Lord Jesus, Great High Priest,
You have opened a new and living way by which a fallen creature can approach you with acceptance. Help me to contemplate the dignity of your Person, the perfectness of your sacrifice, the effectiveness of your 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 you in my need and feel peace beyond understanding!
The grace that restores is necessary to preserve, lead, guard, supply, help me. And here your 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 you, the divine Treasury in whom all fullness dwells. To you I repair for grace upon grace, until every void made by sin be replenished and I am filled with all your fullness. May my desires be enlarged and my hopes be emboldened, that I may honor you by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.
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 your grace sufficient for all my needs.
“Grace Active, in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edingburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust), 214-215.
O God of Grace,
You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.
“Continual Repentance,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust), 136-137.
[A wedding prayer as adapted by Dr. Ric Cannada, Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary. Another form of this prayer was published in Decision Magazine sometime before June 1971 and was attributed to Dr. Lewis Evans.]
O God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan, and only with you can we work it out with joy. You have said, “it is not good for a man to live alone. . . . I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now our joys are doubled, since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other; our burdens are halved, since, when we share them, we divide the load.
Bless this husband. Bless him as provider for the needs of those he loves. Sustain him in all his struggles in the contest of life. May his strength be her protection, his character be her joy and assurance. May he so live that she may find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
Bless this loving wife. Give her a tenderness that makes her great . . . a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that he may be pleased always to reverence and adore her.
May they never make the mistake of merely living for each other. Teach them that marriage is not living for each other. It is two uniting and joining hands to serve You, the living God. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the kingdom that is yours, and its righteousness, so that all other things may be added unto them. Loving you best, they shall love each other all the more. And faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will remain.
May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths and beauty, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Give them a little something to forgive each day, that they may grow in the grace of long-suffering and love. And may they be forbearing with each other’s omissions and commissions as You are with theirs. Make such assignments to them according to Your will as will bless them and develop their character as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough success to make them sure they belong to You. May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims: “Out of all this world, you have chosen me!” Then when life is done, and the sun is setting, may they be found, then as now, still hand in hand, still so proud, thanking you so very much for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully, together, until at least one shall lay the other in Your arms. This we ask through Jesus Christ, great lover of souls. Amen.
O my Lord,
May I arrive where means of grace cease and I need no more to fast, pray, weep, watch, be tempted, attend preaching and sacrament; where nothing defiles, where is no grief, sorrow, sin, death, separation, tears, pale face, languid body, aching joints, feeble infancy, decrepit age, peccant humours, pining sickness, griping fears, consuming cares; where is personal completeness; where the more perfect the sight the more beautiful the object, the more perfect the appetite the sweeter the food, the more musical the ear the more pleasant the melody, the more complete the soul the more happy its joys, where is full knowledge of thee.
Here I am an ant, and as I view a nest of ants so do you view me and my fellow-creatures; but as an ant knows not me, my nature, my thoughts, so here I cannot know you clearly. But there I shall be near you, dwell with my family, stand in your presence chamber, be an heir of your kingdom, as the spouse of Christ, as a member of his body, one with him who is with thee, and exercise all my powers of body and soul in the enjoyment of you.
As praise in the mouth of your saints is comely, so teach me to exercise this divine gift, when I pray, read, hear, see, do, in the presence of people and of my enemies, as I hope to praise you eternally hereafter.
“Heaven Desired,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust), 372-373.
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