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praying alignment with God

Lord,

Let me lament for forgetting daily to come to you,

and cleanse me from the deceit of bringing my heart to a duty because the act pleased me or appealed to reason.

Grant that I may be salted with suffering with every enactment tempered to my soul,

every Rod excellently fitted to my back,

to chastise, humble, break me.

Let me not overlook the hand that holds the rod,

as you did not let me forget the rod that fell on Christ

and drew me to him.

 

May it be Lord. amen.

 (adapted from Valley of Vision, Christian Calling)

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1 Peter 4

12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”a

19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4

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The Great Terrorist

"May I be daily more and more conformed to thee, with the meekness and calmness of the Lamb in my soul, and a feeling sense of the felicity of heaven, where I long to join angels free from imperfections, where in the image of my adored Saviour will be completely restored, so that I may be fit for his enjoyments and employments.I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face, for I know I shall be drawn, not driven, out of the world." - excerpt from a Puritan prayer from 'The Valley of Vision'

Early America was filled with many well educated and literate devout followers of Christ. Prayers and speech like this are full of solid theological  meaning and depth that we just do not hear today. We today are some of the shallowest people our nation has ever produced due to the techno-media sound bite attention span most of us have, we rarely plumb into the depths of God's word and truths and apply them so eloquently to our own words and lives.  When I read these Puritan prayers, I am challenged to think and ponder God's Word and his blessed truths as they apply to myself. Thank the Lord for many writings from these godly people of early America and beyond. We all would do well to read more of our Christian ancestors and their deep faith and knowledge of God. They offer us much wisdom and inspiration.  Who today speaks like this? Who talks about the "felicity"  (intense happiness) of heaven? Who refers to our God as the "king of terrors", because truly He is for all the unrepentant! Look how the prophet Isaiah responded to the King of glory when he saw his vision:

Each creature was calling to the others: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord All-Powerful. His glory fills the whole earth.” Their calling caused the frame around the door to shake, as the Temple filled with smoke. I said, “Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure, but I have seen the King, the Lord All-Powerful.”-Isaiah 6:3-5 NCV

And this same God who came and befriended us, saved us from his own terrible wrath to come for our own sins, will return as the greatest terrorist of all time bringing fear to the vast majority of sinners in the world! Look how John's Revelation pictures him!

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The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.- Revelation 1:14-18 ESV

But for us redeemed by his merciful hand, we know him as the shepherd of our souls. Truly he is the meek and mild Shepherd who is the defender of our lives.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. -John 10:14,15

Our Holy Holy Holy God, has given us who trust in him a  confidence and peace beyond words, because apart from that, we should all tremble..tremble....tremble.... If still lost in our own righteousness (or should I say our lack thereof) The standard is God's holiness. How will you measure up?

  In Christ you are pure and perfect... ...if you don't know him, you are not going to fare well. Terror is the best description.

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Resting deeply.

Could you sleep through a violent thunderstorm pounding your home? I do many times, but I know many who cannot. How about if we add a mega earthquake to that storm?  Could you sleep through that?Okay..you know someone who could maybe? Well then let's move their comfy bed outside and then let the torrent of rain fall down on them and add that storm and earthquake to them. How about then? Could they sleep though that?!   I bet not!    You'd have to either be literally unconscious, crazy, dead, or so full of assurance of your life being in Gods hands, that you would be comfy taking a "rocking-n-rolling-shower-in-bed-while-you-slept" nap!!

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I love the story in Matthews Gospel about Jesus sleeping in the storm. Just think about this. The twelve disciples on a relatively tiny fishing boat in a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee fighting for their lives to stay afloat while water is violently thrashing around their boat splashing in and all over everyone! There is no "below deck" sleeping quarters here...just think like a large canoe! And yet Jesus is quietly taking a peaceful catnap with water splashing all over him... and the thunderstorms seemingly about to sink their vessel far away from land! Think loud, rough and wet!

Read this Matthew 8:23-27 with me...

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

He was asleep! They had to go and wake him! I mean there is so many things to take away from this account and his miracle of commanding the storm and the sea to be calm is what most of us focus on because of its miraculous nature, but don't overlook this important part of the story!

Jesus was sleeping! Really! How can that be? Think about how you cannot sleep when even tiny things worry you and keep your mind churning... Just imaging what is going through Jesus's head to sleep through such an event. Nothing! Absolutely nothing but a dream about riding a cart pulled by 12 little lambs.. Haha. Who knows what he was dreaming, but I can tell you this. It was no nightmare! He had total confidence that the Fathers will must be done... and his heart was so in tune with God's so as to rest totally in God's divine power and sovereignty!  (He and the Father are one in essence and the Spirit kept him humanly aware) So he did not worry that they would perish on that lake because he knew this... God's will was not for them to drown at sea     but to spill his blood for you and me.. on the cursed tree!

Are we willing to let go of life control so much as to drop of all your worries, and truly trust in God? Oh how I pray for this kind of Holy Spirit power. Not so much to command the seas and the winds, but to rest my soul even in the storms that blow through my own mind and life! We all have various storms, but will we rest in Christ through faith?

Come unto me all you who are tired and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. -Jesus (Matt 11:28)

He is the Master of REST! 

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Humility, a prayer

God.You do not play in convincing me of sin, Satan did not play in tempting me to it, I do not play when I sink in deep mire,   for sin is no game, no toy, no bauble; Let me never forget the heinousness of sin lies   not so much in the nature of sin committed, as in the greatness of You, the One sinned against. When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me,   By showing me that in myself I am a dying condemned wretch,   but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive, and satisfied; that I am feeble and unable to do any good, But that in him, I can do all things and for your glory!  Thank you Father God. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Inspired by "'Humiliation' The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers"

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O God my exceeding joy!

Singing your praises uplifts my heart, for you are a fountain of delight, and do bless the soul that joys in you.image

But because of my hearts rebellion, I cannot always praise you as I should; yet I will at all times rest myself in your excellencies, your goodness, and loving-kindness.

In Jesus, you are the object of inexpressible joy, and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought of you.

But Lord, I am sometimes as though your enemy; my nature revolts and wanders from you.

Help me to extol you with my entire heart-submission, to be diligent in self-examination, to ask myself whether I live as one born-again, whether my spirit is as that of your child, whether my griefs are those that bring repenting hearts, whether my joys are the joys of faith, whether my confidence in Christ works in 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 Saviors wounds sway me more than the scepter of princes.

Let me love you in a love that covers and swallows up all, that I may not violate the pure union with all of your beloved!

There is much unconquered territory in my nature, so scourge out the buyers and sellers of my souls temple, and give me in return pure desires and longings after perfect holiness with you my dear Lord. 

This is my prayer, my Father;  My God, my Savior!

Amen.

My prayer today adapted from "A ministers praises, Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers "

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Man a Nothing

O Lord, 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 who has nothing and is nothing, Although chosen by you from eternity! Given to Christ and born again!

I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of my sinful state, Of the vanity of creatures, But also of the sufficiency of Christ. When you would try to guide me, I control myself. When you would be sovereign, I rule myself. When you would take care of me, I do it myself. When I should depend on your provisions, I supply myself. When I should submit on your providence, I follow my will. When I should study, live, honor, trust you, I serve myself. I fault and correct your laws to suit myself. Instead of you, I look to man's approbation, his approval. I am by nature an idolater!

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to you! Convince me that I cannot be my own God! Or make myself happy, Nor be my own Christ to restore my joy; Nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, and rule me.

Help me to see that grace does this by the will of your afflictions, For when my credit is good, you cast me lower, When riches are my idol, you make them grow wings, When pleasure is my all, you do turn it into bitterness. You are the good God who does what it takes to transform my corrupted heart! Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart; Show me Jesus that none of these things can heal a wounded conscience, Or support this tottering frame, or uphold a departing spirit. Then O God, I implore you, take me to the cross, And leave me there! Yes...leave me there where your blood flows down and washes me clean..... This I pray. 

Amen

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My prayer for today, adapted and inspired by 'Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers"

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Conflict- a prayer

O Lord God,You are my protecting arm,    fortress, refuge, shield, my buckler. Fight for me and my foes must flee; Uphold me and I cannot fall; Strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmovable; Equip me and I shall receive no wound; Stand  by me and Satan will depart; Anoint my lips with a song of Salvation     and I shall shout your victory. Give me abhorrence of all evil,     as a vile monster that defies your law, that casts off your yoke, defiles my nature, and spreads misery. Teach me to look to Jesus on his cross     and so to know sin's loathsomeness in your sight. There is no pardon but through your Son's death,     no cleansing but in his precious blood,     no atonement but his to pay for evil. Show me the shame, the agony, the bruises of incarnate God,     that I may read boundless guilt in the boundless price. May I discern the viper in its real malignity,    tear at it with holy indignation from my chest,     resolutely turn from its every snare,     refuse to hold polluting alliance with it. Blessed Lord Jesus, at your cross     may I be taught the awful miseries from which I am saved,     ponder what the word "lost" really  implies,     see the fires of eternal destruction; Then may I cling more closely to your body broken for me,     adhere to you with firmer faith,     be devoted to you with my total being,     detest sin as strongly as your love for me is strong, And may holiness be the atmosphere in  which I live,     to know you deeper Father,     to breathe in the life of you O Holy Spirit,     and to live all my days of eternity for your pleasure dear Jesus, All to you my God I live.     Amen.

Inspired and adapted from 'Conflict', Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.

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New Beginning

Incomprehensible, Great and Glorious God,I adore you and lower myself. I approach you mindful that I am less than nothing, a creature worse than nothing.

My thoughts are not screened from your gaze. My secret sins blaze in the light of your countenance.

Enable me to remember the blood of Christ that cleanses all sin,     To believe in the grace that subdues all iniquities,      To resign myself to that agency which can deliver me from the bondage of corruption       into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!

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You O God have begun a good work in me,     And can alone continue and complete it. Give me an increasing conviction of my tendency to err, and of my exposure to sin.

Help me feel more of the purifying, softening influence of pure religion,    Its compassion, love, pity, courtesy,        And employ me as your instrument in blessing others. This I know is my purpose here on earth.

Give me to distinguish    Between the mere form of godliness and its power,     Between living and the source of life in Jesus,      Between deception and truth,      Between hypocrisy and pure religion that pleases your eye.

If I am not right, set me right; And may I always come into your presence in peace and the joy of knowing you,      my Lord.

Amen.

Adapted from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. 'New Beginning'

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Kept by God

Yahweh, Almighty God,You are the  Creator, Upholder, Owner of all things, I cannot escape your presence or control,    nor do I desire to do so. My privilege is to be under the rule of omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy, grace. You are love with more than parental affection; I adore your heart,    admire your wisdom,    stand in awe if your power,    lower myself before your purity. It is the discover of your goodness alone that can    banish my fear,    allure me into your presence,    help me to cry over and confess my sins. When I review my past guilt     and am conscience of my present unworthiness, I tremble to come to you, I whose foundation is dust, I who have condemned your goodness,     defied your power,     trampled upon your love,     rendered myself worthy of eternal death.

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But my recovery cannot spring from any cause in me, I can destroy but cannot save myself. Yet you, O God, have laid help on One that is mighty,    for there is mercy with you,    and exceeding riches in your kindness through Jesus, your Son. May I always feel my need of him. Let your restored joy be my strength; May it      keep me from lusting after the world,      bear up my heart and mind in loss of comforts,      make me alive in the valley of death,      work in me the image of the heavenly,      and give me to enjoy the first fruits of your Spirit,          such as angels and departed saints know so well. May I dwell in your house forever my God. Amen.

My adaptation of 'Kept By God', The Valley Of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.   May you be blessed as you humbly come before the majesty of King Jesus. He is the source of living water to all who thirst after God. 'Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.' - Matthew 23:12 ESV

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A Pure Prayer

Today I make this Puritan prayer my prayer. As many of our devoted Christ followers of years gone by have written, mused and meditated on God and his Word and sought to walk by faith in the founding years of our nation, so too we can learn from them and return to pur spiritual heritage that so many have blindly forgot. This prayer is one from the book called "The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers", entitled True Religion. LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, I ask not to be enrolled amongst the earthly great and rich, but to be numbered with the spiritually blessed.

Make it my present, supreme, persevering concern to obtain those blessings which are spiritual in their nature, eternal in their continuance, satisfying in their possession.

Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or a part of my character; May I pay regard to my principles as well as my conduct, my motives as well as my actions.

Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions for the renewing of the Holy Spirit, never to judge my religion by occasional impressions and impulses, but by my constant and prevailing disposition.

May my heart be right with thee, and my life as becometh the gospel. May I maintain a supreme regard to another and better world, and feel and confess myself a stranger and a pilgrim here.

Afford me all the direction, defence, support, and consolation my journey hence requires, and grant me a mind stayed upon thee.

Give me large abundance of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus, that I may be prepared for every duty, love thee in all my mercies, submit to thee in every trial, trust thee when walking in darkness, have peace in thee amidst life's changes.

Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief and uncertainties.

Amen.  May it be so in my life this day. May all who read this also come before the throne of God in likewise heart and passion.

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Consistent in faith and obedience - a prayer

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Lord God Almighty, I ask not to be enrolled among the earthly great and rich,    but to be numbered with the spiritually blessed. Make it my present, supreme, preserving concern    to obtain those blessing which are    spiritual in nature,    eternal in their continuance,    satisfying in their possession.  Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or part of my character; May I pay attention to my principles as well as my conduct,    my motives as well as my actions. Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions    for the renewing of your Holy Spirit,    never to judge my faith by occasional impressions and impulses,    But by my constant and prevailing disposition.

May my heart be right with you,    and my life be about the Gospel. May I maintain a supreme regard heavenward, our better world,    and feel and confess myself a stranger and a pilgrim here. Afford me all the direction, defense, support, and consolation my journey now requires,    and grant me a mind focused upon you. Give me a large abundance and supply of the Spirit of Jesus,    That I might be prepared for every duty,    Love you in all my mercies,    Submit to you in every trial,    Trust you when walking in darkness,    Have peace in you amidst life's changes. Lord, I believe. Help me through my weaknesses of my unbelief and uncertainties.

My life is yours dear Jesus, to you O God, I give my heart's trust. May I live for you this day. Amen.

( My personal adaptation of 'True Religion' from 'The Valley of Vision, A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.')

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