Today I want to post three prayers from a prayer book that beautifully demonstration the discipline of confession. Note the admission of ingrained failures and the corresponding joy that is reflected in these prayers.
O God of Grace,
Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute, and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with the jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness.
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for thou dost always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, Father, forgive me, and thou are always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it, ever evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.The Valley of Vision, p 136-137
MAN A NOTHING
I am a shell full of dust, but animated with an invisible rational soul and made anew by an unseen power of grace;
Yet I am no rare object of valuable price, but one that has nothing and is nothing, although chosen of thee from eternity, given to Christ, and born again;
I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, of the vanity of creatures, but also of the sufficiency of Christ.
When thou wouldst guide me I control myself, when thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself. When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself. When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself, when I should submit to thy providence I follow my will, When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself; I fault and correct they laws to suit myself, Instead of thee I look to a man’s approbation, and am by nature in idolater.
Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee. Convince me that I cannot be my own God, or make myself happy, nor my own Christ to restore my joy, nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.
Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction, for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower, when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away, when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.
Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart; show mw that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience, or support a tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit.
Then take me to the cross and leave me there.The Valley of Vision, p. 166-167
A MINISTER’S CONFESSION
I know that I often do thy work without thy power, and sin by my dead, heartless, blind service, my lack of inward light, love, delight, my mind, heart tongue moving without thy help.
I see sin in my heart in seeking the approbation of others; This is my vileness, to make men’s opinion my rule, whereas I should see what good I have done, and give thee glory, consider what sin I have committed and mourn for that.
It is my deceit to preach, and pray, and to stir up others’ spiritual affections in order to beget commendations, whereas my rule should be daily to consider myself more vile than any man in my own eyes.
But thou dost show thy power by my frailty, so that the more feeble I am, the more fit to be used, for thou dost pitch a tent of grace in my weakness.
Help me to rejoice in my infirmities and give thee praise, to acknowledge my deficiencies before others and not be discouraged by them, that they may see thy glory more clearly.
Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural, whereby I can attempt things above my strength, and bear evils beyond my strength, acting for Christ in all, and have his superior power to help me.
Let me learn of Paul whose presence was mean, his weakness great, his utterance contemptible, yet thou didst account him faithful and blessed. Lord, let me lean on thee as he did, and find my ministry thine.”The Valley of Vision, p. 340-341
If you would like a copy of The Valley of Vision, you can order them here.