There are times in a regular pattern of study in God’s word and in a regular pattern of prayer that brings together who God is in his holiness and my deep and desperate need in my sinfulness, to see afresh the amazing grace and mercy in our Savior’s bloody sacrifice done for me as a wondrous and pure gift. As Charles Wesley says so well, “Amazing love! And can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
A continuing resource in my prayer life is The Valley of Vision. Today’s prayer, Man A Nothing, is so not of this current culture it is staggering to take in. It has a razor-like clarity that carried me once again to our Savior’s throne of grace:
MAN A NOTHINIG
I am a shell full of dust,
but animated with an invisible rational soul
and made anew by an unseen power of grace;
Yet I am no rare object of valuable price,
but one that has nothing and is nothing,
although chosen of thee from eternity,
given to Christ, and born again;
I am deeply convinced
of the evil and misery of my sinful state,
of the vanity of creatures,
but also of the sufficiency of Christ.
When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,
When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself,
When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.
When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself,
When I should submt to thy providence I follow my will,
When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;
I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,
Instead of thee I look to a man’s approbation,
and am by nature an idolater.
Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.
Convince me that I cannot be my own God,
or make myself happy,
nor my own Christ to restore my joy,
nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.
Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction,
for when my credit is good thou dost cast me lower,
when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away,
when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.
Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;
show me that none of these things
can heal a wounded conscience,
or support a tottering frame,
or uphold a departing spirit.
Then take me to the cross and leave me there.