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The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

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The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written praye The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to 'supply' prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.


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The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written praye The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to 'supply' prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.

30 review for The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Neal

    Quite possibly the best book I've read all year. These prayers are amazing. In Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner talks about the benefit of a formal prayer book. She notes that her free-form prayers often devolve into narcissism (this has definitely been my experience), but that the formal, written prayers refocus her on God. This book is a great example of the benefit of written prayers. My own free-form prayers often send me down a rabbit hole of my own personal worries and burdens--worries and Quite possibly the best book I've read all year. These prayers are amazing. In Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner talks about the benefit of a formal prayer book. She notes that her free-form prayers often devolve into narcissism (this has definitely been my experience), but that the formal, written prayers refocus her on God. This book is a great example of the benefit of written prayers. My own free-form prayers often send me down a rabbit hole of my own personal worries and burdens--worries and burdens that I am right to share with God. But I think every one of the prayers in this book contains the Gospel, and when I read them, I am preaching the Gospel to myself. Instead of bringing my problems to God for Him to change, I find my focus shifting to my own sin, God's grace, Christ's sacrifice, and my own undeserved salvation. Also, written prayers like these are very helpful if you are struggling with prayer. I certainly found it so. The words are true and they say true things about God and Christ and the Gospel. So when I cannot find the words or the heart to pray on my own, I can pray these written prayers. Not that I try to pray them without meaning them. I very much intend to mean them. And even if I do start out not really meaning the prayer, I usually do end up meaning it somewhere along the way. It is surprising how much such prayers can transform the human heart.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

    This incredible volume is so theologically dense that it will take a lifetime of readings to fathom its depths. This is a book of prayers written by anonymous Puritans from centuries ago. But, boy, do these good folk know how to pray. The prayers are short (2 pages apiece in my edition) and one could easily read the entire book in a few days, but there is so much to ponder and meditate on that I limited myself to no more than 6 pages per reading session. This is a book that I will be coming back This incredible volume is so theologically dense that it will take a lifetime of readings to fathom its depths. This is a book of prayers written by anonymous Puritans from centuries ago. But, boy, do these good folk know how to pray. The prayers are short (2 pages apiece in my edition) and one could easily read the entire book in a few days, but there is so much to ponder and meditate on that I limited myself to no more than 6 pages per reading session. This is a book that I will be coming back to time and time again to be refreshed, convicted, schooled and made joyful by these bygone words from precious saints.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book is a collection of excerpts from different Puritan writers arranged as prayers and organized by category. I have been reading a prayer a day with my devotions and have found it helpful to make their prayers my own. I only wish I knew which Puritans wrote them as the book doesn't tell you. Here are some of my favorite prayers: May my words and works allure others to the highest walks of faith and love. Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things ete This book is a collection of excerpts from different Puritan writers arranged as prayers and organized by category. I have been reading a prayer a day with my devotions and have found it helpful to make their prayers my own. I only wish I knew which Puritans wrote them as the book doesn't tell you. Here are some of my favorite prayers: May my words and works allure others to the highest walks of faith and love. Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things eternal. Make thy cross the ground of all my comfort, the liveliness of all my duties, the sum of all thy gospel promises, the comfort of all my afflictions, the vigor of my love, thankfulness, graces, the very essence of my religion. May I always know that a clean heart full of goodness is more beautiful than the lily, that only a clean heart can sing by night and by day, that such a heart is mine when I abide at Calvary. I think this book could enrich your prayer life!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    The Valley of Vision is an edited collection of prayers written by Puritan authors from the 17th to 19th centuries (e.g. Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, David Brainerd, C.H. Spurgeon). This book has been a rich source of encouragement and food for my soul as I've read a prayer each day over the last 2 or 3 years. (How can there possibly be 400 pages & 200 prayers in a such a little book?! I should have bought the paperback, the thin paper in the leather bound edition I h The Valley of Vision is an edited collection of prayers written by Puritan authors from the 17th to 19th centuries (e.g. Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, David Brainerd, C.H. Spurgeon). This book has been a rich source of encouragement and food for my soul as I've read a prayer each day over the last 2 or 3 years. (How can there possibly be 400 pages & 200 prayers in a such a little book?! I should have bought the paperback, the thin paper in the leather bound edition I have is deceptive...) These prayers are passionate, theological, realistic, uncompromising, 'blood-earnest' and joyful. At times a prayer from the Valley of Vision has uplifted me when I've been discouraged, rebuked me when I've been apathetic or sobered me when I've been flippant. The book is well presented and helpfully arranged, and several times I was able to use a prayer as the basis for a public prayer during church. The old English is a struggle sometimes, and there are cultural connections which are no longer relevant.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Anne

    It's amazing that Puritan prayers from hundreds of years ago are still so applicable and powerful in modern times. My favorite of the collection is "Morning Dedication," which ends this way: "May I speak each word as if my final word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day." It's amazing that Puritan prayers from hundreds of years ago are still so applicable and powerful in modern times. My favorite of the collection is "Morning Dedication," which ends this way: "May I speak each word as if my final word, and walk each step as my final one. If my life should end today, let this be my best day."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Elliott

    One of my favorite works! Putting words to prayers I cold only dream of praying. Immensely encouraging, challenging and inspirational! It took me a long time to work through it because the wealth of content was so deep.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    One of the most influential books in shaping my walk with Christ over the past four years. Will continue to read and re-read... many jewels here.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah H

    The book I read, re-read and read again. My lifetime favorite. Stirs the soul and engages the affections.

  9. 4 out of 5

    librarian4Him02

    This is a collection of prayers and meditations which the editor gleaned from Puritan writings. I picked this one up because I was doing a year-long study on prayer and was told this book contained good examples of prayers. The person who told me this was not wrong. The language used by the writers of these prayers was beautiful and gave me much to think on. In addition, I gathered many examples of how to incorporate Scripture into my prayer life. If you too are looking for ways to enhance your This is a collection of prayers and meditations which the editor gleaned from Puritan writings. I picked this one up because I was doing a year-long study on prayer and was told this book contained good examples of prayers. The person who told me this was not wrong. The language used by the writers of these prayers was beautiful and gave me much to think on. In addition, I gathered many examples of how to incorporate Scripture into my prayer life. If you too are looking for ways to enhance your prayer life, I highly recommend this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Good. First read it in 2002. Listened to an audio version of it narrated by Max McLean in 2015. That was good too. McLean's reading is good, although it sometimes borders on creepy. The Puritans represented are really solid. Their prayers sometimes veered into the predictably puritanical introspection, but there were many glorious stretches where they were doing nothing of the kind. There were many edifying phrases. Good. First read it in 2002. Listened to an audio version of it narrated by Max McLean in 2015. That was good too. McLean's reading is good, although it sometimes borders on creepy. The Puritans represented are really solid. Their prayers sometimes veered into the predictably puritanical introspection, but there were many glorious stretches where they were doing nothing of the kind. There were many edifying phrases.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This was my fifth time all the way through this wonderful collection of prayers. Convicting, soul-stirring, edifying, helpful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Finished this again, this time as an aid to family worship prayer time and it truly is a well-rounded pattern to some very topical prayers. Highly beneficial.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers, 195 in all, compiled by Arthur Bennett from various men from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, David Brainerd, Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, Philip Doddridge, and Charles Spurgeon, as well as others. These short, devotional, poetic prayers are a wonderful way to start and/or end each day. They would serve well for private, personal devotions and meditation, or for family worship. The prayers in this collectio The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers, 195 in all, compiled by Arthur Bennett from various men from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, David Brainerd, Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, Philip Doddridge, and Charles Spurgeon, as well as others. These short, devotional, poetic prayers are a wonderful way to start and/or end each day. They would serve well for private, personal devotions and meditation, or for family worship. The prayers in this collection highlight such doctrinal truths as the roles of the persons of the Trinity, the sovereignty of God in salvation, the importance of mortifying sin, the attributes of God, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The poems express thoughts of praise and thanksgiving, encouragement, comfort, humility and repentance. Unlike much of what is written for Christians these days, these passages rightly elevate God’s Word and works and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and keep a proper perspective of man and his dependence on the Lord for all he is and has. The title of the collection was taken from Isaiah 22 and was the inspiration for this introductory prayer by Bennett: "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." The prayers have been organized topically in sections under the following headings: Father, Son and Holy Spirit Redemption and Reconciliation Penitence and Deprecation Needs and Devotions Holy Aspirations Approach to God Gifts of Grace Service and Ministry Valediction A Week’s Shared Prayers Sovereign Grace Music has produced an album of songs inspired by some of the prayers in The Valley of Vision. Regarding the collection they say, "These prayers reveal a personal, humble, passionate relationship with an awesome God, a living Savior, and an active Spirit. Reading their meditations inspires us to pursue the same level of reality as we worship God." There’s not much else I feel needs to be said about this book; instead I’d just like to share a few of my favorite passages to give you a little sampling of the gems contained in it. This brief excerpt reminds us how the persons of the Trinity work together to bring about salvation, and that it is indeed a miraculous, supernatural work of our God: "No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel… Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way, Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way, Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit, for applying this way to my heart." Of course the work of God doesn’t stop at conversion. The Lord Jesus is with us to provide all that we need as we look to Him daily, as these words of prayer express: "[Father,] Thou hast given me a Saviour, produce in me a faith to live by him, to make him all my desire, all my hope, all my glory. May I enter him as my refuge, build on him as my foundation, walk in him as my way, follow him as my guide, conform to him as my example, receive his instructions as my prophet, rely on his intercession as my high priest, obey him as my king." This next passage serves as a wonderful reminder of why we should never base our assurance of salvation on our feelings: "It is not feeling the Spirit that proves my saved state, but the truth of what Christ did perfectly for me…It is not inner sensation that makes Christ’s death mine, for that may be delusion, being without the Word, but his death apprehended by my faith, and so testified by Word and Spirit." I could continue to share more beautiful passages from this collection, but instead I would invite you to explore and experience the richness of The Valley of Vision for yourself.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This little book is so incredibly helpful when the rivers of prayer run dry ....which in my case so often do. This inspiring book doesn't merely touch the heart, it scrapes it out, revealing the evil motives that lurk within, shining the light on our perpetual inconsistencies. Valley of Vision is just that, it speaks to you in the valley & most certainly gives clarity to your spiritual vision. There's a good reason this book is still around & will be for a long time to come! This little book is so incredibly helpful when the rivers of prayer run dry ....which in my case so often do. This inspiring book doesn't merely touch the heart, it scrapes it out, revealing the evil motives that lurk within, shining the light on our perpetual inconsistencies. Valley of Vision is just that, it speaks to you in the valley & most certainly gives clarity to your spiritual vision. There's a good reason this book is still around & will be for a long time to come!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abby Jones

    I'm not sure if there is a more beautiful book of poetry in existance. The out pouring of love, adoration, begging for mercy, prayer for every element of life, brutal honesty found in these verses is enough to bring a sinner to tears. The praise of the Lord is uplifting. I found the whole thing to be both convicting and enriching of my prayer life. I can't recommend this book enough. Let it infuse your study time. I'm not sure if there is a more beautiful book of poetry in existance. The out pouring of love, adoration, begging for mercy, prayer for every element of life, brutal honesty found in these verses is enough to bring a sinner to tears. The praise of the Lord is uplifting. I found the whole thing to be both convicting and enriching of my prayer life. I can't recommend this book enough. Let it infuse your study time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Mazzo

    Even though this is in my "read" section, it is a book that can be read over and over again. These prayers focus my own prayers heavenward and really give me a vision to see how to pray and what to pray. High recommended! Even though this is in my "read" section, it is a book that can be read over and over again. These prayers focus my own prayers heavenward and really give me a vision to see how to pray and what to pray. High recommended!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Schuyler

    Started this on New Year's Eve. I read the sections wildly out of order but appreciated the thoughtful praises, repentance, and supplications for morning prayers. Definitely want to read again. Started this on New Year's Eve. I read the sections wildly out of order but appreciated the thoughtful praises, repentance, and supplications for morning prayers. Definitely want to read again.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    Highest Recommendation. Every Christian will benefit from this. I read one prayer daily and use them to inform my public prayers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I find myself returning to this volume again and again. When my spirit withers and I am parched in the desert where there is no water, I come to the stream with expectation and drink my fill. But time passes and the journey continues and I must return for more. Often I need a different spot because "you can't always get back the same way." That's okay because there are plenty of verses and prayers. They are thematically linked but different enough to show me refreshing new scenes on my way to se I find myself returning to this volume again and again. When my spirit withers and I am parched in the desert where there is no water, I come to the stream with expectation and drink my fill. But time passes and the journey continues and I must return for more. Often I need a different spot because "you can't always get back the same way." That's okay because there are plenty of verses and prayers. They are thematically linked but different enough to show me refreshing new scenes on my way to see Jesus. I recommend this devotional book for passionate seekers of truth who desire beauty and require practicality in their spiritual pilgrimage. I approached these poems as devotions, but I was put off by the language. Then I read them aloud as personal prayers and changes the thee's and thou's to kore familiar you's. Everything seemed to flow better for me and the language became less of a distraction. Beautiful tools for worship.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A wonderful book of prayers. Great quiet time companion book. The Valley of Vision Prayer: 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 A wonderful book of prayers. Great quiet time companion book. The Valley of Vision Prayer: 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    A wonderful collection of prayers that I will without a doubt return to again and again. Walking through this book has been a profound help in strengthening my own personal prayer life. What Arthur Bennett has done in compiling these prayers and devotions has had a impact greater than he himself ever could have imagined. Each prayer is steeped in Scripture, filled with sound doctrine and, most importantly, points to Christ. The Puritans' writings have had an impact on my Christian life greater t A wonderful collection of prayers that I will without a doubt return to again and again. Walking through this book has been a profound help in strengthening my own personal prayer life. What Arthur Bennett has done in compiling these prayers and devotions has had a impact greater than he himself ever could have imagined. Each prayer is steeped in Scripture, filled with sound doctrine and, most importantly, points to Christ. The Puritans' writings have had an impact on my Christian life greater than anything else outside of the Bible, and these prayers and devotions are no exception. Read them - slowly, prayerfully, allowing them to encourage and challenge you. It's worth your time and effort!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan Larson

    Some books should be able to have a higher plane for ratings than ordinary books. For example, the Bible should get "infinity" stars. It's not even on a continuum with other literature. And this book, while not in the same realm as the Bible, is so firmly grounded in Truth as to be more powerful than any other devotional work I have encountered. I will never stop reading it as a part of my own devotional times--it is immensely rich with an intermingling of solid, deep doctrine and heartfelt emot Some books should be able to have a higher plane for ratings than ordinary books. For example, the Bible should get "infinity" stars. It's not even on a continuum with other literature. And this book, while not in the same realm as the Bible, is so firmly grounded in Truth as to be more powerful than any other devotional work I have encountered. I will never stop reading it as a part of my own devotional times--it is immensely rich with an intermingling of solid, deep doctrine and heartfelt emotion which so clearly reflects the faith of the Apostles and church fathers. This collection is a blessing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lady Jane

    A collection of deep, rich prayers that articulate thoughts, feelings and supplications that are sometimes difficult to put into words. The Puritans understood the depravity of man and the perserverance of the saints. These themes are threaded throughout the prayers, along with many others that are grounded in Reform theology. Valley of Vision is not so much a book to be read as it is to be prayed slowly as one component in larger devotional life, perhaps starting again when completed. I found th A collection of deep, rich prayers that articulate thoughts, feelings and supplications that are sometimes difficult to put into words. The Puritans understood the depravity of man and the perserverance of the saints. These themes are threaded throughout the prayers, along with many others that are grounded in Reform theology. Valley of Vision is not so much a book to be read as it is to be prayed slowly as one component in larger devotional life, perhaps starting again when completed. I found this structured calendar to be very helpful: http://www.joethorn.net/valley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lincoln Forlong

    As the title says, this is a collection of old, yet very true and wise prayers by godly people from the Puritan period. They are profoundly insightful and heart stirring. These prayers wonderfully assist God's children in having deeper, more meaningful thoughts of our Lord. Anyone wishing to develop shallow, flipant beliefs would find this an uncomfortable read. This is a seriously healthy read which can be returned to many times over many years, and without disappointment. As the title says, this is a collection of old, yet very true and wise prayers by godly people from the Puritan period. They are profoundly insightful and heart stirring. These prayers wonderfully assist God's children in having deeper, more meaningful thoughts of our Lord. Anyone wishing to develop shallow, flipant beliefs would find this an uncomfortable read. This is a seriously healthy read which can be returned to many times over many years, and without disappointment.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Finished my first time through this book in a little over a year by reading a prayer a day to open my devotional time. This book has changed my prayer life forever and infused so much beauty into my personal time with God. It is rich with theological truth, challenging, & encouraging. I commend it to all.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Read Nov 2010; Jan 2014; May 2017

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    3.75 stars A lot of these prayers had me weeping by the end. The Puritans were able to capture complex emotions and ideas using such beautiful poetic language (hence the moving me to tears). As I read each prayer, I updated the language in my head which made them flow a little better. It took me a while to get through this collection as I only read one prayer per day but I've never thought to read written down prayers and I got a lot of value out of doing it. These were written so long ago of co 3.75 stars A lot of these prayers had me weeping by the end. The Puritans were able to capture complex emotions and ideas using such beautiful poetic language (hence the moving me to tears). As I read each prayer, I updated the language in my head which made them flow a little better. It took me a while to get through this collection as I only read one prayer per day but I've never thought to read written down prayers and I got a lot of value out of doing it. These were written so long ago of course but the heart and devotion was still so relatable. I'd recommend reading through some of these especially if you're in a season of not knowing what or how to pray.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Must read. Must have.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    Incredible collection of prayers! I read this as part of my morning devos this year - 1-2 poems/day - and found it compelling, convicting, insightful, and scriptural. Definitely a go-to of mine now!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter Krol

    This really helps my prayer life.

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