“Valley of Vision”

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

~from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. Arthur G. Bennett

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Puritan Prayer: Vocation

Heavenly Father,

Thou hast placed me in the church
which Thy Son purchased by His own blood.
Add grace to grace that I may live worthy
of my vocation.

I am a voyager across life’s ocean;
Safe in heaven’s ark, may I pass through
a troubled world
into the harbour of eternal rest.

I am a tree of the vineyard Thou hast planted.
Grant me not to be barren, with worthless
leaves and wild grapes;
Prune me of useless branches;
Water me with dews of blessing.
I am part of the Lamb’s bride, the church.
Help me to be true, faithful, chaste, loving,
pure, devoted;

Let no strong affection wantonly dally
with the world.
May I live high above a love of things temporal,
sanctified, cleansed, unblemished, hallowed
by grace,
Thy love my fullness,
Thy glory my joy,
Thy precepts my pathway,
Thy cross my resting place.

My heart is not always a flame of adoring love,
But, resting in Thy Son’s redemption,
I look forward to the days of heaven,
where no langour shall oppress,
no iniquities chill,
no mists of unbelief dim the eye,
no zeal ever tires.

Father, these thoughts are the stay, prop, and comfort of my soul.

~from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett

A Puritan Prayer: “The Deeps”

Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

~from Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Puritan Prayer: “First Day Morning”

O Lord,

We commune with thee every day,
but week days are worldly days,
and secular concerns reduce heavenly impressions.
We bless thee therefore for the day sacred to our souls
when we can wait upon thee and be refreshed;
We thank thee for the institutions of religion
by use of which we draw near to thee and thou to us;
We rejoice in another Lord’s Day
when we call off our minds from the cares of the world
and attend upon thee without distraction;
Let our retirement be devout,
our conversation edifying,
our reading pious,
our hearing profitable,
that our souls may be quickened and elevated.
We are going to the house of prayer,
pour upon us the spirit of grace and supplication;
We are going to the house of praise,
awaken in us every grateful and cheerful emotion;
We are going to the house of instruction,
give testimony to the Word preached,
and glorify it in the hearts of all who hear;
may it enlighten the ignorant,
awaken the careless, reclaim the wandering,
establish the weak, comfort the feeble-minded,
make ready a people for their Lord.
Be a sanctuary to all who cannot come,
Forget not those who never come,
And do thou bestow upon us
benevolence towards our dependents,
forgiveness towards our enemies,
peaceableness towards our neighbors,
openness towards our fellow-Christians.
~From Valley of Vision

“In Prayer”: A Prayer from Valley of Vision

Today, my pastor preached on corporate and private prayer to start a five-month focus on prayer. This prayer echoes much of what has been on my mind and in my prayers today.

“In Prayer”

O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality. Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing; I find my heart going after Thee with intensity, and long with vehement thirst to live to Thee. Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear, and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts at what Thou art doing for Thy church, and I long that Thou shouldest get Thyself a great name from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life, and taste heavenly joys; entering into the eternal world I can give myself to Thee with all my heart, to be Thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in Thy hands, to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, Thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes, as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

The Valley of Vision, pp. 264-265

“New Year”: A Prayer from The Valley of Vision

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

The Gospel Way

from The Valley of Vision

Blessed Lord Jesus,

No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Acting in eternal grace, thou art both

its messenger and its message,

lived out on earth through infinite compassion,

applying thy life to insult, injury, death,

that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,

Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,

Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit, for applying this way to my heart.

Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty;

Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.

Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;

Help me to give up every darling lust,

to submit heart and life to its command,

to have it in my will,

controlling my affections,

moulding my understanding;

to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,

not departing from them in any instance,

nor for any advantage in order to escape evil, inconvenience or danger.

Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy;

Strip me of every pleasing pretence of righteousness by my own doings.

O gracious Redeemer,

I have neglected thee too long,

often crucified thee,

crucified thee afresh by my impenitence,

put thee to open shame.

I thank thee for the patience that has borne with me so long,

and for the grace that now makes me willing to be thine.

O unite me to thyself with inseparable bonds,

that nothing may ever draw me back from thee,

my Lord, my Saviour.

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