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The Prayer of a Convicted Sinner

A recent book titled Piercing Heaven shares favorite prayers from the Puritans. Many of them are amazing. As an example, here is Philip Doddridge with the prayer of a convicted sinner.

Injured King and almighty Judge, what can I say to the charges against me? Should I pretend to be offended, and defend myself? I do not dare. You know my foolishness. None of my sins is hidden from you.

My conscience tells me that denying my crimes would only increase them, and add new fuel to the fire of wrath I deserve.

I am more guilty than I can say. My heart speaks more than any accuser. And you, Lord, are much greater than my heart. You know it all.

What has my life been but rebellion against you? It is not this or that particular sin alone. From start to finish, nothing has been right. My whole soul has been disordered.

All my thoughts and affections, my desires, my pursuits—everything has been alienated from you.

I have acted as if I hated you—you who are infinitely the loveliest of all beings. As if I had been trying to wear out your wonderful patience.

My actions have been evil, my words yet more so. And my heart, how much more corrupt than either!

What a fountain of sin and original corruption is my heart. It mingled its bitter streams with the days of early childhood, and flows on even to this day. And I have been growing worse and worse, provoking your patience more and more.

I am astonished that your patience continues. If the offense were against me, I could not have endured it as you have. Had I been a prince, I would long since have done justice on any rebel whose crimes even faintly resembled mine. Had I been a parent, I would have long since cast off such an ungrateful child.

Why then, Lord, am I not cast out from your presence? Why am I not sealed up under an irreversible sentence of destruction! I owe my life to your indulgence.

But if there is yet any way of deliverance, any hope for so guilty a creature, may it be opened to me by your gospel and grace.

If any more humiliation or terror is needed for my salvation, may I bear it all! Wound my heart, Lord, so you can afterward heal it. Break it in pieces, if you will bind it up in the end. Amen.

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