I read this 'Puritan's Prayer' today and was moved, not merely by its truth, timeliness, relevance and profound insight, but by the fact that its warm spirituality glows through the somewhat archaic language. This prayer is certainly not the last word on penitent prayer as there is little or nothing here about penitence towards people we have sinned against. Such sins too sear the conscience and burden the soul - and bring us to prayer and confession. Nevertheless, the clarity of thought and language here most poignantly gives voice to deep convictions.
O Lord of grace,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
O quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw
from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
Let me never forget
that I have an eternal duty to love, honour
and obey thee,
that thou art infinitely worthy of such;
that if I fail to glorify thee
I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment,
for sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.
O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee,
Melt my heart, heal my backslidings,
and open an intercourse of love.
When the fire of thy compassion warms my
and the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul,
then I feelingly wonder at my own depravity,
and deeply abhor myself;
then thy grace is a powerful incentive
and an irresistible motive to inward holiness.
May I never forget that thou hast my heart
in thy hands.
Apply to it the merits of Christ’s atoning blood
whenever I sin.
Let thy mercies draw me to thyself.
Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world,
and make me ready for my departure hence
animated by the humiliations of penitential love.
My soul is often a chariot without wheels,
clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay;
Mount it on eagle’s wings
and cause it to soar upward to thyself.