If I was stranded on a desert island and could only choose three books to be with me, it would be 1. the Bible, 2. Valley of Vision, and 3. Harry Potter (yes, I realize that is 7 books, but on my imaginary island, I would have them all in one volume… Anyway the point is number 2.
Valley of Vision has been one of my favorite books since 2009 when I moved overseas. It’s a collection of Puritan prayers and they are deep. And wide. I love reading one or two during my quiet times. They bring me into the presence of God. I like to note the date I read the prayers and sometimes a simple note about what is going on in my life. Usually I nod the whole way through each prayer amazed at the way the words echo my heart so perfectly.
One of my favorite prayers from Valley of Vision is Need of Grace:
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 loathe 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 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 behaviour;
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 prove but Christ’s school
to make me fit for greater service
by teaching me the great lesson of humility.”