Confession and Repentance

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 8.20.02 AM One of the best spiritual disciplines of my life, aside from regular time in the word and journaling, has been the rewriting of prayers from Valley of Vision —at the suggestion of my faithful mentor and friend. In the darkest seasons of depression for me, these prayers have brought clarity to my sin and to Christ's sufficiency; and in the seasons of rich joy, these prayers have been reminders that growth I enjoyed on the mountain has happened most often while in the valley. Rewriting them in my own words only increased the clarity and joy.

Here is an original prayer and below is my rewritten attempt. I highly recommend this exercise.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

My sin is a black hole, deep without end,

Guilty: Of the thought that I am capable alone And that You are not enough; Of disobedience to seeing Your Gospel Spread in every word of your Word; Of pushing You to my peripheral in my everydays.

All these things mock me, accuse me, stand around me and stare me down.

But they cannot win, and so I bless You.

Crush my corruptness. Give me grace to crush it as well.

My skin, my organs, my heart, my thoughts: these long for things that cannot satisfy; Only You can satisfy and give me the right heart, the right thoughts.

I'm grateful that you have not answered all of my prayers (for purpose, for people, for prizes) I've asked for good things, but not the right things--and so I don't have them. I've asked because I'm selfish and because I feel orphaned. I've asked because being a slave seems better than being a nomad.

Continue, Patience, have your perfect work, Pity my errant prayers, ask instead for me to Hope. Fling open the windows, air out my soul from false desires, All the dead dreams, All the things which are contrary to Your Kingdom.

I (try to) thank You for your wisdom. I (try to) thank you for your love. This foreign tasting mouth, words repeat: I thank you for your discipline Your cauldron which makes me into a perfect metal, without errors.

There is nothing more difficult to swallow, Lord, Than knowing that we are not communing (because of sin, because of fear, because of disappointment).

If you let me live through this, if I come out on the other side, Let it not be in pleasure, keeping my soiled securities. Give me holy suffering, only.

Lift the strangling of flesh I feel Everyday. Deliver me from boasting weaknesses Everyday. Keep my eyes unclouded by the lust of my flesh, my eyes, and my life, These things which make You small in my eyes.

The evidence of this in my life is that I will bless You, With my mouth, Upright One. Because, Helper, You have helped me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Here are some other helpful tools if you find good encouragement in Valley of Vision.

Joe Thorn has put together a reading guide for VoV that I've used regularly for years.

A few years ago I began tweeting VoV snippets and since then asked Joe Louthan and Bliss Spillar to join in the effort. If you'd like to follow us here, feel free! @valleyofvision_ 

Bliss Spillar is also accumulating a team of people who might be interested in contributing to a scriptural guide for VoV. More info here.