Have you ever heard of the Puritans?  Most of us hear them slandered at some point early in our gradeschool studies of American History.  If you are a Christian, you need to know that the Puritans in actuality have a lot to teach us...even if we've sometimes gasped at the strictness of their piety.

A couple of great resources you might want to check out are:

The Valley of Vision - This resource is basically a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.  Arthur Bennet put them together after combing through the writings and journals of people like John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, and others.

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J.I. Packer.

Also noteworthy:
   Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were by Leland Ryken.
   The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics. This title says it all.

I'll give you an example of a Puritan prayer from Valley of Vision entitled "Spiritual Growth"


In the way of thy appointment I am waiting for thee,
My desire is to thy name,
My mind to remembrance of thee.

I am a sinner, but not insensible of my state.
My iniquities are great and numberless,
but thou art adequate to my relief,
for thou art rich in mercy;
the blood of thy Son can cleanse from all sin;
the agency of thy Spirit can subdue
my most powerful lusts.

Give me a tender, wakeful conscience
that can smite and torment me when I sin.
May I be consistent in conversation and conduct,
the same alone as in company,
in prosperity and adversity,
accepting all thy commandments as right,
and hating every false way.

May I never be satisfied with my present spiritual progress,
but to faith add virtue, knowledge, temperance,
godliness, brotherly kindness, charity.

May I never neglect
what is necessary to constitute Christian character,
and needful to complete it.

May I cultivate the expedient,
develop the lovely, adorn the gospel,
recommend the religion of Jesus,
accomodate myself to thy providence.

Keep me from sinking or sinning in the evil day;
Help me to carry into ordinary life
portions of divine truth
and use them on suitable occasions, so that
its doctrines may inform,
its warnings caution,
its rules guide,
its promises comfort me.

The language and word choices may not be all that current for our context today; but surely the heart of the prayer is as relevant and appropriate for our context today as ever.

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