O God of Grace,
You have imputed my sin to my substitute,
and have 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 you 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 you are 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.
From Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers
O great God,
I acknowledge and confess
that all good things come from You:
life, breath, happiness,
advancement, sight, touch,
truth, and beauty.
In the spiritual world also
I am dependent entirely upon You.
Give me grace to know more of my need for grace.
Show me my sinfulness that I may willingly confess it.
Reveal to me my weakness that I may know my strength in You.
I thank You for any sign of repentance; give me more of it.
I need healing.
I need faith.
May I lay at Your feet these fruits grown in Your garden,
love You with a passion that can never cool,
believe in You with a confidence that never staggers,
hope in You with an expectation that can never be dim,
delight in You with a rejoicing that cannot be stifled,
glorify You with the highest of my powers,
burning, blazing, glowing, radiating, as from Your own glory.
– Valley of Vision (adapted)
Following my post yesterday regarding ‘quiet time’, here are some suggestions for developing a lifestyle of daylong devotion.
Rather than seeing it as QT that you must do out of guilt, see it as a spiritually healthy way to start the day. You can remind yourself of God’s identity and release your anxiety.
It’s a great way to equipp yourself with His strength to face the opportunities and challenges of the day ahead. It is a healthy way to recognise your inability and to celebrate His sufficiency.
It’s tempting to miss this with the excuse that you might not be a ‘morning person’. Just as much as expert nutritionists(ie your mum) would stress that breakfast is the most important meall of the day, starting your ‘spiritual metabolism’ is essential for your well being.
Wake up earlier. You always have time then. It’s quieter. You are fresher(ish).
Wash. Eat. Brew. Exercise. Do whatever it takes to be fresh.
Start with what’s real to you in that moment, fears and all. Don’t pretend.
Surrender yourself to God’s destiny and mission
Remind yourself of the eternal perspective of your ultimate destination.
Ask the Holy Spirit to make the Scriptures become God’s very breath for you
Ask the Holy Spirit to imprint something of a gift you can take and impart throughout the day
Talk to God about those that are on your mind and heart
Stop reading/talking for a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to remind, convict and encourage you
More suggestion for daylong devotion to follow.
Sounds like a controversial title. We are always encouraged in church settings to have and keep our ‘quiet time’. This is simply a time set aside usually in the morning for a short reading and prayer.
While I have nothing against praying and reading scripture, I have grave concerns about this model. It can potentially breed a false sense of achievement. I have clocked in my 10-30 minutes with God and I’m off the hook. Just one of the ways to appease my conscience and myself feel ritually better. My fear is that it can foster a works-based religious exercise.
And religion isn’t really what I see discipleship with Jesus to be all about… I see it as a relationship. And in a relationship affection creates a desire for greater intimacy. Instead of just checking in every morning in a dutiful way, what about spending all day with an awareness and real engagement with God? Some of probably means praying and reading Scriptures in the morning, but not as the only way of listening and speaking to God.
Self discipline and intentionality are essential to our spiritual growth, yet I’m suspicious of only acknowledging God’s presence in pre-booked slots through the day. This can only deepen the sacred vs. secular divide that has been plaguing our western Christianity through the ages. I do my ‘God slot’ and then I get on with my ‘real’ live…
It all seems akin to ‘guilt offerings’ the males of the species bring to their female counterparts from time to time, just in order to get out of the ‘dog house’. They seem well intended but somehow slightly selfish and insincere.
I remember Paul’s baffling exhortation to the believers in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing. The secret is a life of devotion that is full time and relational, integrating every aspect of our daily existence.