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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Longing for Heaven: Puritan Prayer


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O LORD,

I live here as a fish in a vessel of water,
      only enough to keep me alive,
  but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.

Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing,
  but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales;

Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness,
  a warm ray to keep me from freezing;
 yonder I shall live in light and warmth for ever.

My natural desires are corrupt and misguided,
  and it is thy mercy to destroy them;
My spiritual longings are of thy planting,
  and thou wilt water and increase them;
Quicken my hunger and thirst after
    the realm above.

Here I can have the world,
  there I shall have thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longing and prayer,
  there is assurance without suspicion,
    asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden
    than benefit,
  there is joy without sorrow,
    comfort without suffering,
    love without inconstancy,
    rest without weariness.

Give me to know that heaven is all love,
  where the eye affects the heart,
    and the continual viewing of thy beauty
    keeps the soul in continual transports
      of delight.

Give me to know that heaven is all peace,
  where error, pride, rebellion, passion
    raise no head.

Give me to know that heaven is all joy,
  the end of believing, fasting, praying,
    mourning, humbling, watching,
      fearing, repining;


And lead me to it soon.


2 comments:

  1. Beautiful ! Who is the author of this poem ?

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    Replies
    1. Dear Caro,
      Yes, it is indeed beautiful. This prayer is in the prayer-devotional-book called: "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions." I don't know who exactly wrote this particular prayer but the name of the editor is Arthur Bennett (1915-1994).
      And you can read these deep prayers online!
      https://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional-series/the-valley-of-vision-devotional/

      from amazon book review-
      "Arthur Bennett (1915-1994), was an English-born minister, tutor, and author who loved to study the Puritans. He has drawn the prayers in this much loved modern-day spiritual classic from what he refers to as the largely forgotten deposit of Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations. He states that this book of Puritan prayers has a unity not often found in similar works. The title of the book comes from Isaiah 22:1 “The oracle concerning the valley of vision….” The book was first published in 1975. The research for this book took years to complete, most likely done in the mid-1960’s through the early 1970’s.

      Bennett writes that the Puritan Movement was a religious phenomenon of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but its influence continued at least to the time of the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–92), who may be regarded as the last of the great Puritans. Bennett composed the first prayer himself. He tells us the authors and books he is quoting – from the works of Thomas Shepard, Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, William Williams, Philip Doddridge, William Romaine, David Brainerd, Augustus Toplady, Christmas Evans, William Jay, Henry Law and Charles Haddon Spurgeon – but he doesn’t tell us which works or author is associated with each individual prayer.

      Bennett’s desire is that the publication of these prayers will help to introduce people of today to the Puritans and their writings. It is a wonderful resource to read in daily devotions, which is how I use it. Bennett states that the book is not intended to be read as a prayer manual. He writes that the soul learns to pray by praying. Thus, the prayers should be used as aspiration units, with the Puritan’s prayers becoming springboards for our own prayers. A final section of the book has been added for occasions of corporate worship.

      This is a wonderful resource that I cannot recommend too highly to include as a part of your daily worship."

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