Pastor, First Shepherd Your Own Heart

Pastoral ministry is perilous. Not only do pastors face unique temptation due to their work, but their congregation watches their lives and imitation their actions. What a pastor most deeply loves, the church will grow to love. What captivates the imagination and affections of an elder will be mirrored by the church. Based on my anecdotal evidence, churches tend to become like their pastors over the years—both in the pastor’s strengths and deficiencies. This fact proves the wisdom and need for a plurality of elders in a local church, as many shepherds help balance out an individual’s weaknesses. Yet, the responsibility here is weighty.

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

The following is a Puritan prayer from the book The Valley of Vision I pray that this prayer spurs your heart to give thanks to God today!


Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil; for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding; for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others, for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joy of heaven, for my own expectations of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions