Prayer: A Habit of the Heart

There is a special privilege for the child of God—it is to enter into a divine conversation with one’s heavenly Father. He has already spoken through His written Word, and man is to respond with his words. This is “prayer.”

The Apostle Paul said we should make prayer a habit of our hearts; to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). However, we’ll never be able to develop this kind of practice unless we aim at defining specific times reserved exclusively for prayer.

One of the reasons I have such an affinity for The Valley of Vision is because it serves as a helpful guide in my scheduled prayer-time. I reach for it when I’m struggling with the right words to communicate to my Lord in appreciation for what’s been received (grace), as opposed to what’s deserved (wrath).

518214Often, I’ll focus on just one sentence or phrase within the collection of prayers. Open this little black book and you will find a gem that is both biblically-based and God-glorifying. One such devotion is “The Mover.”1

I’ve been posting (via social media) excerpts from this Puritan prayer early on Sunday mornings. Why? It is because these words take the focus off of ourselves and place them rightfully upon the Lord.


May I always be subordinate to thee, be dependent upon thee, be found in the path where thou dost walk, and where thy Spirit moves, take heed of estrangement from thee, of becoming insensible to thy love.

Thou dost not move men like stones, but dost endue them with life, not to enable them to move without thee, but in submission to thee, the first mover.

O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between my receivings and my deservings, between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness, between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit.

Who made me to differ, but thee? For I was no more ready to receive Christ than were others; I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me, or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.

O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner! Such high advancement be for an unfruitful person! Such joys for so vile a rebel!

Infinite wisdom cast the design of salvation into the mould of purchase and freedom; let wrath deserved be written on the door of hell, but the free gift of grace on the gate of heaven.

I know that my sufferings are the result of my sinning, but in heaven both shall cease; grant me to attain this haven and be done with sailing, and may the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour.

Let thy love draw me nearer to thyself, wean me from sin, mortify me to this world, and make me ready for my departure hence.

Secure me by thy grace as I sail across this stormy sea.


 Bennett, Arthur. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975/2002). 12-13.