A vibrant prayer life is essential to the spiritual health. It is the way we commune with our loving Father and a means by which He pours His grace into our lives. While virtually all Christians would confess the importance of prayer, many of the same ones struggle to maintain a consistent prayer life. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) looks more like “pray sometimes, real quickly, with no real conviction or aim.”
While nothing compares to the Word when it comes to shaping and encouraging our personal prayers, it can be helpful
to read the prayers of other brothers and sisters in the faith. We can learn how to pray better through reading and hearing more mature Christians pray. Makes sense, right?
That’s where The Valley of Vision comes in. This book, which is not new, is a collection of Puritan prayers that I have found to be helpful in cultivating my prayer life. It is organized by topic, ranging from key doctrinal themes (Trinity, Union with Christ, etc.) to practical issues that Christians regularly face (Pride, Grace in Trials, New Year, etc.). The rich depth in so many of these prayers has been a real encouragement to me. To give you a taste of the book, I’ve decided to include one of the prayers:
Jesus My GloryO Lord God, Thou has commanded me to believe in Jesus; and I would flee to no other refuge, wash in no other fountain, build on no other foundation, receive from no other fullness, rest in no other relief. His water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross, may they never be separated in my creed and experiences; May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of sin, feel my need of a prince and saviour, implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness, love holiness, and be pure in heart, have the mind of Jesus, and tread in his steps. Let me not be at my own disposal, but rejoice that I am under the care of one who is too wise to err, too kind to injure, too tender to crush. May I scandalize none by my temper and conduct, but recommend and endear Christ to all around, bestow good on every one as circumstances permit, and decline no opportunity of usefulness. Grant that I may value my substance [possessions], not as the medium of pride and luxury, but as the means of my support and stewardship. Help me to guide my affections with discretion, to owe no man anything, to be able to give to him that needeth, to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving, to show to the world the likeness of Jesus.