The Valley Of Vision
Last Sunday I presented to our congregation seven different written prayers, including ones from Augustine, Ambrose, St. Francis, St. Patrick, John Wesley and King David. I encouraged people to pick one of these prayers and pray that one prayer three times a day for one week. The prayer that I picked and have been praying is called “The Valley Of Vision” from a Puritan prayer book by the same title. It was not one of the prayers I had presented (the book did not come in until Sunday afternoon) but is a short, beautiful prayer that I share below:
The Valley Of Vision
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou has 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
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.
I started to do something this week that I don’t typically do. I started to thank God for the trials and challenges of life. In our daily devotional “Engage The Word” we are instructed to thank God for at least three things. I would say that ninety nine percent of the time I thank God for the blessings of my life: my family, my health, our church, the beauty of God’s creation and any number of gifts that I am conscious about. I like the view from the top of the mountain! But rarely…hardly ever…do I give thanks for the valleys of life. Yet James tells us to do just that:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature an complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
The prayer of The Valley Of Vision helps me to pray for wisdom in the valley, because, as the prayer states so insightfully, “the valley is the place of vision.” May we see the hand of the Father, experience the love of the Son and live by the power of the Holy Spirit as the vision becomes reality.
What do you think? How does it make you feel?