Recently my pastor shared a Puritan prayer in church from a little book called The Valley of Vision. It so blessed me that I asked if he would email me a copy of the prayer.
"Here Maria. Why don't you borrow the book for a couple weeks?"
Reading some of these prayers, I have been so profoundly moved. Several I have copied to share with family and friends. I searched on the web to see if I could find easier versions to email and I found Puritan Prayers which replicate many of the prayers from my pastor's little book. I hope to commit some of them to memory. I want to learn to pray like this from my heart, to pour my heart out with the depth of appreciation these godly folks had for their state and the awesomeness of God, His love, and His grace. I want to pray like this.
|Portrait of the Founding Fathers at the signing in the Capitol Rotunda|
As God would have it, in the midst of contemplating the place of prayer in my life, I was privileged to take a tour of the US Capitol exploring our spiritual roots with the Center of Christian Statesmanship. One of our guides, Congressman Forbes of Virginia, pointed out the place of prayer in our country's history and its transformative power before the birth of our nation. Again my heart was pricked as I considered what greater role I should be giving to prayer for my nation.
Today we don't give nearly the time and devotion to God in our prayers that was true of our Christian predecessors. They would spend hours in prayer to our minutes, and it made a difference in their lives and their purposes, because they aligned their lives and purposes with God's meta-purpose. Though I try to keep a prayerful stance, praying continually, I don't spend the devoted time in contemplative and repentive prayer that I believe I should. Puritan prayers like these in this little book come from a heart that has been bathed in the presence of God in prayer and time in the Word of God. I don't believe it flows from a few minutes, but from practiced Christian Discipline.
Now it's good to pray for whatever time you do. However, as I read the prayers of these humble saints, I long for more of God. God was so gracious to have these prayers committed to paper so that we could glimpse what beauty awaits us if we will pour our hearts out to the Lord and let Him fill us up. How glorious we become in our contriteness because in our weakness, He is strong.
Here is the prayer that started me on this journey.
Blessed Lord Jesus,
Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be
‘made a curse’,
the evil that excites the severity
of divine wrath.
Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.
Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought.
Infinite must be the evil and guilt
that demands such a price.
Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
following me as a shadow,
intermingling with my every thought,
my chain that holds me captive in the
empire of my soul.
Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?
Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.
A version of this prayer has been committed to song and can be heard at Sovereign Grace Music. You can listen to or purchase the song or the album on this website.
God bless, Maria