Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Prayer for Today

Self-Knowledge

Searcher of hearts,
It is a good day to me when thou givest me
a glimpse of myself;
Sin is my greatest evil,
but thou art my greatest good;
I have cause to loathe myself,
and not to seek self-honour,
for no one desires to commend his own dunghill.

My country, family, church
fare worse because of my sins,
for sinners bring judgment in thinking
sins are small,
or that God is not angry with them.

Let me not take other good men as my example,
and think I am good because I am like them,
For all good men are not so good as thou desirest,
are not always consistent,
do not always follow holiness,
do not feel eternal good in sore affliction.

Show me how to know when a thing is evil
which I think is right and good,
how to know when what is lawful
comes from an evil principle,
such as desire for reputation or wealth by usury.

Give me grace to recall my needs,
my lack of knowing thy will in Scripture,
of wisdom to guide others,
of daily repentance, want of which keeps thee
at bay,
of the spirit of prayer, having words
without love,
of zeal for thy glory, seeking my own ends,
of joy in thee and thy will,
of love to others.

And let me not lay my pipe
too short of the fountain,
never touching the eternal spring,
never drawing down water from above.


(From The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, p.69)

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