The Puritans were a fascinating group of Christians. Persecuted in England by the established church because of their fervent desire to discard pompous liturgy, and to “get back to to the Bible” in worship and practice, they eventually migrated to the New World across the Atlantic. In this new land called America they were free to practice their brand of Christianity without fear of persecution and death. They were some of the first settlers of what was to eventually become the United States of America.
We used to learn of the Puritans in school, but the anti-Bible groups have purged our history books of these determined and pious people. It is to our detriment that we have lost sight of these Christians. They were a hearty people in a harsh and hostile new land, but it was in this environment that they learned to trust in the Almighty Giver. Their stories and their prayers give us deep insight into their character and their love and devotion to God and Christ. These prayers are recorded for us in a marvelous book called The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett (Versa Press, 1975). I would like to share with you below the first Puritan prayer of the book, and the one that gave the book its name.
LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.
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