A Cry for Deliverance

Heavenly Father, save me entirely from sin.

I know I am righteous through the righteousness of another, but I groan and long to properly image You. I am a child and should bear Your image.

Enable me to recognize that I am dead to sin. When it tempts me, may I be deaf toward its voice. Deliver me from both the invasion and the dominion of sin.

Let me walk as Christ walked: to live in newness of His life…the life of love, faith and holiness.

Forgive my rebellion, envy, cruelty and pride. Kill these vices. Have mercy on my unbelief–on my corrupt and wandering heart.

When Your blessings come, I idolize them and set my affection on some beloved object: friends, wealth, family, honor, or money. Cleanse this spiritual adultery and give me a chaste heart: close my heart to all but You.

Sin is my greatest curse. Let Your victory be apparent to me and be displayed in my life. Help me to be devoted, confident, obedient, and childlike in my trust of You.

Let me love You with soul, body, mind and strength. Let me love my neighbor as I love myself. Save me from my unregenerate temper, harsh thoughts toward others, slander, cruelty, and unkind manners. Teach me to master my tongue and keep guard the door of my lips.

Fill me with grace daily, that my life would be a fountain of sweet water. Amen.

The Valley of Vision, ed. by Arthur Bennett. “A Cry for Deliverance,” alt.

I have been thinking a great deal about prayer the last couple of days. Many times when I’m in the midst of being tempted by my own thoughts, for example, I simply hold my breath and wait out whatever sin is crouching at my door.

But that’s not what Scripture says I should do.

Instead, I am becoming convinced that I am supposed to pray. This may seem like a “duh” sort of moment, but this is truly something I’ve been challenged by in the past few days. It doesn’t feel like I want sin any less…but then I pray…and in so doing, I want sin less.

Only Christ could bring this about in me. I’m thankful that He brings me faith that I do not have. That realization makes me more humble.

I’ve also been very challenged by how unkind I am to some people. And when I am not unkind, I am sometimes ridiculously impatient or frustrated with them. Praise God that Jesus has not treated me as I treat others. If He did, I would still be dead to God and very much alive in my hatred of Him. That realization gives the Gospel much more urgency. I haven’t worked out what that looks like yet, but as I wrestle, I know it means my becoming winsome not for kindness’ sake, but because the Gospel creates the space for me to not have to push my opinions onto others and to evaluate my own heart, trusting that God will in fact deal with the other person’s heart.

When the old theologians speak of our hearts being veritable idol factories, they aren’t kidding. But thanks be to God, who is so rich in mercy that He sent His Son to die for my sins and be raised for my justification.  God requires holiness…and provides it. The holiness that God provides, He perfects in us. The people God sanctifies (or perfects), are the ones He uses to proclaim His Gospel.

Not of myself, so I may not boast.

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