Pray This 400 Year Old Prayer: “Lord, Help Me Live a Life that Honors You!”

The following  prayer was first offered back in the 1600’s.  It is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  These people knew God and they certainly knew how to pray.  We can learn a lot from them. They are written in old english.  I have updated  a few outdated words and changed the Thee’s and Thou’s to make it more 2011.  However, they still have the feel of that era.   This prayer,  “Man’s Great End”  along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennet…

Man’s Great End

Lord of all life,

There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,

that calls forth my fervent desires,

That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made –

to glorify you who gave me life,

and to do all the good I can for my fellow men;

Truly, life is not worth having

if it is not improved for this noble purpose.


Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of humanity!

Most people seem to live for themselves,

without much or any regard for your glory,

or for the good of others;

They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue

the riches, prestige, and pleasures of this life,

as if they believed that wealth, or greatness, or self-indulgence,

could make their immortal souls happy;

But, what false delusive dreams are these!

And in a little while, how miserable will those be that sleep in them,

for all our happiness consists in loving you,

and being holy as you are holy.


O may I never fall into the seduction and narcissism,

the carnality and foolishness of the present world!

It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness;

Time is a moment, a vapor,

and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles,

momentary blasts of wind,

from which nothing satisfactory can be derived;


Give me grace always to keep in covenant with you,

and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter,

together with all sinful pleasures or achievements.

Help me to know continually

that there can be no true happiness,

no fulfilling of your purpose for me,

apart from a life lived in and for Jesus Christ.

If you found this prayer helpful, you may also want to read and pray this one: 

A Prayer for The New Year: “Guide Me This Year, Lord.     You can also visit our prayer page:
Subscribe to this blog and get new prayers as they are posted. 

About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on January 8, 2011, in Christianity, Prayer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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