Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cool Prayer from a Puritan

We were talking about grace and the Gospel over on Emily's blog, and how often we get discouraged by constantly repenting and "trying to do better". (This past Sunday, my pastor touched on what he calls "the mud pie syndrome" in his sermon - just trying to do better tomorrow is like putting frosting on a mud pie.) We need grace every minute of every day, not just for salvation (justification) but to live in obedience to Christ (sanctification).

One of the commentators posted a very insightful prayer from one of the Puritan writers that I had not seen before. Rather than continuously going back to look for it, I decided to post it over here. I hope that some of you are as blessed by it as I was:

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute
and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness.
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly,
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.

Puritan Dude got it. Do you?


Dani' El said...


JTW said...

"I need to repent of my repentance...
"... thou art always bringing forth the best robe."
Those two lines really grabbed me. Very nice.

I Recently read some prayers from Martin Luther, and it is amazing how well they were able to capture the heart's cry of the believer.

They often say what I wish to pray, but I just can't find the words to express it. I am thankful for the help.

Marie said...

Isn't that the truth?!?

Yeah, those two lines articulated what I sense, too. Even our repentance isn't perfect - it's still "me" centered. And the allusion to the Prodigal Son - I always tend towards thinking I was the Prodigal, until salvation, but forget that I need that same kind of grace continuously - and that it's always available. Even our repentance can become a "work" of righteousness....when we move away from the awareness of our need for grace, it's a form of subtle pride.

Luther, for his many faults, was a man keenly aware of his own sinfulness. His prayers expressed it eloquently and desperately. I think that's why we can relate to him so well.

Dani' El said...

"I need to repent of my repentance.

That's the line that got me too.
I've come to the point where I am both ashamed to ask, and fearful not to ask for forgiveness.

Marie said...

I've come to the point where I am both ashamed to ask, and fearful not to ask for forgiveness.Are we, like, the same person?!?

Amazing how a prayer written in the 17th century can strike such a deep chord with all of us!