The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotional writings. “The Puritan Movement was a religious phenomenon of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, yet its influence continued to at least the time of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) who may be regarded as the last of the great Puritans” [from book’s Preface]. These prayers are rich in reverence for God and longings for his grace toward us in the gospel. Recently, my interest in these prayers and writings has grown thanks to Joel Beeke’s recent message, “Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor”, at the 2011 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, and his recent book, Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer (Reformation Heritage Books).
Today marks the beginning of a regular occurrence, in that I will be posting a selection from The Valley each Friday morning here on the blog. It’s something simple, but I trust it will be encouraging to you as you near the end of the week.
In public and private, in sanctuary and home,
may my life be steeped in prayer,
filled with the spirit of grace and supplication,
each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood.
Help me, defend me, until from praying ground
I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.
Urged by my need, invited by thy promises, called by they Spirit,
I enter thy presence, worshipping thee with godly fear,
awed by thy majesty, greatness, glory,
but encouraged by thy love.
I am all poverty as well as all guilt,
having nothing of my own with which to repay thee,
But I bring Jesus to thee in arms of faith,
pleading his righteousness to offset my iniquities,
rejoicing that he will weigh down the scales for me,
and satisfy thy justice.
I bless thee that great sin draws out great grace,
that, although the least sin deserves infinite punishment
because done against an infinite God,
yet there is mercy for me,
for where guilt is most terrible,
there thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep.
Bless me by revealing more to me more of his saving merits,
by causing thy goodness to pass before me,
by speaking peace to my contrite heart;
Strengthen me to give thee no rest
until Christ shall reign supreme within me,
in every thought, word, and deed,
in a faith that purifies the heart,
overcomes the world,
works by love,
fastens me to thee,
and ever clings to the cross.
[“Meeting God” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (ed. Arthur Bennett, Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975), 146.]
If you’re interested in praying through The Valley of Vision on a regular basis, check out Joe Thorn’s, “Walking Through The Valley of Vision.” He’s developed a great plan that will guide you through the entire collection in 13 weeks.