by Charles R. Swindoll
Some years ago I was given a book of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision. I have worn out one copy and had to purchase another. I recommend this volume to you. Read the following prayer from the Puritan's pen slowly (preferably aloud).
I am a shell full of dust,
but animated with an invisible rational soul
and made anew by an unseen power of grace;
Yet l am no rare object of valuable price,
but one that has nothing and is nothing,
although chosen of thee from eternity,
given to Christ, and born again;
I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state,
of the vanity of creatures,
but also of the sufficiency of Christ.
When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,
When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself.
When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.
When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself,
When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will,
When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;
I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,
Instead of thee I look to man's approbation,
and am by nature an idolater.
Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.
Convince me that I cannot be my own god, or make myself happy,
nor my own Christ to restore my joy,
nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, and rule me. . . .
Then take me to the cross and leave me there.
1. Arthur Bennett, ed., The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, © 1975, 1988, 2003).
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.