The Valley of Vision
The Valley of Vision is a book of old Puritan prayers and devotions from various people. Some of the prayers date back to the early Puritan Movement in the sixteenth century, while there are others that are more recent from Charles Spurgeon from the late 1800s. One large part of the Puritan Movement was the emphasis on family worship as well as private devotion. Thus, practicing prayer and meditation was crucial to Puritan spirituality. The Valley of Vision is pure evidence of old Puritan doctrines. The prayers are very intimate and honest, reflecting the importance of private, personal devotion. Many of the writers focus on their own depravity and are very aware of personal sins and their need of a savior. Also, many of the prayers contain lots of theology, such as the trinity and election.
However, through the prayer book, one can also see how Puritans dealt with the problem of evil. It mentions everyone’s depravity and that everyone is in need of repentance and redemption from sins and evil. To the Puritans, the best counter against evil was to get “closer” to God which would make one more “Christ-like” which was done by prayer and devotion. The preface of the book states that “the soul learns to pray by praying; for prayer is communion with a transcendent and immanent God who on the ground of his nature and attributes calls forth all the powers of the redeemed soul in acts of total adoration and dedication”. The Puritans believed that prayer was a communion with God, a way to spend time with God and get to know Him more. Just like friends and family can help change and form a person’s mindset, the Puritans believed that more time spent with God would make one more heavenly minded. While the book might not show insight on theological ideas of why evil exists, it certainly shows how Puritans really believed that prayer was one of the best ways to counter evil.