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The Valley of Vision

September 2, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Prayer

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Recently I’ve been reading a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. It is a collection of prayers written by men such as Charles Spurgeon, Richard Baxter, Isaac Watts, David Brainerd, and John Bunyan, among others. I’ve never been much of a history guy – I realize that most of what I read is either by current authors or is from the Bible – and so reading this book has been an interesting experience. I have found that reading something devotionally from a different time period can be difficult at times, but every once in a while a writer puts things in a way that just cuts to my heart. Below is a prayer called “Need of Grace” that has ministered to me recently, especially the two lines in bold:

O Lord,
Thou knowest my great unfitness for service,
  my present deadness,
  my inability to do anything for thy glory,
  my distressing coldness of heart.
I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable,
  and loathe and abhor myself.
I am at a loss to know what thou wouldest have me do,
  for I feel amazingly deserted by thee,
    and sense thy presence so little;
Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth,
  and the dreadful sin of my nature,
  so that I feel all sin,
  I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.
Return again with showers of converting grace
  to a poor gospel-abusing sinner.
Help my soul to breathe after holiness,
  after a constant devotedness to thee,
  after growth in grace more abundantly every day.
O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness,
  and am ready to sink because I fall short of my desire;
Help me to hold out a little longer,
  until the happy hour of deliverance comes,
  for I cannot lift my soul to thee
  if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.
Help me to be diffident, watchful, tender,
  lest I offend my blessed Friend
    in thought and behavior;
I confide in thee and lean upon thee,
  and need thee at all times to assist and lead me.
O that all my distresses and apprehensions
  might prove but Christ’s school
  to make me fit for greater service
  by teaching me the great lesson of humility.

I love that line: Return again with showers of converting grace to a poor gospel-abusing sinner. He is the vine; we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

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