The Prayer of Hope

“A person with hope does not get tangled up with concerns for how his wishes will be fulfilled. So, too, his prayer is not directed toward the gift, but toward the one who gives it. His prayer might still contain just as many desires, but ultimately it is not a question of having a wish come true but of expressing an unlimited faith is the giver of all good things….For the prayer of hope it is essential that there are no guarantees asked, no conditions posed, and no proofs demanded, only that you expect everything from the other without binding him. Hope is based on the premise that the other gives only what is good. Hope includes an openness by which you wait for the other to make his loving promise come true, even though you never know when, where or how this might happen.” (Henri Nouwen)

 

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come…

Here are some wonderful lyrics from Isaac Watts (1674-1748), for days like today:

“Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her form, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same. O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be thou our guard while life shall last, And our eternal home.”

My spiritual longings are of they planting…

This morning I read and prayed a prayer from The Valley of Vision, called Earth & Heaven. The middle section struct me so powerfully:

 

My spiritual longings are of thy planting,

and thou wilt water and increase them;

Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above.

Here I can have the world,

there I shall have thee in Christ;

Here is a life of longings and prayer,

there is assurance without suspicion,

asking without refusal;

Here are gross comforts, more burden than benefit,

there joy without sorrow, comfort without suffering,

love without inconstancy,

rest without weariness.

Give me to know that heaven is all love,

where the eye affects the heart,

and continual viewing of thy beauty

keeps the soul in continual transports of delight.

 

 

I ask great things…

Today, as I return from a two week break, I read the following prayer as part of my morning devotions. What a great way to start a new term:

O Lord of the oceans,

my little bark sails on a restless sea,

Grant that Jesus may sit at the helm and steer me safely;

Suffer no adverse currents to divert my heavenward course;

Let not my faith be wrecked amid storms and shoals;

Bring me to harbour with flying pennants,

hull unbreached, cargo unspoiled.

I ask great things,

expect great things,

shall receive great things.

I venture on thee wholly, fully, my wind, sunshine, anchor, defence.

From The Valley of Vision

Pilgrims

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; – Phil 3:20

 

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. – 1 Peter 2:11

 

Today as opened my increasingly dogeared copy of ‘The Valley of Vision’, I read these prayerful words:

Lord of the cloud and fire,

I am a stranger, with a stranger’s indifference;

My hands hold a pilgrim’s staff,

My march is Zionward,

My eyes are toward the coming of the Lord,

My heart is in thy hands without reserve.

Thou has created it, redeemed it, renewed it, captured it, conquered it.

Keep from it every opposing foe,

crush in it ever rebel lust,

mortify every treacherous passion,

annihilate every earthborn desire.

All faculties of my being vibrate to thy touch;

I love thee with soul, mind, body, strength, might, spirit, affection, will, desire, intellect, understanding.

 

 

Be thou my light

The following is a wonderful prayer from The Valley of Vision. It reminds me of my daily need of Jesus (and only him).

 

Lord Jesus,

I am blind, be thou my light, ignorant, be thou my wisdom, self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly they Spirit’s voice, and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;

Melt my conscience that no hardness remain, make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;

When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds, and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into the green pastures of thy Word, and cause me to lie down beside the river of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

 

A prayer for change

In these opening words from a prayer found in The Valley of Vision, we read the heart longings of someone who recognises his need for constant change:

“Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until thou alone art seen in me,
thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
they fruitfulness as autumn plenty
-The valley of vision