Category Archives: Valley of Vision

purification

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Lord Jesus, I sin. Grant that I may never cease grieving because of it, never be content with myself, never think I can reach a point of perfection. Kill my envy, command my tongue, trample down self. Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable, to live for Thee and not for self, to copy Thy words, acts, spirit, to be transformed into Thy likeness, to be consecrated wholly to Thee, to live entirely to Thy glory.

Deliver me from attachment to things unclean, from wrong associations, from the predominance of evil passions, from the sugar of sin as well as its gap; that with self-loathing, deep contrition, earnest heart searching I may come to Thee, cast myself on Thee, trust in Thee, cry to Thee, be delivered by Thee.

O God, the Eternal All, help me to know that all things are shadows, but Thou art substance, all things are quicksands, but Thou art mountain, all things are shifting, but Thou art anchor, all things are ignorance, but Thou art wisdom.

If my life is to be a crucible amid burning heat, so be it, but do Thou sit at the furnace mouth to watch the ore that nothing be lost. If I sin wilfully, grievously, tormentedly, in grace take away my mourning and give me music; remove my sackcloth and clothe me with beauty; still my sighs and fill my mouth with song, then give me summer weather as a Christian.

Move, I beg You, upon my disordered heart

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(A Puritan Prayer)
O Holy Spirit, Move, I beg You, upon my disordered heart.
Take away my unruly desires and hateful lusts.
Lift the mists and darkness of unbelief.
Brighten my soul with the pure light of truth.

Make it . . .
fragrant as the garden of paradise,
rich with every goodly fruit,
beautiful with heavenly grace,
radiant with rays of divine light.

Be my . . .
comforter,
light,
guide,
sanctifier.

Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul.
Through You may I daily learn more of His . . .
love,
grace,
compassion,
faithfulness,
beauty.

Lead me to the cross and show me . . .
His wounds,
the hateful nature of evil,
the power of Satan.

May I there see my sins as . . .
the nails which transfixed Him,
the cords which bound Him,
the thorns which tore Him,
the sword which pierced Him.

Help me to find in His death–
the reality and immensity of His love.

Open for me the wondrous volumes of truth in His death.

Increase my faith in the clear knowledge of . . .
atonement achieved,
redemption completed,
guilt done away,
my debt paid,
my sins forgiven,
my soul saved,
hell vanquished,
heaven opened,
eternity made mine.

O Holy Spirit, deepen in me these saving lessons.

Write them upon my heart, that my walk be . . .
sin-loathing,
sin-fleeing,
Christ-loving.

I Look to You for Strength

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(A Puritan Prayer)

O Lord of grace, The world is before me this day, and I am weak and fearful– but I look to You for strength.

If I venture forth alone, I stumble and fall–but on the Beloved’s arms I am firm as the eternal hills. If left to the treachery of my heart, I shall shame Your name–but if enlightened, guided, upheld by Your Spirit, I shall bring You glory.

Be . . .
my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.

To enrich me will not diminish Your fullness. All Your loving-kindness is in Your Son. I bring Him to You in the arms of faith.

Accept . . .
His worthiness for my unworthiness,
His sinlessness for my transgressions,
His purity for my uncleanness,
His sincerity for my deceit,
His truth for my lies,
His meekness for my pride,
His steadfastness for my backslidings,
His love for my enmity,
His fullness for my emptiness,
His faithfulness for my treachery,
His obedience for my lawlessness,
His glory for my shame,
His devotedness for my waywardness,
His holy life for my unchaste ways,
His righteousness for my dead works,
His death for my life.

The Dark Guest

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O Lord,
Bend my hands and cut them off,
for I have often struck You with a wayward will,
when these fingers should embrace You by faith.
I am not yet weaned from all created glory,
honour, wisdom, and esteem of others,
for I have a secret motive to eye my name in all I do.
Let me not only speak the word sin, but see the thing itself.

Give me to view a discovered sinfulness,
to know that though my sins are crucified
they are never wholly mortified.
Hatred, malice, ill-will,
vain-glory that hungers for and hunts after
mans approval and applause,
all are crucified, forgiven,
but they rise again in my sinful heart.

O my crucified but never wholly mortified sinfulness!
O my life-long damage and daily shame!
O my indwelling and besetting sins!
O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart!

Destroy, O God, the dark guest within
whose hidden presence makes my life a hell.
Yet You Have not left me here without grace;
The cross still stands and meets my needs
in the deepest straits of the soul.

I thank You that my remembrance of it
is like Davids sight of Goliaths sword
which preached forth Your deliverance.
The memory of my great sins, my many temptations, my falls,
bring afresh into my mind the remembrance
of Your great help, of Your support from heaven,
of the great grace that saved such a wretch as I am.

There is no treasure so wonderful
as that continuous experience of Your grace toward me
which alone can subdue the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 71.

Paradoxes

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O changeless God,Under the conviction of Your Spirit I learn that
the more I do, the worse I am,
the more I know, the less I know,
the more holiness I have, the more sinful I am,
the more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!

O Lord,
I have a wild heart,
and cannot stand before You;
I am like a bird before a man,
How little I love Your truth and ways!
I neglect prayer, by thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
by knowing You have saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
who sins more safely because grace abounds,
who tells his lusts that Christs blood cleanses them,
who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for he is saved,
who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians, but lives
unholily.

My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding,
no desire for the Lords Day,
ever learning but never reaching the truth,
always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
with nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily lessons learned,and Your truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 72.

Shortcomings

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O Living God,
I bless You
that I see the worst of my heart as well as the best of it,
that I can sorrow for those sins that carry me from You,
that it is Your deep and dear mercy to threaten punishment
so that I may return, pray, live.

My sin is to look on my faults and be discouraged,
or to look on my good and be puffed up.
I fall short of Your glory every day by spending hours unprofitably,
by thinking that the things I do are good,
when they are not done to Your end,
nor spring from the rules of Your Word.

My sin is to fear what never will be;
I forget to submit to Your will, and fail to be quiet there.
But Scripture teaches me that Your active will
reveals a steadfast purpose on my behalf,
and this quietens my soul, and makes me love You.

Keep me always in the understanding
that saints mourn more for sin than other men,
for when they see how great is Your wrath against sin,
and how Christ’s death alone pacifies that wrath,
that makes them mourn the more.

Help me to see that although I am in the wilderness
it is not all briars and barrenness.
I have bread from heaven, streams from the rock,
light by day, fire by night,Your dwelling place and Your mercy seat.

I am sometimes discouraged by the way,
but though winding and trying it is safe and short;
Death dismays me, but my great High Priest stands in its waters,
and will open me a passage,and beyond is a better country.
While I live let my life be exemplary,When I die may my end be peace.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), p. 85.

The Broken Heart

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O Lord,
No day of my life has passed that has not
proved me guilty in thy sight,
Prayers have been uttered from a
prayerless heart;
Praise has been often praiseless sound;
My best services are filthy rags.
Blessed Jesus, let me find a covert
in thy appeasing wounds.
Though my sins rise to heaven
thy merits soar above them;
Though unrighteousness weighs me down to hell,
thy righteousness exalts me to thy throne.
All things in me call for my rejection,
All things in thee plead my acceptance.
I appeal from the throne of perfect justice
to thy throne of boundless grace.
Grant me to hear thy voice assuring me;
that by thy stripes I am healed,
That thou wast bruised for my iniquities,
that thou hast been made sin for me
that I might be righteous in thee,
that my grievous sins, my manifold sins,
are all forgiven,
buried in the ocean of thy concealing blood.
I am guilty, but pardoned,
lost, but saved,
wandering, but found,
sinning, but cleansed.
Give me perpetual broken-heartedness,
Keep me always clinging to thy cross,
Flood me every moment with descending grace,
Open to me the springs of divine knowledge,
sparkling like crystal,flowing clear and unsullied
through my wilderness of life.
from the Valley of Vision