One of my favorite books, small and leather bound, is a collection of prayers and devotions written in the 16-1700’s entitled The Valley of Vision. A compilation of several authors’ personal reflections on both soul abandonment and replenishment, the language is rich, full of reverence and seeking, of men humbly laying wide their hearts before God in worship and finding that He is enough. In giving up control and yielding themselves without restraint or moderation to His designs, they experienced life anew. Since discovering this little book, written prayers have become a regular part of my spiritual reading.
Over the past few years as my family has walked through some difficult days, I started writing down my own prayers as well. Putting them on paper helps me better focus my thoughts. I’ve posted some of them below. While praying and writing, nuggets of truth from books I’ve referred to in earlier posts as well as scripture kept surfacing. Together, they helped frame many of the considerations that were front and center on my heart and mind. I’ve noted the authors whose phraseology I included as well as the Scripture referenced.
I’m not sure why, something about sharing these personal prayers makes my heart feel a little exposed, but I want to be open and trust that in doing so, others might be encouraged to do the same.
Father God ~ This morning I thank You for your faithfulness to me; it’s as sure as the dawn of a new day! You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. How many other things in life are that certain? Who can compare to You? You have set your love upon me and promised You will never leave me or forsake me. This is not an empty promise — saying and doing are the same with you (1). I sit in quiet wonder to think You are always moving in me and around me, fulfilling your Word, right down to each and every promise in its largest sense and fullest meaning (2). You never cut corners. Teach me to trust You more; to honor You with my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation (3). But in those far too familiar moments when trust doesn’t come so easily, thank you for being patient — I know that You never disparage small, mustard seed beginnings.
With each new sunrise, I am sheltered in the knowledge nothing touches my life apart from what your providence has allowed. Your infinite wisdom and perfect love are working all things for my good and for your glory.
Help me embrace adversity and carefree days alike, knowing the good You faithfully work in my life is conformity to the likeness of your Son. This is the cruciform life — the life of Jesus taking shape in me. What higher good could I ever desire?
Teach me to rest in your wisdom, faithfulness, and love, not merely resigned to accept your designs for me, but rejoicing that I am under the care of One who is too wise to err, too kind to injure, and too tender to crush (4).
Because You are ever faithful ~
All In You
Father God ~ In each moment of this day as I learn to live in a fixed and settled dependence upon You (1), my desire is that You will capture my heart and its affections, renew my mind, and arrest my wandering thoughts. Be revealed to my as the only fitting and suitable place of rest where my soul is truly satisfied (2).
Walking in the Light
Father God ~ I’m learning that a heart full of thanksgiving often shares its space alongside an equal measure of reflection. Today I’m reminded how your hand has sheltered and carried me. Your grace and mercy overwhelm me. How little of the sea can a child carry in his hand; as little do I take away of my boundless and running-over Christ Jesus. (1) To count the ways you’ve showered infinite goodness and light on my path would be like trying to count grains of sand on the shore. This is truly an ocean-sized wonder — let the full weight of this truth wash over me today!
When I consider all that You are, I’m quick to remember all I am not. And yet in You, I am complete. You remind me of my constant need so I’ll run to You for wholeness and healing. I know You are faithfully completing the good work You have begun in me.
Too often I become comfortable in the muddled and dull surroundings of this world and fail to see how far I fall short of your glory. There isn’t a day or a moment when I don’t need You to shine the light of this truth in my heart. It always leaves me painfully aware of my sin and utter inadequacy to “fix” myself, but the love with which You cleanse and renew is nothing short of a holy love.
And so, today, let me set out to walk with You in the bright light of your presence, always mindful of your holiness, knowing my constant need, and full of thanksgiving as I reflect upon your provision in Christ that exceeds anything I could ever imagine or ask for.
I pray this because You are faithful and true ~
(1) Samuel Rutherford “The Lovliness of Christ“; Colossians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 3:20
You are Able
Jesus, who lives to plead for me — You were perfected through suffering so I may be your child forever. Such amazing love!
When I think about this grace – grace that knew no other way, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. And now in heaven, You understand what lies behind the words or the silence — the language of those who are traveling home. For every child of yours who is walking a road that is busy or quiet, tired or rested, lonely or belonging, broken or whole, empty or full, aching or light; it’s all part of earth’s prose and You know it well. When we are tempted You intercede for us with compassion, remembering just how heavy the weight, how strong the pull can be. Our friend and Savior has walked in our shoes! You traveled this road but in perfect obedience. No one else could ever be so able, both to understand our need and provide for it.
Thank you because You are always ready, always inclined to hear me when I speak your name; whether in hushed quiet, thanksgiving, and worship or in desperate cries for help. Even when there are no words to express the overflow of my praise or the depth of my need, your Spirit intercedes for me as only He can.
Today, make me quick to remember this – You are able when I am not. Let me consider Jesus, who was and is forever faithful.
Hebrews 2:10,18; 3:1,2
Rags for Riches
Jesus, my Redeemer ~ You rescued me by ransom; the price was your life which You willingly laid down for me. I never want to forget or casually take for granted the scope of this truth! You, who never knew sin, were made to be sin for me so that I might become the righteousness of God. What an exchange! Furnish my soul with the capacity, I pray, to behold and comprehend the glory of God in Christ (1).
When I am brought low with the heaviness of this world’s trouble, remind me that this affliction is momentary and light by comparison and is producing for me an eternal weight of glory. Enable me, in spite of my humanness, to live in this truth.
You call me to look up to the cross — the life-giving, redeeming love of the cross. Here I find a hope that does not disappoint, purchased for me by my faithful Redeemer and friend.
From an overflowing heart of gratitude and love ~
2 Corinthians 5:21; (1)John Owen “Communion With God”; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 5:3-5
Father God ~ It seems almost daily my heart is pulled to look around and want more, always more of what makes this world comfortable and easy –a misplaced craving for things and a life free of pain and sorrow. I struggle to learn the great lesson of contentment — that sweet inward thing, a work of the Spirit indoors, a business of the heart (1). Only You can change us to know that a little in the world will content a Christian for his passage, but all the world will never content him for his portion (2). One is temporal – the other everlasting. I need You daily to remind me of the vast difference between the two. Give me a stranger’s temper and a pilgrim’s frame…sitting quite loose and free to the things about me; and let heavenly and eternal things be always present to my faith. (3)
In my humanness, I want an easy, carefree path when, instead, You have called me to trust you entirely for my journey, no matter how difficult the road may be. Looking around only makes me anxious; re-direct my focus to remember You are my God. After all, a soul that is capable of God can be truly filled with nothing less than God. Teach me the blessedness of possessing nothing, of letting go and releasing my hold on things or rights or demands, all the while having everything in You (4).
Lead me to see that while I’m here, contentment will never come by adding to what I possess, but rather by subtracting from what I desire (5). Only You can cause my heart to know this truth. I thank You that both for our passage and as our portion, You satisfy the thirsty soul and the hungry soul You fill with what is truly good! Nothing softens my heart into holy tenderness like a true sense of your mercy (6). So today, at every turn, breath in me a fresh and keen awareness of your loving kindness that overflows my life, and in response may I breathe out my constant thanksgiving and gratitude.
I want to step aside more often to talk with You and my own heart; that I would not let every trifle divert me; that I would keep a more true and faithful account of my thoughts and affections; that I would seriously demand of my heart every evening, “Oh my heart, where have you been today and what has engaged your thoughts?” (7) Let the answer be found, and without hesitation, in all that You are, my soul’s true portion and delight.
Ever mindful that I am a pilgrim just passing through ~
(1,2,5) Jeremiah Burroughs “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”; (3,6) William Romaine “Treatises on the Life, Walk and Triumph of Faith”(4) AW Tozer “The Pursuit of God”; Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 107:9; (7) John Flavel “Keeping the Heart”