I particularly enjoy reading various prayers. On my desk three different prayer books usually stand. I like to read The Book of Common Prayer (1559), The Prayers of Peter Marshall by Peter Marshall, and Prayers for Meditation by Karl Rahner. However, The Valley of Vision is one of my favorite prayer books. From The Valley of Vision, I recite one particular prayer prior to preaching every Sunday. Portions or the entirety of this prayer loom around my thoughts all week long. This copy I have changed from the original in certain places. The changes reflect only my personal touches and are not largely theological in nature. You may view the original prayer here.
A Minister’s Preaching
Most high and heavenly Father, I am desired to preach today, but go weak and needy to my task; Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth, that an honest testimony might be borne for you;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer, with heart uplifted for grace and unction. Present to my view things pertinent to my subject, with fullness of matter and clarity of thought, proper expressions, fluency, fervency, a feeling sense of the things I preach, and grace to apply them to men’s consciences.
My Lord Jesus the Christ,
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects, and let me not gloat in pride over my performance. Help me to offer a testimony for you, and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting your mercy. Give me freedom to open the sorrow of your people and to set before them comforting considerations.
Holy Spirit, attend with power the truth preached, and awaken the attention of my slothful audience. May your people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted, and help me to use the strongest arguments drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings, that men might be made holy.
I myself need Thy support, comfort, strength, holiness, that I might be a pure channel of your grace, and be able to do something for you; Give me then refreshment among your people, and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way, or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a Redeemer, or be harsh in treating of Christ’s death, its design and end, from lack of warmth and fervency. And keep me in tune with your Spirit as I do this work.