I know that many despise the use of written prayers, and would especially go crazy if we used them in corporate worship. And yet, I have been especially blessed in reading the prayers of others, for example the collection of pastoral prayers by C. H. Spurgeon.
I’ve also been blessed by that wonderful collection of Puritan Prayers which I’ve referenced before: The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett. I use it often for my own private devotional reading, and have on occasion used these prayers as a closing prayer to a sermon (as I’ve done the last two Sunday PMs).
Know I know we can never substitute the word of man in the place of the Word of God. And these sorts of things should never replace Bible reading, or be held to a standard higher than what they are, the cries of sinful men. But still, I think written prayers can and should be a good source to prompt our own prayer and worship.
This morning I read this prayer entitled A Minister’s Confession. And while I’ve read it several times before, even underlined portions, this morning it seems to have really effected me. It amazes me how someone else’s words can so speak the longings in my own heart.
In large part this prayer is from the perspective of the pastor, but I’m sure there are elements here that would apply to all of us as we seek to serve our Lord. And so I just offer this as my prayer today, for myself and for my brother pastors, as well as for each and everyone who seeks His glory in all things.
I know that I often do thy work without thy power, and sin by my dead, heartless, blind service, my lack of inward light, love, delight, my mind, heart, tongue moving without thy help.
I see sin in my heart in seeking the approbation of others; This is my vileness, to make men’s opinion my rule, whereas I should see what good I have done, and give thee glory, consider what sin I have committed and mourn for that.
It is my deceit to preach, and pray, and to stir up others’ spiritual affections in order to beget commendations, whereas my rule should be daily to consider myself more vile than any man in my own eyes.
But thou dost show thy power by my frailty, so that the more feeble I am, the more fit to be used, for thou dost pitch a tent of grace in my weakness.
Help me to rejoice in my infirmities and give thee praise, to acknowledge my deficiencies before others and not be discouraged by them, that they may see thy glory more clearly.
Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural, whereby I can attempt things above my strength, and bear evils beyond my strength, acting for Christ in all, and have his superior power to help me.
Let me learn of Paul whose presence was mean, his weakness great, his utterance contemptible, yet thou didst account him faithful and blessed. Lord, let me lean on thee as he did, and find my ministry thine.
Amen and Amen!
Note: If you don’t have a copy of this book, I strongly encourage you to find one. I’ve gone through two paper backs and finally picked up a leather bound copy! It’s worth your time and money.