Puritan Prayer: Paradoxes

O CHANGELESS GOD,

Under the conviction of thy Spirit I learn that

the more I do, the worse I am,

the more I know, the less I know,

the more holiness I have, the more sinful I am,

the more I love, the more there is to love.

O wretched man that I am!

O Lord,

I have a wild heart,

and cannot stand before thee;

I am like a bird before a man.

How little I love thy truth and ways!

I neglect prayer,

by thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,

by knowing thou hast saved my soul.

Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be

an evangelical hypocrite,

who sins more safely because grace abounds,

who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood

cleanseth them,

who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell,

for he is saved,

who loves evangelical preaching, churches,

Christians, but lives unholily.

My mind is a bucket without a bottom,

with no spiritual understanding,

no desire for the Lord’s Day,

ever learning but never reaching the truth,

always at the gospel-well but never holding water.

My conscience is without conviction or contrition,

with nothing to repent of.

My will is without power of decision or resolution.

My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.

My memory has no retention,

so I forget easily the lessons learned,

and thy truths seep away.

Give me a broken heart that yet carries home

the water of grace.

Taken from The Valley of Vision, The Banner of Truth Trust.

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