“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”
(Psalm 42:1 ESV)
When embraced with the goodness, the mercy, the gracious love of God, it is only natural to cry out in praise. I just read in a devotion this morning, our theology must lead to doxology, the study of biblical doctrine is not an exercise in pointless intellectual speculation; rather, its end is to lead us to a greater knowledge and worship of the person and work of the Almighty.
On the flip side, though, when presented with the glory of God, filled with a longing to worship Him in Spirit and truth, we are confronted by reality: we are sinners, and even with our best of ambitions, our worship before God is less than what it ought to be.
This morning I came across the following prayer in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, that I wanted to share. It is my prayer, may it be yours as well.
I feel it is heaven to please thee,
and to be what thou wouldst have me be.
O that I were holy as thou art holy,
pure as Christ is pure,
perfect as thy Spirit is perfect!
These, I feel, are the best commands in thy Book,
and shall I break them? must I break them?
am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?
Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner,
that I grieve this blessed God,
who is infinite in goodness and grace!
O, if he would punish me for my sins,
it would not wound my heart so deep to offend him;
But though I sin continually,
he continually repeats his kindness to me.
At times I feel I could bear any suffering,
but how can I dishonor this glorious God?
What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings?
O that I could consecrate my soul and body to his service,
without restraint, for ever!
O that I could give myself up to him,
so as never more to attempt to be my own!
or have any will or affections
that are not perfectly conformed to his will and his love!
But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.
O may angels glorify him incessantly,
and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower
before the blessed King of heaven!
I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise;
But when I have done all I can to eternity
I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction of the homage
that the glorious God deserves.
Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love.