How to Pray When You’ve Blown It

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24 ESV)

What happens when you stumble? How do you pray when you’ve blown it? This prayer from The Valley of Vision shows us how to approach a holy God when we’ve not been so holy:

O Eternal God,

Yours is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness, super-abundant grace; I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’ as number your favors towards me; I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.

I thank you for personal mercies, a measure of health, preservation of body, comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers, my family, their mutual help and support, the delights of domestic harmony and peace, the seats now filled that might have been vacant, my country, church, Bible, faith.

But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness, the days that add to my guilt, the scenes that witness my offending tongue.

All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me–the sun which sees my misdeeds, the darkness which is light to you, the cruel accuser who justly charges me, the good angels who have been provoked to leave me, your countenance which scans my secret sins, your righteous law, your holy Word, my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life, my neighbors, myself–all write dark things against me.

I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess, ‘Father, I have sinned’; yet still I live, and fly repenting to your outstretched arms; you will not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near, you will not condemn me, for he died in my stead, you will not mark my mountains of sin, for he leveled all, and his beauty covers my deformities.

O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to his cross, hiding in his wounds, and sheltering in his side.

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