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“The best prayers have often more groans than words.”
“John Livingstone spent the whole night prior to June 21, 1630, in prayer and conference, being designated to preach next day. After he had been speaking for an hour and a half a few drops of rain disconcerted the people, but Livingstone asking them if they had any shelter from the storm of God’s wrath went on another hour. There were about 5oo converted on the spot. “
~ Livingstone of Shotts.
Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.
This is thy day,
the heavenly ordinance of rest,
the open door of worship,
the record of Jesus’ resurrection,
the seal of the Sabbath to come,
the day when saints militant and triumphant
unite in endless song.
I bless thee for the throne of grace,
that here free favour reigns;
that open access to it is through the blood of Jesus;
that the veil is torn aside and I can enter the holiest
and find thee ready to hear,
waiting to be gracious,
inviting me to pour out my needs,
encouraging in my desires,
promising to give more than I ask or think.
But while I bless thee, shame and confusion are mine:
I remember my past misuse of sacred things,
my irreverent worship,
my base ingratitude,
my cold dull praise.
Sprinkle all my past sabbaths with the cleansing
blood of Jesus,
and may this day witness deep improvement in me.
Give me in rich abundance
the blessings the Lord’s Day was designed to impart;
May my heart be fast bound against worldly
thoughts or cares;
Flood my mind with peace beyond understanding;
My Dear Lord,
I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired.
My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness!
What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee.
Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved.
Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.
(The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, 127)
The prayer below reminds us that of our continue need to seek personal holiness.
O GOD OF GRACE,
Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute,and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;
I am always standing in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bring forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.