Crucifixion & Resurrection — A Puritan Prayer

More for  your preparation for this coming Sunday’s worship.  I shared this prayer (slightly modified) as the pastoral prayer this past Sunday at Grace Baptist.  It speaks the truth about what we should be seeking as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s atonement and resurrection:

Oh LORD,

We marvel that You should become incarnate,
be crucified, dead and buried.
The sepulcher calls forth our adoring wonder,
for it is empty and You are risen;
the Gospel attests it,
the living witnesses prove it,
our hearts’ experience know it.
Give us the grace to die with You that we may rise to new life,
for we wish to be as dead and buried
to sin, to selfishness, to the world;
that we might not hear the voice of the deceiver
and might be delivered from his lusts.
O LORD, there is much sin about us – crucify it,
much flesh within us – mortify it.
Purge us from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of man’s approval,
the shame of being thought old-fashioned,
the desire to be cultured or modern.
Let us reckon our old life dead because of crucifixion,
and never feed it as a living thing.
Grant us to stand with our dying Savior,
to be content to be rejected,
to be willing to take up unpopular truths,
and to hold fast despised teachings until death.
Help us to be resolute and Christ-contained,
Never let us wander from the path of obedience to Your will.
Strengthen us for the battles ahead.
Give us courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys.
Help us to be a holy, happy people,
free from every wrong desire,
from everything contrary to Your mind.
Grant us more and more of the resurrection life:
may it rule us,
may we walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence.

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The Grace of the Cross — Puritan Prayer

O my Savior, I thank You from the depths of my being
for Your wondrous grace and love
in bearing my sin in Your own body on the tree.

May Your cross be to me
as the tree that sweetens my bitter Marahs,
as the rod that blossoms with life and beauty,
as the brazen serpent that calls forth the look of faith.

By Your cross crucify my every sin;

Use it to increase my intimacy with Yourself;

Make it the ground of all my comfort,
the liveliness of all my duties,
the sum of all Your gospel promises,
the comfort of all my afflictions,
the vigor of my love, thankfulness, graces,
the very essence of my religion;

And by it give me that rest without rest,
the rest of ceaseless praise.

O my Lord and Savior,

You have also appointed a cross for me to take up and carry,
a cross before You give me a crown.

You have appointed it to be my portion,
but self-love hates it,
carnal reason is unreconciled to it;
without the grace of patience I cannot bear it,
walk with it, profit by it.

O blessed cross, what mercies do you bring with you!

You are only esteemed hateful by my rebel will,
heavy because I shirk your load.

Teach me, gracious Lord and Savior,
that with my cross You send promised grace
so that I may bear it patiently,
that my cross is Your yoke which is easy,
and Your burden which is light.

An Old Confession of Faith — Lancelot Andrewes 1555-1626

Lancelot AndrewesLast week a friend of mine, Karl Minor, mentioned a volume from someone in the late 1500s, which he said had the richness of the Puritan prayers of The Valley of Vision.  I did a little research and ordered a copy of Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions, by Alexander Whyte.

To this point I have only done a cursory overview of the book, but I did find the following very refreshing and clear.  It is Andrewes’ own Confession of Faith.  I believe it is a worthy read and meditation, and so I commend it to you.  I maintained the language as it was published.  A few words may not be immediately obvious in their meaning, but it is worthwhile to look them up.

4. CONFESSION OF FAITH.

I believe, O Lord, in Thee,
Father, Word, Spirit, One God;
that by Thy fatherly love and power
all things were created;
that by Thy goodness and love to man
all things have been gathered together into one
in Thy Word,
Who, for us men and for our salvation,
became flesh, was conceived, was born,
suffered, was crucified,
died, was buried,
descended, rose again,
ascended, sat down,
will return, will repay;
that by the forth-shining and operation
of Thy Holy Spirit
hath been called out of the whole world
a peculiar people, into a commonwealth
of faith in the truth
and holiness of life,
in which we are partakers
of the communion of saints
and forgiveness of sins in this world,
and in which we look for
the resurrection of the flesh
and the life everlasting
in the world to come.

This most holy faith once delivered to the saints
I believe, O Lord;
help Thou mine unbelief,
increase Thou my little faith.
And vouchsafe* to me
to love the Father for His love,
to reverence the Almighty for His power,
to Him, as unto a faithful Creator, to commit my soul in well doing.
Vouchsafe to me to partake
from Jesus of salvation,
from Christ of anointing,
from the only begotten Son of adoption;
to serve the Lord
for His conception, in faith,
for His birth, in humility,
for His sufferings, in patience and in impatience of sin;
for His cross, to crucify occasions of sin,
for His death, to mortify the flesh,
for His burial, to bury evil thoughts in good works,
for His descent, to meditate upon hell,
for His resurrection, upon newness of life,
for His ascension, to set my mind on things above,
for His sitting on high, to set my mind on the
better things on His right hand,
for His return, to fear His second appearing,
for His judgment, to judge myself ere I be judged.
From the Spirit
vouchsafe to met o receive the breath of saving grace,
in the holy catholic (universal) Church
to have my own calling, sanctification, and portion,
and fellowship of her holy things,
prayers, fastings, groanings,
watchings, tears, sufferings,
for assurance of the remission of sins,
for hope of resurrection and translation
to eternal life.

*”vouchsafe”to grant or furnish often in a gracious manner

I am looking forward to further reading in this very old, but rich book.

A Favorite Prayer

AugustineI love reading prayers written by great saints of years gone by.  This is one of my favorites by St. Augustine.  May we learn to pray it and trust it to be so in our lives:

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised;

great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite.

We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You.

You awaken us to delight in Your praise;

for You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

What are You then, my God?

Most high, most good, most omnipotent;

most merciful, yet most just;

most hidden, yet most present;

most beautiful, yet most strong;

stable, yet incomprehensible;

unchangeable, yet all-changing;

ever old, ever new;

supporting, filling, and overspreading;

creating, flourishing, and maturing;

seeking, yet having all things.

You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.

A Simple Way to Pray

Does the name Peter Beskendorf ring a bell?  Probably not!  He lived about 500 years ago and wasn’t a theologian or scholar.  In fact his line of work was that of a barber . . . he was known around town as Peter the Master Barber.  (For you younger readers, think hairstylist).   But he did have a rather famous customer that you might recognize — Martin Luther.  Can you imagine having the great reformer sitting in your chair while you cut his hair?  Surely there was some pretty significant conversation that took place during those sessions.

a-simple-way-to-pray2-lutherAnyway, it appears that on one occassion, Peter the Barber asked Dr. Luther if he could instruct him in a simple way to pray that an ordinary barber could use.  In response to that Martin Luther wrote a small booklet and gave it to Peter.  In it he gave warm pastoral counsel to Peter on prayer . . . using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostles’ Creed.

I highly commend Luther’s little work if you are looking for something “simple” and yet profound to guide you in your prayer life.  You can find text editons on the internet or you can purchase a copy in book form at Amazon.  Or Archie Parrish has an edition with an essay on the life of Luther that you can get from Ligonier Ministries.  I have read many books on prayer over the years, but none has had any bigger impact on me than has Luther’s A Simple Way to Pray.