One of my favourite little books to have close to my side is The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. They help me to meditate on the deep things of God and the Christian life, and then those meditations flow naturally into prayer. I’ve tended to read them sporadically, but at the start of this year I’ve decided to go through it page by page so that I don’t miss any of them. Yesterday’s meditation was called “Repose.” It’s a word we don’t use often these days. It means “a state of rest, sleep, or tranquility.” So this prayer is all about resting in God. Here’s a sample:
Thou art so good, wise, just holy,
That no mistake is possible to thee.
Thou art fountain and source of all law;
what thou commandest is mine to obey.
I yield to thy sovereignty all that I am and have;
do thou with me as thou wilt.
Rest begins with trust in God’s character – believing with all your heart that He is good and wise and holy in all his ways that it is impossible for Him to make a mistake. Think that through. That’s huge. This in turn leads to surrender to God’s sovereignty, where you place all your problems and cares in his hands. Now look at what comes next:
Thou has given me silence in my heart
in place of murmurings and complaints.
Keep my wishes from growing into willings,
my willing from becoming fault-finding
with thy providences
and have mercy on me.
I love that part about keeping my wishes from growing into willings. It is one thing to wish for something. I wish for all kinds of things – in the lives of my children, in the lives of people in our church and even in my own life. But when those wishes become willings, my desires become demands, and then my agenda winds up being at cross-purposes with God’s agenda And I then find fault with God.
Prayers like this – prayers of trust and surrender keep this from happening.