This prayer from the Valley of Vision has been wrecking me this entire week. I’ve just been trying to chew through these words one by one… they have revealed so many inconsistencies in my heart and have brought me to my knees to beg for new mercies.
O Thou that hearest prayer,
Teach me to pray,
I confess that in religious exercises
the language of my lips and the feelings of my heart
have not always agreed,
that I have frequently taken carelessly upon my tongue
a name never pronounced above
without reverence and humility,
that I have often desired things which would have injured me,
that I have depreciated some of my chief mercies,
that I have erred both on the side of my hopes
and also my fears,
that I am unfit to choose for myself,
for it is not in me to direct my steps.
Let thy Spirit help my infirmities,
for I know not what to pray for as I ought.
Let him produce in me wise desires by which I may ask right things,
then I shall know thou hearest me.
May I never be importunate for temporal blessings,
but always refer them to thy fatherly goodness,
for thou knowest what I need before I ask;
May I never think I prosper unless my soul prospers,
or I am rich unless rich toward thee,
or that I am wise unless wise unto salvation.
May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness.
May I value things in relation to eternity.
May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude.
May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have thy blessing,
rather than be successful in enterprise
or have more than my heart can wish.
or be admired by my fellow-men,
if thereby these things make me forget thee.
May I regard the world as dreams, lies, vanities, vexation of spirit,
and desire to depart from it.
And may I seek my happiness in thy favour, image, presence, service.
~Desires, The Valley of Vision, p. 106