The Great God

This prayer speaks to a great God. But to truly recognise how great God is, we need to see how rubbish we are. The first few lines might seem strange to our modern ears, but that’s because we think happiness is found in self-esteem. The Puritans knew what humans are really like, and ask God to help us to see that, to get rid of pride and see how awful we are. But does that leave them in misery? Far from it, because that prepares us for ‘God to live in us’! And there is no better place to be, because with him living in us we are completely safe, as the prayer goes on to say.

And what a great last line…


O fountain of all good,
Destroy in me every thought of my own greatness,
Break pride to pieces and scatter it in the wind,
Wipe out each clinging shred of self-righteousness,
Implant in me true humility of spirit,
Bring me down to self-loathing and self-abhorrence,
Open in me a fountain of repentant tears,
Break me, then bind me up;
Then my heart will be prepared for living for my God;
Then the Father can take up his home in me,
Then the blessed Jesus can come with his healing touch,
Then the Holy Spirit can descend with transforming grace;
O Holy Trinity, three persons and one God,
Live in me, a temple given over completely for your glory.

When you are with me, evil cannot live in me;
In your fellowship is the fullest joy,
Beneath your smile is a peaceful conscience,
By your side no fears can disturb me,
Apprehension cannot get rid of rest of mind,
With you my heart shall bloom with fragrance like a flower;
Make me ready for you to live in me, through repentance.

Nothing is bigger than your power,
Nothing is too great for you to do,
Nothing too good for you to give.
Your might knows no ends, and boundless is your love,
Limitless is your grace, and glorious is your saving name.
Let angels sing for sinners repenting, for prodigals restored,
backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released,
blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up,
the down cheered, the self-righteous stripped,
the formalist driven from a refuge of lies,
the ignorant enlightened,
and saints built up in their holy faith.

I ask great things of a great God.