Man a nothing

O LORD,

I am a shell full of dust,

    but animated with an invisible rational soul

    and made anew by an unseen power of grace;

Yet I am no rare object of valuable price,

    but one that has nothing and is nothing,

    although chosen of thee from eternity,

        given to Christ, and born again;

I am deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state,

    of the vanity of creatures,

    but also of the sufficiency of Christ.

When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,

When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself.

When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.

When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself,

When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will,

When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;

I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,

Instead of thee I look to man’s approbation,

    and am by nature an idolater.

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.

Convince me that I cannot be my own god, or make myself happy,

    nor my own Christ to restore my joy,

    nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.

Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction,

    for when my credit is god thou dost cast me lower,

    when riches are my idol thou dost wing them away,

    when pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.

Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;

Show me that none of these things

    can heal a wounded conscience,

    or support a tottering frame,

    or uphold a departing spirit.

Then take me to the cross and leave me there.

From The Valley of Vision – A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

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4 thoughts on “Man a nothing

  1. Wow! Encouraging to know that even the Puritans battled the flesh like we do. Great prayer! I’m glad you shared it with us, Mike.

  2. Upon the cross of Jesus Mine eyes at times can see
    The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
    And from my smitten heart with tears Two wonders I confess:
    The wonders of redeeming love And my unworthiness.

    I take, O cross, thy shadow For my abiding place,
    I ask no other sunshine Than the sunshine of His face.
    Content to let the world go by, To know no gain nor loss,
    My sinful self, my only shame, My glory all the cross.

    1868
    Elizabeth C. Clephane

  3. Sarah, Cristina, Rick,

    Sometimes this is all we need to do. Just comtemplate the cross and where we would be without it. One reason I prefer the older stuff is these people knew they were imperfect and would always be in this life. They knew that this life was in no way what we should seek for fulfillment. Instead, they saw that self-denial coupled with devotion to the glory of God was the only place to be.

    In Christ

    MIke Ratliff

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