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The Fervent Prayer of a Righteous Man

On my desk in my study, I have a book of prayers entitled, THE VALLEY OF VISION.  It is a compilation of prayers of various Puritans of the 17th and 18th centuries compiled and published in 1975 by Arthur Bennett who was, at that time, Canon of St. Alban Cathedral in England.  He only contributed one prayer (the one below) of his own to be contained in the whole, short book. His prayer is listed first in the list of prayers and was one of those that was so compelling to me.

His prayer has a great appeal on this National Day of Prayer because before we pray for our nation, we must be aware of two things….1) the splendor of God; and 2) the paradox of sinful man having an audience with One who is totally and fully righteous.  Once we recognize His Majesty anew, we are better disposed to pray.  This earnest prayer expresses my heart’s desire…

O God Whose will conquer all,

            There is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying Thee and being engaged in Thy

                        service:

            Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what to me Thou makest them and no more.

            I am well pleased with Thy will, whatever it is, or should be in all respects,

            And if Thou bidst me deicide for myself in any affair, I would choose to refer all to Thee,

            For Thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss, as I am in danger of doing.

            I rejoice to think that all things are at Thy disposal, and it delights me to leave them

                        there.

            Then prayer turns wholly into praise, and all I can do is to adore and bless Thee.

            What shall I give Thee for all Thy benefits?

            I am in a strait betwixt the two, knowing not what to do;

            I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer,

            And can only rejoice that Thou doest all,

            That none in heaven or on earth shares your honor.

            I can of myself do nothing to glorify Thy blessed name,

            But I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to Thee.

            I know Thou art the Author and Finisher of faith,

            That the whole work of redemption is Thine alone,

            That every good work or thought found in me

            Is the effect of Thy power and grace.

            That Thy sole motive in working in me to will and to do is for Thy good pleasure.

            O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much

            About man’s creaturely power and goodness,

            When, if Thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devil’s incarnate.

            This, by bitter experience, Thou has taught me concerning myself.

May we seek the face of God this day to repent of personal sins and to intercede for our nation and her great iniquity.  May our God hear our fervent prayers and send His Holy Spirit to convict us of our great rebellion, send revival where there is riotous living, and restore what has been devoured by the great enemy of God that we have so willfully chosen to follow.  May we yet see once again in this once God-fearing nation that “His Truth is marching on!”