“Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see the in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold they glory.
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 should,
that to have nothing is to posses 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,
they grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley”
~The Valley of Vision
It is no less sincere of you to pray a prayer that has been prayed before, or by somebody else. I used to think that unless a prayer was spontaneous, or at least not in your own words, than it was ritualistic-maybe even legalistic.
I now believe that position to have been one of spiritual immaturity. As I read through The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers, I find articulations of prayers for my soul that I am not currently skilled enough to express on my own. It is true that God knows your heart and understands what you are feeling even if you cannot express it; but beautiful, verbal expressions can hep you better know what your heart is longing to say. The words help you connect with your soul, and in turn commune with God.
Written prayers can also be a guide to praying rightly. God knows our shortcomings, but we should strive to prayer well and with correct doctrine. This is what Jesus taught us to do in the Lord’s prayer.
There is a time and place for quick, personal conversations with God, and there is a time to spend in deep, worshipful prayer. Prayers found in collections such as The Valley of Vision can be a wonderful blessing in aiding us in our worship.