I love The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of brief and profound Puritan prayers compiled by Arthur Bennett. I find these prayers uniquely powerful and penetrating. So did Nanci, and she often read them in her last few years of going deep in the things of God before Jesus took her home.
It’s hard for me to imagine any single book that could prepare you more to be with Jesus than this one. What follows below is just the first prayer in the book but there are many others every bit as biblically grounded and heart-touching.
If you haven’t discovered the Puritans, I highly recommend that you do. They lived in an era of suffering, where their children often died young and there were no antibiotics and modern medical treatments, but they relied upon a God of sovereign grace and merciful love.
The Puritans have been stereotyped as legalistic and impersonal and believing in an impersonal God, but in many hours of reading them I believe nothing could be further from the truth! A seminary theology prof once told me that the Puritans had a cold view of God. I asked him—knowing what his answer would be—if he had ever read the Valley of Vision: the book of Puritan Prayers. He said no, and I told him, “Just read it and it will change your mind!”
My heart was warmed today by rereading this beautiful prayer to our triune God:
Heavenly Father, blessed Son, eternal Spirit,
We adore you as one Being, one Essence,
one God in three distinct Persons,
for bringing sinners to the knowledge of you and your kingdom.
O Father, you have loved us and sent Jesus to redeem us;
O Jesus, you have loved us and taken on our nature,
You who shed your own blood to wash away our sins,
Who worked righteousness to cover our unworthiness;
O Holy Spirit, you have loved use and entered our hearts,
implanted there eternal life,
revealed to us the glories of Jesus.
Three Persons and one God, we bless and praise you,
for love so unmerited, so unspeakable, so wondrous,
so mighty to save the lost and raise them to glory.
O Father, we thank you that in fullness of grace
You have given me to Jesus,
to be his sheep, jewel, portion;
O Jesus, we thank you that in fullness of grace
You have accepted, supported, bound us;
O Holy Spirit, we thank you that in fullness of grace
You have exhibited Jesus as our salvation,
implanted faith within us,
subdued our stubborn hearts,
made us one with him forever.
O Father, you are enthroned to hear our prayers,
O Jesus, your hand is outstretched to take our petitions,
O Holy Spirit, you are willing to help our sufferings,
to show us our need, to supply words, to pray within us,
to strengthen us that we do not faint in our supplication.
O Triune God, who commanded the universe,
You have commanded us to ask for those things
that concern your kingdom and our souls.
Let us live and pray as one baptized into the threefold Name.
Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1975), 3. Language modernized for corporate worship by Stuart Strachan Jr.
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