Happy New Year!
Here is an God-focused prayer for the new year.
O LORD, length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters
of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.
The Valley of Vision, 206-207 (Banner of Truth Trust)
O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
My heart admires, adores, loves thee,
For my little vessel is as full as it can be,
And I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with thee
Ten thousands delightful thoughts spring up,
Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
Crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
For adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
For the body thou hast given me,
For preserving its strength and vigour,
For providing senses to enjoy delights,
For the ease and freedom of my limbs,
For hands, eyes, ears, that do thy bidding;
For thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
For a full table and overflowing cup,
For appetite, taste, and sweetness,
For social joys of relatives and friends,
For ability to serve others,
For a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
For a mind to care for my fellow-men,
For opportunities of spreading happiness around,
For loved ones in the joys of heaven,
For my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.
I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.
Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.
The Valley of Vision, pp. 26-27
God of all good,
I bless thee for the means of grace; teach me to see in them thy loving purposes and the joy and strength of my soul.
Thou hast prepared for me a feast; and though I am unworthy to sit down as guest, I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus, and hide myself beneath his righteousness; when I hear his tender invitation and see his wondrous grace, I cannot hesitate, but must come to thee in love.
By the Spirit enliven my faith rightly to discern and spiritually to apprehend the Savior.
While I gaze upon the emblems of my Savior’s death, may I ponder why he died, and hear him say, “I gave my life to purchase yours, presented myself an offering to expiate your sin, shed my blood to blot out your guilt, opened my side to make you clean, endured your curses to set you free, bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.”
O may I rightly grasp the breadth and length of this design, draw near, obey, extend the hand, take the bread, receive the cup, eat and drink, testify before all men that I do for myself, gladly, in faith, reverence and love, receive my Lord, to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, delight.
In the supper I remember his eternal love, boundless grace, infinite compassion, agony, cross, redemption, and receive assurance of pardon, adoption, life, glory.
As the outward elements nourish my body, so may thy indwelling Spirit invigorate my soul, until that day when I hunger and thirst no more, and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.
The Valley of Vision, pp. 360-61
O my Lord,
Let not my ministry be approved only by men,
or merely to win the esteem and affections of people;
But do the work of grace in their hearts,
call in thy elect,
seal and edify the regenerate ones,
and command eternal blessings on their souls.
Save me from self-opinion and self-seeking;
Water the hearts of those who hear thy Word,
that seed sown in weakness may be raised in power;
Cause me and those that hear me
to behold thee here in the light of special faith,
and hereafter in the blaze of endless glory;
Make my every sermon a means of grace to myself,
and help me to experience the power of they dying love,
for thy blood is balm,
thy presence bliss,
thy smile heaven,
thy cross the place where truth and mercy meet.
Look upon the doubts and discouragements of my ministry
and keep me from self-importance;
I beg pardon for my many sins, omissions, infirmities,
as a man, as a minister;
Command thy blessing on my weak, unworthy labors,
and on the message of salvation given;
Stay with they people,
and may thy presence be their portion and mine.
When I preach to others let not my words
be merely elegant and masterly,
my reasoning polished and refined,
my performance powerless and tasteless,
but may I exalt thee and humble sinners.
O Lord of power and grace,
all hearts are in thy hands,
all events at thy disposal,
Set the seal of thy almighty will upon my ministry.
The Valley of Vision, pp. 338-39 (Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of the Truth)
All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight.
Thou didst weep, sorrow, suffer that I might rejoice.
For my joy thou hast sent the Comforter, multiplied thy promises, shown me my future happiness, given me a living fountain.
Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy; I pray for joy, wait for joy, long for joy; give me more than I can hold, desire, or think of.
Measure out to me my times and degrees of joy, at my work, business, duties.
If I weep at night, give me joy in the morning.
Let me rest in the thought of thy love, pardon for my sin, my title to heaven, my future unspotted state.
I am an unworthy recipient of thy grace.
I often disesteem thy blood and slight they love, but can in repentance draw water from the wells of thy joyous forgiveness.
Let my heart leap towards the eternal Sabbath, where the work of redemption, sanctification, preservation, glorification is finished and perfected forever, where thou wilt rejoice over me with joy.
There I no joy like the joy of heaven, for in that state are no sad divisions, unchristian quarrels, contentions, evil designs, weariness, hunger, cold, sadness, sin, suffering, persecution, toils of duty.
O healthy place where none are sick!
O happy land where all are kings!
O holy assembly where all are priests!
How free a state where none are servants except to thee!
Bring me speedily to the land of joy.
The Valley of Vision, pp. 292-93
O Source of all good, What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts, Thine own dear Son, begotten, not createdMy Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute, His self-emptying incomprehensible, His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp. Herein is wonder of wonders: he came below to raise me above, was born like me that I might become like him. Herein is love; when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace, to raise me to himself. Herein is power; when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart he united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created. Herein is wisdom; when I was undone, with no will to return to him, and no intellect to devise recovery, he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost, As man to die my death, To shed satisfying blood on my behalf, To work out a perfect righteousness for me. O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, And enlarge my mind; Let me hear good tidings of great joy, And hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,My conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, My eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father; Place me with ox, ass, camel, goat, To look with them upon my Redeemer’s face, And in him account myself delivered from sin; Let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, Embrace him with undying faith, Exulting that he is mine and I am his. In him thou has given me so much that heaven can give no more. The Valley of Vision, pp. 28-29
Part of my devotional reading this morning was the following prayer on how to receive reproofs with a godly attitude. It was an “accident of providence” that my reading landing on this prayer this morning. May you find it to be as convicting and encouraging as i have.
When I hear of disagreeable things among Christians,
It brings an additional weight and burden on my spirit;
I come to thee in my distress and make lamentable complaint;
Teach me how to take reproofs from friends,
Even though I think I do not deserve them;
Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin, more jealous over myself,
More concerned to keep heart and life unblameable;
Cause them to help me
To reflect on my want of spirituality,
To abhor myself,
To look upon myself as unworthy,
And make them beneficial to my soul.
May all thy people know how little, mean, and vile I am,
That they may see I am nothing,
Less than nothing,
To be accounted nothing,
That so they may pray for me aright,
And have not the least dependence upon me.
It is sweet to be nothing and have nothing,
And to be fed with crumbs from thy hands.
Blessed be thy Name for anything that life brings.
How do poor souls live who have not thee,
Or when helpless have no God to go to,
Who feel not the constraining force of they love,
And the sweetness of communion?
O how admirably dost thou captivate the soul,
Making all desires and affections center on thee!
Give me such vivacity in religion,
That I may be able to take all reproofs from other men as from thy hands,
And glorify thee for them
From a sense of thy beneficent love
And of my need to have my pride destroyed.
The Valley of Vision, pp. 148-49
Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom
To set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;
Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice,
for to bring honor to thy name is my sole desire.
I adore thee that thou art God,
and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it.
O that all men might love and praise thee,
that thou mightest have all the glory from the intelligent world!
Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name!
To the eye of reason everything respecting
the conversion of others is as dark as midnight.
But thou canst accomplish great things;
the cause is thine,
and it is to thy glory that men should be saved.
Lord, use me as though wilt,
do with me what thou wilt;
but, O, promote thy cause,
let thy kingdom come,
let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!
O do thou bring in great numbers to Jesus!
Let me see that glorious day,
and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls;
let me be willing to die to that end;
and while I live let me labor for thee to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness
It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.
O, answer thou my request!
Another week has gone and I have been preserved in my going out and my coming in.
Thine has been the vigilance that has turned threatened evils aside;
Thine the supplies that have nourished me;
Thine the comforts that have indulged me;
Thine the relations and friends that have delighted me;
Thine the means of grace which have edified me;
Thine the book, which, amidst all my enjoyments, has told me that is is not my rest,
that in all successes one thing alone is needful, to love my Savior.
Nothing can equal the number of thy mercies but my imperfections and sins.
These, O God, I will neither conceal or palliate,
but confess with a broken heart.
In what condition would secret reviews of my life leave me
where it not for the assurance that with thee
there is plenteous redemption
that thou art a forgiving God,
that thou mayest be feared!
While I hope for pardon through the blood of the cross,
I pray to be clothed with humility,
to be quickened in thy way,
to be more devoted to thee,
to keep the end of my life in view,
to be cured of the folly of delay and indecision,
to know how frail I am,
to number my days and apply my heart unto wisdom.
- The Valley of Vision, pp. 352-53