My Birthday Prayer

Today is my birthday and each year makes me thankful for the past year and encouraged for the next year.  Since it is my birthday I thought I would share one of the prayers I prayed from the Valley of Vision.  It is a fitting prayer as I mark another year of life.

Year’s End

O LOVE BEYOND COMPARE, Thou art good when thou givest, when thou takest away, when the sun shines upon me, when night gathers over me. Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world, and in love didst redeem my soul; Thou dost love me still, in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust. Thy goodness has been with me another year, leading me through a twisting wilderness, in retreat helping me to advance, when beaten back making sure headway. Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead; I hoist sail and draw up anchor, With thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past. I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead. If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation, thou wilt be with me in them; If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and tempation, I shall not drown; If I am to die, I shall see thy face the sooner; If a painful end is to be my lot, grant me grace that my faith fail not; If I am to be cast aside from the service I love, I can make no stipulation; Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial, as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

–From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh and Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1983), 111.

A Minister's Evils

I have a tradition on Sunday mornings.  As I arrive at the church and go into my study to pray, I begin by picking up The Valley of Vision and reading a prayer.  The book is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.  It has been a wonderful tradition that helps to set my heart on Christ and to prepare to proclaim the Gospel. This is a prayer I read a few weeks ago titled A Minister's Evils that continued to stick with me.BLESSED SPIRIT OF GOD, Four evils attend my ministry — The devil treads me down by discouragement and shame arising from coldness in private meditation. Carelessness possesses me from natural dullness and dimness of spirit; because in the past I have met with success and been highly regarded, so that it does not matter if I have now failed. Infirmities and weakness are mine from want of spiritual light, life and power, so that souls have not been helped, and I have not felt thee to be near. Lack of success has followed even when I have done my best. But thou hast shown me that the glory of everything that is sanctified to do good is not seen in itself, but in the source of its sanctification. Thus my end in preaching is to know Christ, and impart his truth; my principle in preaching is Christ himself, whom I trust, for in him is fullness of spirit and strength; my comfort in preaching is to do all for him. Help me in my work to grow more humble, to pick something out of all providences to that end, to joy in thee and loathe myself, to keep my life, being, soul, and body only for thee, to carry my heart to thee in love and delight, to see all my grace in thee, coming from thee, to walk with thee in endearment. Then, whether I succeed or fail, nought matters but thee alone.

From the Valley of Vision Pg. 185