This review first ran in Spanish at The Gospel Coalition. I hope this book helps many Spanish speakers in the US and Latin America draw near to God!
I used to think praying the written prayers of others was cheating—like they were somehow less than true prayers in God’s eyes. I now find them very helpful. Here are five reasons:
- They give me a jumpstart in prayer when my heart and words stall.
- They give me words when I don’t have words due to tiredness or extreme emotions.
- They keep my prayers from all sounding the same.
- They cause me to pray for a wide variety of things I wouldn’t typically think to pray about.
- They serve as a mentor in prayer by giving me a proven model to follow.
Out of all the books of prayers out there, the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest is The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotionals compiled by Arthur Bennett and published by The Banner of Truth.
The collection of prayers are organized by ten different categories, some of which are “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, “Redemption and Reconciliation”, “Penitence and Deprication”, “Approach to God”, and “Gifts of Grace.” The prayers flow from hearts that yearn to please God and weave biblical truths together in beautiful ways to express the wide range of emotions the Christian faces: awe, regret, penitence, thanksgiving, desperation, joy, and more.
The title of the book comes from a prayer based on the words of Isaiah 22:1, and reads: The compiled prayers are from the works of Thomas Shepherd, Thomas Watson, Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, William Williams, Philip Doddridge, William Romaine, David Brainerd, Augustus Toplady, Christmas Evans, William Jay, Henry Law, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and more. Reading and praying The Valley of Vision is the next best thing to like joining a prayer group with spiritual giants of yesteryear. Because of that, the book has become a favorite among many Reformed Christians including John Piper, Tim Keller, D.A. Carson and Mark Dever:
‘The prayers in The Valley of Vision are steeped in Scripture, yet never succumb to mere formula. They are theologically fresh and vibrant, yet they are rooted in confessionalism. They range over a huge sweep of Christian experience and devotion, but they are never merely esoteric or cute. They brim with deep emotion and transparent passion, but they carefully avoid mere sentimentalism. This is a book that teaches readers to pray by example.’ — D. A. CARSON
‘When used slowly, for meditation and prayer, these pages have often been used by God’s Spirit to kindle my dry heart.’ — MARK DEVER
I personally enjoy praying The Valley of Vision to help me add rich, biblically-rooted substance to my prayers. The deep Trinitarian theology and gospel focus stir my heart and fill me with renewed affection for God while expressing those thoughts to the Creator.
The Valley of Vision is the ideal prayer book to have alongside the Bible and a journal for daily devotions or whenever. If you are looking for a practical and inspirational book to grow your faith and your prayer life, I can’t help but heartily recommend The Valley of Vision.
Related Post: 10 Things to Know About the Valley of Vision Prayer Book
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. —The Valley of Vision