Monday, February 20, 2017

A Convinced Sinner's Prayer

I have been reading a book of prayers by  Benjamin Jenks (1646–1724). He has a prayer entitled, "The Convinced Sinner's Prayer. Somehow, I don't expect any altarcall monger among the Osteen crowd to ask their audience to "repeat after me" a prayer of this caliber. 

“Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God! for unto thee will I pray. But wherewithal shall I appear before the Lord, and bow myself before the most high God, whose holy laws I have broken, and whose just displeasure I have incurred! I acknowledge my transgression, O Lord, and my sin is ever before me. My iniquities are gone over my head, as a sore burden; they are too heavy for me to bear. When thou, with rebukes, dost chasten man for his iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth. My sin now has found me out; and that which once I thought too little to be repented of, seems now too great to be pardoned. I flattered myself in my own eyes, till my iniquity is found to be hateful. I thought I was rich, and increased with goods, and had need of nothing: but now I find that I am wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; so that there is nothing but disorder and ruin in my soul. I have undone myself; but to work my own recovery, I have no sufficiency. O how wicked have I been to harbour the mind, and allow myself in the way, which is enmity against God! How ignorant, yet how confident! How vile, yet how arrogant! In what need of mercy, yet how unmerciful! How sinful, yet how impenitent! How bold in the sins where conscience reproved me; but how indifferent in the cause where thy good Spirit encouraged me! O the spoils, and ruins, and desolations which my sins have made in my soul. How darkened has been my mind; how perverted my will; how sensualized my affections; how disordered my passions; how hardened my heart: and how mad have I been in cleaving unto things displeasing to my God, and destructive to my soul!
“Vain would be the attempt to hide anything from thee, who fillest heaven and earth. What shall I say unto thee, Lord? I scarcely know how to speak anything bad enough of myself. O wo is me, that I have done so foolishly and wickedly! Whither shall I betake myself, seeing that against thee, O Lord, I have so sinned and done such evil in thy sight! Thou art the offended Majesty, out of whose reach I cannot escape, and whose judgments I can never be able to endure. A guilty consciousness makes me afraid to come unto thee; yet I know there is nothing but certain destruction if I keep away from thee. And though there is no peace to the wicked, whilst he continues in his sins, yet if the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and return to the Lord, thy promise then, O God, is, to have mercy upon him, and abundantly to pardon. I have none to look unto for deliverance from my sins, but unto the just and holy God, against whom I have so grievously sinned. And how shall I stand in thy sight, O Lord, who hatest and condemnest the works of darkness, and the workers of iniquity? whose wrath against sin burns deep as hell, and as long as eternity.
“I submit, great Lord, to thy offended Majesty! and whithersoever I look, I have no hope but in thine almighty power, thy super-abounding grace, and thine ever-enduring mercy. Nothing is too hard for thee to effect. The most wretched case is not past thy cure. Though our sins be as scarlet, thou canst make them as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, thou canst make them as wool. Yea, thou hast found a ransom, and laid help upon One that is mighty, even on thy dear Son, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him. If I had not sinned, I had no need of such a Redeemer; but it was the sinful and the lost whom he came to seek and save. To the Lord Jesus therefore do I look, with the desire of my soul, to find healing through the precious blood of his cross. O merciful God! when my sins cry to thee for vengeance, be thou pleased to hear his blood and merits pleading and interceding for my soul, and speaking better things in my behalf, than I am able to do for myself in all my prayers.

“Behold, O merciful Lord, a miserable object, on whom to glorify thy power and mercy! O look upon me, in my blood, and bid me live. Speak death to my sins, that my soul may live, and forever bless thy name. Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon my sin, for it is great; too great for any but a God of infinite goodness and mercy to forgive. O magnify thyself in my deliverance. Make it seen, in thy work upon my soul, how great things, worthy of God, thou canst do; that where sin hath abounded, thy grace can much more abound. Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy's sake. Save me from the guilt and punishment, from the power and pollution, of all my sins. And thou, Lord, who knowest how to deliver, make me some way to escape out of the perplexities into which my sins have cast me: that my iniquities may not be my ruin; but that they may be taken away and forgiven, and washed out with the blood of Jesus Christ. Turn thou me, O Lord God of my salvation, that I may be turned from my sins, and from this present evil world, unto thyself. O give me such conviction as may end in sound conversion; and let me experience in myself that grace of God which bringeth salvation. I want thy grace, O Lord; and I shall want it to all eternity, if thou be not pleased to look graciously upon me in my blessed Redeemer. Thou wilt not have the less, how much soever thou bestowest: and thou canst not be stow thy grace upon any one that more needs it than myself. O God of all grace, that keepest mercy for thousands, hast thou not a blessing for me; a blessing for my perishing soul? For thy dear Son, my only Saviour's sake, let me find such grace in thy sight. O get thee everlasting glory, in so favouring the most unworthy of thy creatures. And whatever thou with- holdest, O deny me not thy saving grace, which, though so precious a treasure, is not too great or good for the God of infinite mercy to bestow. Do that work of thy grace thoroughly upon my heart, for which I may have cause to glorify thy name for evermore. Amen.”

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