I have been on a prayer retreat the past couple of days in Monteagle, TN, meditating on John 15:4-5. As I have reflected, meditated and prayed, a Puritan prayer from The Valley of Vision (© Banner of Truth) has been profoundly helpful in its honesty, focus and hope. It is titled “The Minister’s Praise,” and captures the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart as I prepare to head home after one last prayer walk around the grounds of the MSSA. Especially notice the phrase about “the sweet results of faith.” That is the faith of John 15:4-5, wherein I consciously believe, without reservation or hesitation, that Jesus is my sin-bearer and perfect righteousness provider. When I rest in that place, I begin to experience not only assurance of salvation, but also the fruit of sanctification. Indeed, grace changes everything… and all to the praise of God glory!
Here is the prayer:
O GOD, MY EXCEEDING JOY,
Singing thy praises uplifts my heart,
for thou art a fountain of delight,
and dost bless the soul that joys in thee.
But because of my heart’s rebellion
I cannot always praise thee as I ought;
Yet I will at all times rest myself in
thy excellences, goodness, and loving-kindness.
Thou art in Jesus the object of inexpressible joy,
and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought of thee.
But Lord, I am sometimes thy enemy;
my nature revolts and wanders from thee.
Though thou hast renewed me,
yet evil corruptions urge me still to oppose thee.
Help me to extol thee with entire heart-submission,
to be diligent in self-examination,
to ask myself
whether I am truly born again,
whether my spirit is the spirit of thy children,
whether my griefs are those that tear repenting hearts,
whether my joys are the joys of faith,
whether my confidence in Christ works
by love and purifies the soul.
Give me the sweet results of faith,
in my secret character, and in my public life.
Cast cords of love around my heart,
then hold me and never let me go.
May the Saviour’s wounds sway me more
than the sceptre of princes.
Let me love thee in a love that covers and swallows up all,
that I may not violate my chaste union with the beloved;
There is much unconquered territory in my nature,
scourge out the buyers and sellers of my soul’s temple,
and give me in return pure desires,
and longings after perfect holiness.