The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers arranged by Arthur Bennett. Many are written by Bennett himself. Others are adapted from Puritan writings.
This is my second time reading through The Valley of Vision. Honestly, I wish I would have started regularly reading through this prayer-book in seminary when Professor John Hannah shared with our historical theology class about this pocket-book of prayers. I’ve benefited so much theologically and spiritually in these two reads that I wonder what benefit I will have a decade from now. This prospect in itself is encouraging.
Don’t just take my word for the value of The Valley of Vision. Check out what Don Carson says about this book of prayer:
‘The prayers in The Valley of Vision are steeped in Scripture, yet never succumb to mere formula. They are theologically fresh and vibrant, yet they are rooted in confessionalism. They range over a huge sweep of Christian experience and devotion, but they are never merely esoteric or cute. They brim with deep emotion and transparent passion, but they carefully avoid mere sentimentalism. This is a book that teaches readers to pray by example.’ — D. A. Carson
I echo everything Carson says. Not only does this book brim with deep emotion and transparent passion along with robust confessional theology, but it will in turn move you in similar ways. I’ve found my own prayer life to be transformed because of the many truths I’ve embraced and learned from this book of prayer.
Just today I read this:
Help me, O Lord, to throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee, for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless. Give me peace of soul, confidence, and enlargement of mind, morning joy that comes after night heaviness; water my soul richly with divine blessings; grant that I may welcome thy humbling in private so that I might enjoy thee in public; give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
These words were heartwarming for me to read, hear, and repeat back to my savior.
The prayers in The Valley of Vision each have a candid balance between confessing sin and embracing expiation. The prayers resonate with thoughts of overwhelming unworthiness because of offenses against God that are turned to shouts of exultation in being made worthy through Christ our mediator and intercessor. This is welcomed, especially in a culture that is growing numb to guilt, disobedience, and sin. No one wants to be known as reprobate, carnal, or a sinner. Yet, apart from Christ, that is who we are.
For all those who believe on Christ, he mediates on our behalf and stands as our advocate. His constant communion with his Father intercedes on our behalf. His prayers make up for the difference of our weak prayers.
Thomas Watson reminds us in the Body of Divinity: “It is a great comfort to a believer, when his prayer is weak, and he can hardly pray for himself, that Christ’s prayer in heaven is might and powerful” (181).
If you’re at all interested in picking up a copy of The Valley of Vision, you can get it here at Banner of Truth’s website. I recommend the Leather-bound copy. That is the one I keep by my bedside. I also have the ebook, which is what I normally read from.
My pastor, Joe Thorn, has also created a helpful reading guide for The Valley of Vision. You can download it for free here at his blog.