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Need of Grace

April 22, 2010

The Valley of Vision, a book of prayers from the Puritans, often nourishes and challenges my soul. One thing that I appreciate about these prayers is their refreshing honesty. Compared to me, these men were spiritual giants, and yet they openly admitted their flaws and their need for God to do a mighty work. This morning I found myself identifying with the prayer entitled “Need of Grace” (pp. 180-1).

O LORD,

Thou knowest my great unfitness for service,

my present deadness,

my inability to do anything for thy glory,

my distressing coldness of heart.

I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable,

and loath and abhor myself.

I am at a loss to know what thou wouldest have me do,

for I feel amazingly deserted by thee,

and sense thy presence so little;

Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth,

and the dreadful sin of my nature,

so that I feel all sin,

I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.

Return again with showers of converting grace

to a poor gospel-abusing sinner.

Help my soul to breathe after holiness,

after a constant devotedness to thee,

after growth in grace more abundantly every day.

O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness,

And am ready to sink because I fall short of my desire;

Help me to hold out a little longer,

until the happy hour of deliverance comes,

for I cannot lift my soul to thee

if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.

Help me to be diffident, watchful, tender,

lest I offend my blessed Friend

in thought and behavior;

I confide in thee and lean upon thee,

and need thee at all times to assist and lead me.

O that all my distresses and apprehensions

might probe but Christ’s school

to make me fit for greater service

by teaching me the great lesson of humility.

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