Thursday, January 3, 2008

Weekly Puritan - Valley of Vision

Confession and Petition
Holy Lord,
I have sinned times without number,
and been guilty of pride and unbelief,
of failure to find thy mind in thy Word,
of neglect to seek thee in my daily life.
My transgessions and short-comings
present me with a list of accusations,
But I bless thee that they will not stand against me,
for all have been laid on Christ;
Go on to subdue my corruptions,
and grant me grace to live above them.
Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings
of the mind bring my spirit into subjection,
but do thou rule over me in liberty and power.
I thank thee that many of my prayers have been refused-
I have asked amiss and do not have,
I have prayed from lusts and been rejected,
I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness.
Go on with thy patient work,
answering 'no' to my wrongful prayers,
and fitting me to accept it.
Purge me from every false desire,
every base aspiration,
everything contrary to thy rule.
I thank thee for thy wisdom and thy love,
for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject,
for sometimes putting me into the furnace
to refine my gold and remove my dross.
No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin.
If thou shouldst give me choice to live
in pleasure and keep my sins,
or to have them burnt away with trial,
give me sanctified affliction.
Deliver me from every evil habit,
every accretion of former sins,
everything that dims the brightness
of thy grace in me,
everything that prevents me taking delight
in thee.
Then I shall bless thee, God of Jeshurun,
for helping me to be upright.

(Valley of Vision, page 138)

This is a dangerous prayer. Let me repeat that so that it sinks in: "This is a DANGEROUS prayer."

How many of us thank God for placing us in the furnace of affliction in order to have our dross burned off and our gold refined? How many of us seek "sanctified affliction"?

What a contrast to the prosperity preachers who tell you that this year is your year of jubilee and that God is only interested in pouring blessing into your corrupt shell. May we pray dangerously this year, and seek His will even at the expense of our comfort. May we receive a resounding 'NO' from God when we pray amiss.

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