O Changeless God,
Under the conviction of the Spirit I learn that
The more I do, the worse I am,
The more I know, the less I know,
The more holiness I have, the mores sinful I am,
The more I love, the more there is to love.
O wretched man that I am!
I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before You;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love your truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.
Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be a hypocrite,
Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanses them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell, for his is saved,
Who loves gospel preaching, churches, Christians, but lives unholy
My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,
No desire for worship,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,
Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,
And your truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.
– From The Valley of Vision, A Collection Of Puritan Prayers edited by Arthur Bennett