Many of us know that reading the Bible and praying is the root of a strong spiritual life. Yet most people I know find reading the Bible easier than praying. There is one book I have returned to more than any other in seeking to make my personal prayer life – where I engage with God for what I need him to do in me – more vital and genuine. That book is The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions edited by Arthur Bennett.
D.A. Carson says, ’The prayers in The Valley of Vision are steeped in Scripture, yet never succumb to mere formula. They are theologically fresh and vibrant, yet they are rooted in confessionalism. They range over a huge sweep of Christian experience and devotion, but they are never merely esoteric or cute. They brim with deep emotion and transparent passion, but they carefully avoid mere sentimentalism. This is a book that teaches readers to pray by example.’
The prayers are so rich that I often pray them over several days as I let them sink in. There are several versions easily available online, including the PDF, along with helpful articles and even a reading guide. Personally, I would recommend the leather-bound version. It feels great, and will last much longer. I’d love to know how you get on with it!
Let me leave you with a tiny taste: “I bless thee for tempering every distress with joy; too much of the former might weigh me down, too much of the latter might puff me up; Thou art wise to give me a taste of both.”
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)