The Valley of Vision
Summary: A Christian must pray. So many of us know the proper parts of prayer : Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. But as we sit and try to focus on these aspects, our mind wanders or our heart is unmoved. Our prayers are often so stale and unfit for the living God. This book is full of prayers written by godly men who were enthralled with the Lord. There are many topics that one can flip to when found in different circumstances. These prayers can be prayed, or they can be read as an aid to lift our hearts and minds into a better frame of mind to pray.
Personal Thoughts: I have referenced this book many times. It sits on the shelf right beside the spot where I spend my morning prayers. I confess my heart is often cold, my thoughts sluggish; the words held within these pages have often kindled a greater desire to pray as I meditated upon the beauty of the Lord. This book has given me words to pray and it has given me a deeper awe for the Lord as many of these prayers magnify some aspect or attribute of our God. This book has brought a lot of maturity to my prayers, moving me away from those quick and generic petitions and typical requests that once permeated my prayers. I would encourage you to find a copy to slowly and meditatively digest. With the Spirit's help, you will certainly grow in prayer and love for the Lord.
Prayer on Penitence:
O Lord Of Grace,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
O quicken my conscience to feel this folly, to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw thy presence
from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
Let me never forget that I have an eternal duty to love, honour and obey thee,
that thou art infinitely worthy of such;
that if I fail to glorify thee
I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment,
for sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.
O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee,
Melt my heart, heal my backslidings, and open an intercourse of love.
When the fire of thy compassion warms my inward man,
And the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul,
then I feelingly wonder at my own depravity, and deeply abhor myself;
then thy grace is a powerful incentive to repentance,
and an irresistible motive to inward holiness.
May I never forget that thou hast my heart in thy hands.
Apply to it the merits of Christ’s atoning blood whenever I sin.
Let thy mercies draw me to thyself.
Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world,
and make me ready for my departure hence
animated by the humiliations of penitential love.
My soul is often a chariot without wheels,
clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay;
Mount it on eagle’s wings
and cause it to soar upward to thyself.
Summary: Another Spurgeon gem. Let the Prince of Preachers teach you about true
prayer--situational prayer, glorifying prayer. Pray with the words that the Lord Himself gives you. When you do this, you can expect a real and timely answer to your prayers. Plead His promises, cling to His mercy. Understand who you are when you speak to the living God. God delights to forgive where there is no reason for forgiveness but His own goodness.
Personal Thoughts: Wow. You can never go wrong with Spurgeon. My favorite chapter was entitled "Real
Prayer." I will never forget (or so I hope) that passage 'Call upon the Lord in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me.' The Lord tells us to call upon Him. Why? So He can deliver us. He wants to hear from us. He wants to deliver us, or He would not have said it. And as a result, we will glorify Him.
Quote: If I do not deliver you now, I will deliver you at a time that is better than now. You would prefer to be
delivered at this future time rather than now if you were as wise as I am. The Lord is always punctual. You never were kept waiting by Him. You have kept Him waiting many times, but He is prompt to the instant. He never keeps His servants waiting one single tick of the clock beyond His own appointed, fitting, wise, and proper moment. --pg 85, 86
Often, when I have been cheering up a poor sinner and urging him to believe in Christ, I have thought, "Well, if he will not drink this cup of comfort, I will drink it myself." I assure you, I need it as much as those to whom I offer it. I have been as great a sinner as any of you, my readers, and therefore I take the promise for myself. The divine cup of comfort will not be lost; I will accept it. --pg 114
LORD, Teach us to Pray!
Summary: Praying is hard. This pastor truly believed this and he preached many sermons on this very plea from the disciples, 'Lord! Teach us to pray!' Oh, this book encourages, it compels, it humbles sinners to fall to their knees. There is a fervency that leaps off the page that I have seldom seen matched. He captures the imagination in so many ways; for instance when he describes the irreverent family at prayers--their creaking chairs, their yawns, coughs and sneezes...
Personal Thoughts: This book had a huge impact on me. It's certainly not boring reading! The wrestling, the pleading, the passion and the reverence so void in my own prayers goads me into learning how to put more LIFE into my prayers once again. The chapter on the costliness of prayer is especially good. Please, read it and see if you would not echo the same sentiments for it.
Quote: Both time and thought are easy, pleasant and costless compared with this, --Thy will
be done. To say "Thy will be done" when we enter our Gethsemane, --that throws us on our faces on the earth: that brings the blood to our brows. And yet at no less cost than that was God's own Son "heard in that He feared." When someone, far dearer to us than our own souls, is laid down on his death bed, to say "Not my will, but Thine be done," --at what a cost is that said in such an hour! What a heart-racking price has to be paid for that prayer! And yet, pay that price we must: pour our hearts into that prayer we must, if we are, like our Lord, to be made perfect by suffering.
And not at death beds only, but at times which I will not trust myself to put words. Times also, when a great cloud of
disappointment and darkness gathers over our life: when some great hope is forever blasted: when some great opportunity and expectation is for ever gone, and never to return. To lie down before God's feet and say, "Not my will
but Thine be done," at such times--at what a cost is that said and done! And to say it without bitterness, or gloom, or envy, or ill will at any one: and to go on to the end of our lonely and desolate life, full of love and service to God and man, --at such a sight as that, God says, "This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased! Come up hither. Inherit
the kingdom prepared for thee before the foundation of the world!"