O Lord God,

Thou art my protecting arm,

fortress, refuge, shield, buckler

Fight for me and my foes must flee;

Uphold me and I cannot fall;

Strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmovable;

Equip me and I shall receive no wound;

Stand by me and Satan will depart;

Anoint my lips with a song of salvation

and I shall shout thy victory;

Give me abhorrence of all evil, as a vile monster that defies they law,

casts off thy yoke,

defiles my nature,

spreads misery.

Teach me to look to Jesus on his cross

and so to know sin’s loathsomeness in they sight.

There is no pardon but through thy Son’s death,

no cleansing but in His precious blood, no atonement but his to expiate evil.

Show me the shame, the agony, the bruises of incarnate God,

that I may read boundless guilt in the boundless price;

That I may discern the deadly viper in its real malignity,

tear it with holy indignation from my breast,

resolutely turn from its every snare,

refuse to hold polluting dalliance with it.

Blessed Lord Jesus, at thy cross

may I be taught the awful miseries from which I am saved,

ponder what the word ‘lost’ implies,

see the fires of eternal destruction;

Then may I cling more closely to thy broken self,

adhere to thee with firmer faith,

be devoted to thee with total being,

detest sin as strongly as thy love to me is strong,

And may holiness be the atmosphere in which I live.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett


13 comments on “Conflict

  1. Dawn, I read this poem by Bennett through twice. It is SO powerful. May holiness be the atmosphere in which we ALL eventually learn to live. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nancy,

      I thought so, too. That is why I reproduced it. Sometimes one need not recreate the wheel. The prayer said what I wanted to say so eloquently and…as you say, powerfully.

  2. Reading this here a second time after reading it in my email, I found the pictures you chose to illustrate it really enhance the meaning. And I’ve been forgetting to mention: I love that photo you’re using in your header. Your photography just keeps reaching higher and higher plateaus!
    May the Lord’s Day be beautiful with blessings for you!

    • Dear Sylvia,

      Thanks for mentioning the pictures. I really struggled choosing them so to have you say they really enhanced the meaning of the prayer for you meant a lot to me. The header bridge is one that was taken in Harrisburg on my bike hike there. I love your visits here, Sylvia. Thanks for leaving a comment to let me know you were by.


  3. “That I may discern the deadly viper in its real malignity…”. Yes… That’s it, isn’t it. For politics, for the media, for conflicts of all sort. For the desensitization of parents and children. Without God, there is nothing to make us horrified. We must “discern the deadly viper in its real malignity.” And refuse to hold polluting dalliance with it. I will ponder more on that! Wonderful bits you pull from your collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. Wonderful!

  4. You know, I think this may be the essence of the whole poverty “thing,” too. We must discern what really needs to be done in each and every case. Indiscriminate giving is harmful. It can breed a malignant tumor that spreads and engulfs rather than guides and liberates. It’s too bad I can’t stay awake. This is worth the effort!

    • Hmmmmmm… Yes… Guiding and liberating……. Who do we actually satisfy when we give a hand out, rather than give a hand up! Is it ourselves… Our own guilty consciences? Are we the deadly viper there, and is “enabling” our real malignity? Hmmmmmm…… Pondering…

      • So well said, Carrie! The answer to all your questions, at least in my mind, is “yes”. We give hand outs to assuage our consciences and, thereby, make others sick. It’s like handing out antibiotics indiscriminately or giving a “relief” bottle to a newborn who is breastfeeding. It makes us feel like we have done something, but it didn’t help the situation in the least little bit.

  5. This is the stuff of which I struggle at the clinic! Some are obviously in need and some are obviously using us. I try to direct their efforts elsewhere (like the smokers who can afford cigarettes, but not their medicine). I pray that I am doing what is best for the patients, without compounding the problems. Our government seems to reward behavior that is not in keeping with what we believe is Godly behavior. We do not want to do that in the clinic, or in our personal lives. Lord, please help us to do Your will!

    • Amen, amen, amen. Lord please, help us to do Your will. Rather than methods that seem to promote moral erosion, Lord show us how to promote thankfulness and gratitude and responsible receiving as well as giving.

    • Seemingly rewarding those with ungodly behavior…it is a dilemma for a Christian. I look at it this way. Christ looks past a lot of my “stuff” and calls me to work alongside Him, not because I have gotten past my “stuff,” but simply because He can only work on me in relationship. The relationship is sustained by His blood and my acceptance of it as payment for my “stuff.” When I am working with others, I think it is up to me to look past a lot of “stuff” in the name of relationship. Things like cigarettes, body odor, uncontrolled behavior from mental illness, obesity, etc–that is the “stuff” I’m talking about. Working on the medical issues with the patients, I get to know them a little bit and, maybe, over time, I can get to the “stuff.” It sure took Jesus a long time to get to my “stuff” and He’s still chipping away at it. Can I do any less?

  6. Those things you list are not where I struggle, Dawn. Bring on the body odor. Bring on the obesity. Bring on the mental illness. It is “attitude” that puts a choke hold on me. the attitude that chooses cigarettes over meds and then needs help with meds.

    The attitude that a high school student has when he looks me square in the eye and says, “I ain’t gonna get me no job, ms. Brown. Why’uld I want to git up an go to work every day, like you do! I kin make more in two days …than you make in a month. Shiii…. I ain’t goin have no job!”

    Now as far as God is concerned, I reckon recoiling from that is “my” problem, not God’s. How I stick with it so as to actually serve (and make a difference for) those with attitude….. I believe that is my conundrum.

    Lord, keep us from trying to solve with money, that which needs to be solved with love for you and respect for your ways. Without you, there is nothing for people to be mortified about.

  7. I think all of the above come from the same place–environment. If one doesn’t care for oneself it comes out in sloppiness in all aspects of one’s life. I read an article written by Cynthia Tucker on the self-loathing of the black male. It was very insightful. Symptoms of it were just what you describe: an attitude about working, doing things for the easy “cool” like smoking and jiving rather than really accomplishing anything. I think you hit the nail on the head we must not compromise what we believe to be right while still loving them as best we can. If we can see what Christ sees when He looks at them perhaps that will help the recoil. I plan to keep trying.

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