The Praying Puritan

The Puritans have always gotten a bad “rap” in history. They have been portrayed as dour, grumpy, and hypocritical, thanks mostly to the play, The Crucible, and that required reading from high school, The Scarlet Letter (at least the Cliff Notes were required). However, a better description of the Puritans is found in Leland Ryken’s, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were:

“The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don’t. A much-traveled leader, a native American (be it said), has declared that he finds North American Protestantism—man-centered, manipulative, success-oriented, self-indulgent, and sentimental as it blatantly is—to be three thousand miles wide and half an inch deep. We are spiritual dwarfs. The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants. They were great souls serving a great God. In them, clear-headed passion and warm-hearted compassion combined. Visionary and practical, idealistic and realistic too, goal-oriented and methodical, they were great believers, great hopers, great doers, and great sufferers.”

Above all, the Puritans knew how to pray. That is one reason why The Valley of Vision (a collection of Puritan prayers) has always been a great encouragement to me. The Puritans could see their sin in all of its depravity, and God’s grace in all of its depth. Be blessed by the following plea to a gracious God to change a fallen sinner:

THOU BLESSED SPIRIT, AUTHOR OF ALL GRACE AND COMFORT,

Come, work repentance in my soul;
Represent sin to me in its odious colours that
I may hate it;
Melt my heart by the majesty and mercy of God;
Show me my ruined self and the help there is in Him;
Teach me to behold my Creator,
His ability to save,
His arms outstretched,
His heart big for me.

May I confide in His power and love,
commit my soul to Him without reserve,
bear His image,
observe His laws,
pursue His service,
and be through time and eternity
a monument to the efficacy of His grace,
a trophy of His victory.

Make me willing to be saved in His way,
perceiving nothing in myself,
but all in Jesus:
Help me not only to receive Him but to walk in Him,
depend upon Him,
commune with Him,
be conformed to Him,
follow Him,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trials, but thankful for my state.

Give me that faith which is the means of salvation,
and the principle and medium of all godliness;
May I be saved by grace through faith,
live by faith,
feel the joy of faith,
do the work of faith.

Perceiving nothing in myself,
may I find in Christ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

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1 Comment

  1. Sandra A. said,

    May 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Amen, brother, and amen. See you in church next week.


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