As we come to the end of 2016 and look ahead to 2017, I thought I’d share this poetic prayer from The Valley of Vision.
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 temptation,
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.
Most of the New Year messages we see offer wishes for health, success and prosperity, and that there be no troubles or sorrows in the year to come. This poem reminds me that, no matter what “If’s” I may anticipate in the coming year, my sovereign, loving Father has ordained it for my good, to sanctify me, and will take me through it for His glory. I pray that if you are His child, this will serve to comfort you as well.
I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate,
be crucified, dead, and buried.
The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder,
for it is empty and thou art risen;
the four-fold gospel attests it,
the living witnesses prove it,
my heart’s experience knows it.
Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life,
for I wish to be as dead and buried
to sin, to selfishness, to the world;
that I might not hear the voice of the charmer,
and might be delivered from his lusts.
O Lord, there is much ill about me — crucify it,
much flesh within me — mortify it.
Purge me from selfishness,
the fear of man, the love of approbation,
the shame of being thought old-fashioned,
the desire to be cultivated or modern.
Let me reckon my old life dead
because of crucifixion,
and never feed it as a living thing.
Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour,
to be content to be rejected,
to be willing to take up unpopular truths,
and to hold fast despised teachings until death.
Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.
Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.
Strengthen me for the battles ahead.
Give me courage for all the trials,
and grace for all the joys.
Help me to be a holy, happy person,
free from every wrong desire,
from everything contrary to thy mind.
Grant me more and more of the resurrection life:
may it rule me,
may I walk in its power,
and be strengthened through its influence.
The Valley of Vision is published by Banner of Truth.
May you know the blessed truth and experience the reality of Christ’s resurrection this Easter and throughout the year!
“The soul learns to pray by praying; for prayer is communion with a transcendent and immanent God who on the ground of his nature and attributes calls forth all the powers of the redeemed soul in acts of total adoration and dedication.”
The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers, 195 in all, compiled by Arthur Bennett from various men from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, David Brainerd, Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, Philip Doddridge, and Charles Spurgeon, as well as others. These short, devotional, poetic prayers are a wonderful way to start and/or end each day. They would serve well for private, personal devotions and meditation, or for family worship. Continue reading “Fresh Views of God from Voices of the Past: The Valley of Vision”