God the Source of all Good

Sometimes we can be very discontent with life. But when we are discontent with life we are discontent with what God has given us. He promises to work for the good of those who love him, and so if we are discontent with what God has given us we are saying he doesn’t work for our good. We’re doubting his word.

This prayer addresses that. It thanks God (the opposite of discontent) for all he gives us. And when we do that again we’re taken down ‘to the valley’. We’re humbled as we realise that we’re not as great as we thought (which is often why we’re discontent – we think we deserve better). But the writer has to ask God to remind us that we need salvation every day, that we are sinful, that we need mercy. This doesn’t come naturally, so we need to keep asking God for it.

O Lord God, who lives in eternity,
The heavens declare your glory,
The earth declares your riches,
The universe is your temple;
Your presence fills everything,
Yet you have created life because it pleases you, and you have given happiness;
You have made me what I am, and given me what I have;
In you I live and move and have my being;
Your providence, your ordering of things for my good, has set the bounds of my life,
and has wisely organised all my affairs.

I thank you for your riches to me in Jesus,
for the clear revelation of him in your word,
where I see his Person, character, grace, glory,
humiliation, sufferings, death and resurrection;
Help me to know my need of salvation every day,
and to cry with Jacob ‘I’m horrible’,
with Peter, ‘I die’,
with the sinner, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’.
Control the love of sin in me,
Let me know my need to be changed as well as forgiven,
in order that I might serve and enjoy you for ever.
I come to you in the everlasting name of Jesus,
with nothing of my own to offer,
no works, no worthiness, no promises.

I am often going astray,
often knowingly going against your authority,
often abusing your goodness;
Much of my guilt arises from the privileges I have in you,
that I don’t think highly enough of them,
my failure to use them to my advantage,
But I am not careless about your favour, or regardless of your glory;
Stamp on me strongly a sense of your presence everywhere,
that you are with me on my path, my way, my lying down and my end.