A Puritan’s Prayer: A Minister’s Praises

Puritan O God, My Exceeding Joy,

Singing thy praises uplifts my heart,
   
for thou art a fountain of delight,
      
and dost bless the soul that joys in thee.

But because of my heart’s rebellion
I cannot always praise thee as I ought;
Yet I will at all times rest myself in
   
thy excellences, goodness, and loving-kindness.

Thou art in Jesus the object of inexpressible joy,
   
and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought
      
of thee.

But Lord, I am sometimes thy enemy;
   
my nature revolts and wanders from thee.
Though thou hast renewed me,
   
yet evil corruptions urge me still to oppose thee.

Help me to extol thee with entire heart-submission,
   
to be diligent in self-examination,
   
to ask myself
      
whether I am truly born again,
      
whether my spirit is the spirit of thy children,
      
whether my grief’s are those that tear
        
repenting hearts,
      
whether my joys are the joys of faith,
      
whether my confidence in Christ works
        
by love and purifies the soul.

Give me the sweet results of faith,
   
in my secret character, and in my public life.
Cast cords of love around my heart,
   
then hold me and never let me go.

May the Saviour’s wounds sway me more
   
than the scepter of princes.
Let me love thee in a love that covers
      
and swallows up all,
   
that I may not violate my chaste union
      
with the beloved;

There is much unconquered territory
      
in my nature,
   
scourge out the buyers and sellers
      
of my soul’s temple,
   
and give me in return pure desires,
      
and longings after perfect holiness.

(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett)

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