This old Puritan prayer ministered to my heart today as well as to my congregation. It was very fitting. This morning, I preached from 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 as part of a sermon series Disability and the Glory of God. In our evening service, although I am not much for using pre-written prayers in public, we prayed this together before an extended time of prayer for one of our men who has just entered a time of great physical suffering.
FATHER OF MERCIES,
Hear me for Jesus’ sake. I am sinful even in my closest walk with thee;
it is of thy mercy I died not long ago; Thy grace has given me faith in the cross
by which thou hast reconciled thyself to me and me to thee,
drawing me by thy great love, reckoning me as innocent in Christ though
guilty in myself.
Giver of all graces,
I look to thee for strength to maintain them in me, for it is hard to practise what I believe.
Strengthen me against temptations.
My heart is an unexhausted fountain of sin, a river of corruption since childhood days,
flowing on in every pattern of behaviour; Thou hast disarmed me of the means
in which I trusted, and I have no strength but in thee.
Thou alone canst hold back my evil ways, but without thy grace to sustain me I fall.
Satan’s darts quickly inflame me, and the shield that should quench them
easily drops from my hand: Empower me against his wiles and assaults.
Keep me sensible of my weakness, and of my dependence upon thy strength.
Let every trial teach me more of thy peace, more of thy love.
Thy Holy Spirit is given to increase thy graces,
and I cannot preserve or improve them unless he works continually in me.
May he confirm my trust in thy promised help, and let me walk humbly in dependence
upon thee, for Jesus’ sake.
(Excerpted from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett)