. I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable, and loathe and abhor myself. I am at a loss to know what thou wouldest have me do, for I feel amazingly deserted by thee, and sense thy presence so little; Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth, and the dreadful sin of my nature, so that I feel all sin, I cannot think or act but every motion is sin. Return again with showers of converting grace to a poor gospel-abusing sinner. Help my soul to breathe after holiness, after constant devotedness to thee, after growth in grace more abundantly every day. O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness, and am ready to sink because I fall short of my desire; Help me to hold out a little longer, until the happy hour of deliverance comes, for I cannot lift my soul to thee if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh. Help me to be diffident, watchful, tender, lest I offend my blessed Friend in thought and behaviour; I confide in thee and lean upon thee, and need thee at all times to assist and lead me. O that all my distresses and apprehensions might prove but Christ’s school to make me fit for greater service by teaching me the great lesson of humility.”
“The Valley of Vision” is a collection of Puritan prayers that I have found very helpful in expressing my prayers and emotions to God in an honest and real way (of course, the Psalms are great for this as well). These are prayers that are forged in the depths of the heart during trying circumstances and are filled with truth. I recommend them to you. Here is a summary of this devotional resource from Ligonier’s Ministries:
In this classic volume, edited by Arthur Bennett, the prayers of the Puritans are brought to life. Including prayers of Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, and others, The Valley of Vision is a selection of petitions and meditations in the Puritan tradition. This compilation of prayers is intended to teach and encourage Christians to be faithful in their private and family worship.
The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has not been prepared to “supply” prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
Makes a wonderful gift!
You can order this resource here.