Openness (Neediness): Valley of Vision Prayer

I provide these prayers most Sundays for those of us who are weak in prayer, and who need help in devotion. Today’s prayer ought to be on our lips and in our hearts moment by moment. It is a full-on plea for the help that only the divine can provide.

Pay close attention to the commands submitted to God: “enable,” “help,” “produce,” and others. These are requests for God to move within us in ways that the natural person usually thinks they themselves can do on their own. How different is the blessedness of the one who knows his limitations and supreme need of grace. Do you know your neediness?

Valley of Vision Prayer

Pray with me…

Lord of immortality, before whom angels bow and archangels veil their faces,

enable me to serve Thee with reverence and godly fear. Thou who art Spirit and requirest truth in the inward parts,

help me to worship Thee in spirit and in truth. Thou who art righteous,

let me not harbour sin in my heart, or indulge a worldly temper, or seek satisfaction in things that perish.

I hasten towards an hour when earthly pursuits and possessions will appear vain, when it will be indifferent whether I have been rich or poor, successful or disappointed, admired or despised. But it will be of eternal moment that I have mourned for sin, hungered and thirsted after righteousness, loved the Lord Jesus in sincerity, gloried in His cross. May these objects engross my chief solicitude!

Produce in me those principles and dispositions that make Thy service perfect freedom.

Expel from my mind all sinful fear and shame, so that with firmness and courage I may confess the Redeemer before men, go forth with Him hearing His reproach, be zealous with His knowledge, be filled with His wisdom, walk with His circumspection, ask counsel of Him in all things, repair to the Scriptures for His orders, stay my mind on His peace, knowing that nothing can befall me without His permission, appointment and administration.

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

Valley of Vision

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Perseverance of the Saints from the Mouth of Jesus

Continuing the theme I’ve picked up in the past week, it only seemed right to speak in more detail of the doctrines of grace, and the ever-comforting doctrine of the Preservation of the Saints.

It seems there are a million sources I could quote to deal with this profound truth, yet the actual words of Jesus Himself trump them all. Please look at what He prays here in John 17, just moments before He was arrested, carried off, and by the next day murdered by the Jewish leaders.

High Priest on our Behalf

This chapter is often labeled as the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus,” and such it is. This is where He goes before the Father on behalf of His people, and prays a prayer of intercession for us. If you cannot see the comfort intended here, that we cannot lose our salvation, then you must begin again in your system of doctrine. This text is a clear seat of doctrine, able to interpret less clear texts.

I will make a few sparse comments here (in blue), but the point is to focus on Jesus’ words. Keep asking questions of the text as you read, especially, “Can His prayers go unanswered?”

17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.

Jesus assumes that there are people “given” to Him by the Father. It is to these people that Jesus gives eternal life.

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Click here to compare this to  John 6:37-40.

Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus is God.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

This High Priestly prayer is an intercession only for those who will be saved. Jesus is praying for HIS PEOPLE, and no one else.

11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your namethe name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

Will the Father not answer this prayer? Will He not keep His people?

12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

Judas was lost because he was not one of the people whom the Father had given Jesus, but everyone else is kept perfectly.

The Disciples in the World

13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Will this prayer fail? God forbid.

25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17 NASB).

Jesus’ prayers will not fail. He ever lives to make intercession for His people. Perhaps among the very clearest teachings in the Bible, the Calvinistic doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is the greatest comfort I have ever known.

It drives me homeward in joy.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Spiritual Helps: Valley of Vision Prayer

I provide these prayers most Sundays for those of us who are weak in prayer, and who need help in devotion. Today’s prayer is an example of the beating heart of Christian faith. It is a recognition of our neediness for God’s kind mercies, and a confidence that He will grant to us what we need.

Peaceful Valley

Pray this with me.

Eternal Father, it is amazing love, that Thou hast sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead, that Thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide, that Thou hast allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round; all heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm.

Permit Thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf, and to rejoice when grace expands in me. Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over, and I stand victorious on salvation’s shore.

Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good, resistance to Thy Spirit’s motions, may never provoke Thee to abandon me.

May my hard heart awake Thy pity, not Thy wrath, And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption, let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell, that those for me are greater than those against me.

Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings, keep me feeding in the pastures of Thy strengthening Word, searching Scripture to find Thee there.

If my waywardness is visited with a scourge, enable me to receive correction meekly, to bless the reproving hand, to discern the motive of rebuke, to respond promptly, and do the first work.

Let all Thy fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Thy holiness. Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees, and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion.

May my every cross be sanctified, every loss be gain, every denial a spiritual advantage, every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit, every night of trial a song.

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

Valley of Vision

 

Grace Active: Valley of Vision Prayer

Sometimes I have trouble praying as I ought – but often I turn to the Valley of Vision for help in getting my engine started. One of Christianity’s greatest books from the past 2,000 years, VoV would be my second book choice if stranded on a desert island, right after the Bible, and right before The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. Oh, those Puritans.

Pretty ValleyI provide these prayers most Sundays for those of us who are weak in prayer, and who need help in devotion. Today’s prayer is a simple, childlike request for more grace for all the tricky parts of the Christian life. Please pray this with me.

Lord Jesus, great high priest, Thou hast opened a new and living way by which a fallen creature can approach Thee with acceptance.

Help me to contemplate the dignity of Thy Person, the perfectness of Thy sacrifice, the effectiveness of Thy intercession.

O what blessedness accompanies devotion, when under all the trials that weary me, the cares that corrode me, the fears that disturb me, the infirmities that oppress me, I can come to Thee in my need and feel peace beyond understanding!

The grace that restores is necessary to preserve, lead, guard, supply, help me.  And here Thy saints encourage my hope; they were once poor and are now rich, bound and are now free, tried and now are victorious.

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess, but not more than is found in Thee, the divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells.  To Thee I repair for grace upon grace, until every void made by sin be replenished and I am filled with all Thy fullness.

May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened, that I may honour Thee by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.

Do Thou be with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all. May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

Amen.

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

Spurgeon Quotation on Sanctification in Psalm 119

SpurgeonFrom Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Treasury of David (his commentaries on the Psalms). Here we meditate upon the relationship between the Christian and his sinful flesh.

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to obey the Lord even though you have a new mind, a new heart filled with the Holy Spirit? We need to pray for the very thing we might think is automatically going to happen for us when we are born again. Let’s see what Spurgeon wrote on Psalm 119:36:

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies…”

Does not this prayer appear to be superfluous, since it is evident that the Psalmist’s heart was set upon obedience? We are sure that there is never a word to spare in Scripture. After asking for active virtue it was meet that the man of God should beg that his heart might be in all that he did. What would his goings be if his heart did not go? It may be that David felt a wandering desire, an inordinate leaning of his soul to worldly gain, — possibly it even intruded into his most devout meditations, and at once he cried out for more grace.

The only way to cure a wrong leaning is to have the soul bent in the opposite direction. Holiness of heart is the cure for covetousness. What a blessing it is that we may ask the Lord even for an inclination. Our wills are free, and yet without violating their liberty, grace can incline us in the right direction. This can be done by enlightening the understanding as to the excellence of obedience, by strengthening our habits of virtue, by giving us an experience of the sweetness of piety, and by many other ways.

If any one duty is irksome to us it behooves us to offer this player with special reference thereto: we are to love all the Lord’s testimonies, and if we fail in any one point we must pay double attention to it. The learning of the heart is the way in which the life will lean: hence the force of the petition, “Incline my heart.” Happy shall we be when we feel habitually inclined to all that is good. This is not the way in which a carnal heart ever leans; all its inclinations are in opposition to the divine testimonies.

And not to covetousness.”

This is the inclination of nature, and grace must put a negative upon it.

This vice is as injurious as it is common; it is as mean as it is miserable.

It is idolatry, and so it dethrones God;

it is selfishness, and so it is cruel to all in its power;

it is sordid greed, and so it would sell the Lord himself for pieces of silver.

It is a degrading, grovelling, hardening, deadening sin, which withers everything around it that is lovely and Christlike.

He who is covetous is of the race of Judas, and will in all probability turn out to be himself a son of perdition. The crime of covetousness is common, but very few will confess it; for when a man heaps up gold in his heart, the dust of it blows into his eyes, and he cannot see his own fault.

Our hearts must have some object of desire, and the only way to keep out worldly gain is to put in its place the testimonies of the Lord. If we are inclined or bent one way, we shall be turned from the other: the negative virtue is most surely attained by making sure of the positive grace which inevitably produces it.

Maybe something here will help you be motivated in prayer and holiness. I need these meditations far more often than I make them.

Grace in Christ,

-Justin

Resting on God: Valley of Vision Prayer

Sometimes I have trouble praying as I ought – but often I turn to the Valley of Vision for help in getting my engine started. One of Christianity’s greatest books from the past 2,000 years, VoV would be my second book choice if stranded on a desert island, right after the Bible, and right before The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. Oh, those Puritans.

Valley

I provide these prayers most Sundays for those of us who are weak in prayer, and who need help in devotion. This prayer is a focus on growing in dependence on God, trusting in Him in all things, and recognizing His greatness over us as King and as Father. Enjoy.

O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Thine infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art for ever at perfect peace.

Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills.

Thy power knows no bond, Thy goodness no stint.

Thou bringest order out of confusion, and my defeats are Thy victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to Thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to Thee, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls.

Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit.

Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget Thee. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to Thee, that all else is trifling.

Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy. Abide in me, gracious God.

Amen.

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin

The Deeps: Valley of Vision Prayer

Sometimes I have trouble praying as I ought – but often I turn to the Valley of Vision for help in getting my engine started. One of Christianity’s greatest books from the past 2,000 years, VoV would be my second book choice if stranded on a desert island, right after the Bible, and right before The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock. Oh, those Puritans.

Down In The Valley

This might be a good prayer for you if you find yourself weak in zeal for Christ, weak in prayer, weak in devotion. It might be a good idea to buy Valley of Vision and keep it close to you for the times you don’t know how to pray. Yes, the Psalms are better, but right after them comes VoV. Just beautiful help for the Christian, here.

Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Valley of Vision

Thanks for praying with me,

-Justin