For the past several weeks, I have read and re-read a book of prayers called “The Valley of Vision.” The title is taken from Isaiah 22, and the book contains numerous prayers which the editor, Arthur Bennett, says “are drawn largely from the forgotten deposit of Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations.” During the Puritan Movement in the 16th and 17th centuries, many preachers, writers and scholars contributed to this “forgotten deposit.”
Among them, their journals, letters, diaries, books, sermons, and prayers are contained in “The Valley of Vision.” The authors of these various documents are: Richard Baxter, David Brainerd, John Bunyan, Philip Doddridge, Christmas Evans, William Jay, Henry Law, William Romaine, Thomas Shepard, C.H. Spurgeon, Augustus Toplady, Thomas Watson, Isaac Watts, and William Williams. As Arthur Bennett writes in his preface of “The Valley of Vision,” the Puritan Movement and its theological groundswell “carried forward distinct forms of practical religion for many decades, particularly family worship and private devotion….New England Presbyterians and Congregationalists were at one with English Dissenters and Anglican evangelicals in a close-knit union that transcended differences of worship, discipline and polity….They spoke the same spiritual language….”
As these Puritan prayers and meditations are brought back to life by the excellent work of Arthur Bennett, we will speak of sin and grace, pray for insight and forgiveness, and wonder at the power and mercy of God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I hope these works by the Puritan masters mean as much to you as they have meant to me.