More From My Dead Friends

There was something else I wanted to mention about the prayer life of the Puritans (see “Praying Like a Puritan,” June 30, 2011 blog). Not only was the content of their prayers biblically rich; so were their salutations.

Here are a few opening addresses from their prayers found in the book, “The Valley of Vision.” It’s best if you read them slowly:

O God Whose Will Conquers All”; “O Fountain of All Good”; “O Supreme Moving Cause”; “Thou Incomprehensible but Prayer-Hearing God”; “O Lover to the Uttermost”; “Thou Righteous and Holy Sovereign”; “O God of Unsearchable Greatness”; “O God of My Exodus”; “O Savior of Sinners”; “Glorious and Holy God”; “Searcher of Hearts”; “O Changeless God”; “Sovereign Lord”; “O Divine Lawgiver”; “Sovereign Commander of the Universe”; “Thou Great I AM”; “All Sufficient King”; “Lord Jesus, Great High Priest”; “Giver of All”; “Glorious Jehovah, My Covenant God”; “Lord of Immortality”; “O Lover of the Loveless”; “O God of the Open Ear”; “O God of My Delight”; “Thou Great Three-One”; “O God, My Exceeding Joy”; “O Maker and Upholder of All Things”; “Most Holy God”; “Thou Great and Only Potentate”; “King of Glory, Divine Majesty”; “O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with “Dear God”; I’m glad because that’s how most of my prayers begin. But I think the Puritans were on to something. And that something was this; when you start a prayer which acknowledges God’s greatness, or character, or one of His attributes—what follows is more likely to be a prayer which reflects the truth of that salutation.

In other words, when I pray to the “All Omnipotent and Only Sovereign One”; I may do so with more faith—actually believing He is able to help me in my distress. Likewise, prayers addressed to the “Man Upstairs” or to “Yo God” will more than likely reflect those salutations, too: “If you got the time, Big Fella, can you help me out?”

The point is this, why not open our prayers actually acknowledging something true about the One we are about to approach? Why not remind ourselves Who He really is? The point isn’t to impress or sound Ivy League; the point is to focus our heart and mind on our God Who really is the “Great and Mighty One” or “Abba” or “The One Who Knows Me Like No Other.” You get the idea.

How about opening your prayers like a Puritan for awhile? I’m going to. Your and my prayer life is about to get an upgrade.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
July 28, 2011



  1. Oh great and honorable teacher and leader of my church.
    I read your blog every week and this is something that I can add to my prayer life, thank you for bring this to our attention, Peter Y

  2. Another salutation for prayer that I like is the one Jesus taught his disciples: “Our Father who art in heaven…”
    I like this one because it reminds me that God is approachable (“our Father”) and yet holy and almighty (“hallowed be thy name”). It also redirects my thoughts to what really matters (“your kingdom come, your will be done”) instead of the comparatively petty things I am preoccupied with.

  3. Sometimes I start my prayer with just reading to God one of the prayers in the Valley of Vision. The puritan prayers get me into the right frame of mind to pray to our great and holy God. I highly recommend getting a copy of the Valley of Vision. You can also get a CD of Max McLean reading the prayers from the Valley of Vision, which is great to listen to in the car or listen to on an MP3 player while you work around the house or in the yard.

    I can still hear my father saying when he began his prayers: “My most gracious heavenly Father.” God has so many attributes that we could never mention them all in a lifetime of prayer.

    Thanks for this blog, we need to pray more and more earnestly!

  4. How uplifting it is to be encouraged toward higher things. The attributes of God expressed in these openings you mentioned cause the heart to settle and the soul to soar at the same time. We will never comprehend all that God is, but we can praise Him with what we do know. The floor on which saints kneel is low, but reaches to the highest heaven, because God hears. The “Valley of Vision” is a blessing to me. I didn’t know of it until we started coming to ERC.

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