Last month I purchased a little book published by Banner of Truth called The Valley of Vision. It is a collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett that were taken from men like Thomas Watson, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, David Brainerd, Richard Baxter, and John Bunyan, men who lived for God between the 17th through the 19th century.
Each morning after I read God’s Word and before I pray, I read an entry from The Valley of Vision. I have been refreshed and encouraged to read these prayers, from men who obviously experience the gospel. I have also been challenged in my own prayers. Too often, in my opinion, my prayers have been mechanical, stale, and shallow. I have used this book for my private devotions and, have read it during family worship. Many times, I read these prayers and feel as if they are consistent with what is going on in my own heart. It is as if these men of old are giving me a course on prayer.
This morning I read this prayer called “Divine Mercies” and I had to share it…
‘O Eternal God,
Yours is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
as number Your favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank You for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of the body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me–
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to You,
the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
Your countenance which scans my secret sins,
Your righteous law, Your holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbors, myself–
all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
‘Father, I have sinned’;
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Your outstretched arms;
You will not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
You will not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
You will not mark my mountains of sin, for He levelled all,
and His beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to His cross,
hiding in His wounds, and sheltering in His side.