He recently shared on his blog a discipline he’s incorporated into his life of stopping, three times a day, to meet with God in prayer. This isn’t simply a time of spontaneous prayer, rather Joe sits down for a few minutes with great men and women of faith from the 16th and 17th century and communes with God through the prayers that they prayed.
The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers written by various Puritan authors and contains some of the most humble, honest, and theologically rich prayers I’ve ever encountered. Following Joe’s guide for Walking through The Valley of Vision I too have begun meeting with the Puritans for prayer and can not commend this practice high enough. Since beginning, I have begun to look forward to these appointments with God throughout my day. I long to take these 5 minute breaks to call upon God while meditating upon his person, character, and works. It has truly been a refreshing experience.
In fact, the process has been so enjoyable that I’ve ordered a second copy of The Valley of Vision so that my wife can start using Joe’s guide as well. The beauty of this is knowing that every day, three times a day, we are stopping to pray the same prayer together, even if we aren’t in the same place. Knowing that we are communing with God, meditating on the same words, adds an even greater joy to the encounter for me.
Now, I’m sure there are some of you who might think that praying a prayer written by another person might be a strange or empty endeavor. If you are one such person, then why not just give it a try. Slowly read the following prayer, taking the words and passions they convey as your own. I trust you will be blessed, as I have been. What is more, I believe that as you commit to this as prayerful worship and communion with God, He too will be blessed.
Thou God of all grace,
Thou has given me a Saviour,
produce in me a faith to live by him,
to make him all my desire,
all my hope,
all my glory.
May I enter him as my refuge,
build on him as my foundation,
walk in him as my way,
follow him as my guide,
conform to him as my example,
receive his instructions as my prophet,
rely on his intercession as my high priest,
obey him as my king.
May I never be ashamed of him or his words,
buy joyfully bear his reproach,
never displease him by unholy or imprudent conduct,
never count it a glory if I take it patiently when buffeted for a fault,
never make the multitude my model,
never delay when they Word invited me to advance.
May they dear Son preserve me from this present evil world,
so that its smiles never allure,
nor its frowns terrify,
nor its vices defile,
nor its errors delude me.
May I feel that I am a stranger and pilgrim on earth, declaring plainly that i seek a country,
my title to it becoming daily more clear,
my meetness for it more perfect,
my foretastes of it more abundant;
and whatsoever I do may it be done in the Saviour’s name.
Bennett, Arthur G. 1975. Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. p.44, Banner of Truth.
photo credit: Julie_Berlin