Monday, January 10, 2011

The Books #22 - The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett

It was not long into getting serious with the Lord that I was introduced to a short collection of puritan prayers by Arthur Bennett called The Valley of Vision. From the time that I was introduced to these prayers, my prayer life has been challenged.

The first thing I would say about this book is that nobody prays like this anymore. That is a good and bad thing. It is a good thing, because I feel that our prayers should come out of a genuine heart, and I do not really think that anyone really thinks in old English these days. But I also think it is a bad thing, because my prayers are so shallow compared to these. I often find myself praying about my own comforts and trivial aspects of life. But these prayers flow out of hearts that obviously had a depth that someday I hope to find.

I have used these prayers in my quiet times with the Lord often. I will pray them to the Lord (often times trying to put them into my language). They have sharpened and focused how and what I pray. If you have never read these, they are worth the cost of the book. Pick it up and be changed and challenged forever. I leave you with one prayer, the first one in the book. It has always been my favorite. Enjoy!

Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,
     where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
     hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
     that the way down is the way up,
     that to be low is to be high,
     that the broken heart is the healed heart,
     that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
     that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
     that to have nothing is to possess all,
     that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
     that to give is to receive,
     that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
     and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find they light in my darkness,
          thy life in my death,
          thy joy in my sorrow,
          thy grace in my sin,
          thy riches in my poverty,
          thy glory in my valley.

The Winner of the Giveaway! Congratulations to Mike B. You have won the copy of Humility by C. J. Mahaney. Please send me your contact information HERE to collect your prize.

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