Self-Deprecation – A Puritan Prayers

Brian Wyatt

Sometimes I wonder, do we think way too highly of ourselves?  I think yes. In this prayer the Puritan writer is praying a prayer of deprecation, which basically means to lower in value, belittle or depreciate.  The thing is we really are broke and low in value, that is, in our natural state. (Un-saved state)

In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus tells us the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, at the end he says the following of the tax collector “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. (The Pharisee) For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

So I say, humble yourself and draw near to God. It is my prayer, that as you do, as James 4:8  says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

As you read the following, read it in a broken and contrite spirit because the Psalmist says, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

O Lord,
My every sense, member, faculty, affection is a snare to me,
I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below.
I covet honour and riches of the mighty,
and am proud and unmerciful to the rags of others;
If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or to see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain;
How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? what fuel for pride!
Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining!
Am I gifted? I lust after applause!
Am I unlearned? how I despise what I have not!
Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make my will my law, exclude others’ enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy!
Am I inferior? how much I grudge others’ pre-eminence!
Am I rich? how exalted I become!
Though knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions,
and that my greatest snare is myself.
I bewail that my apprehensions are dull,
my thoughts mean,
my affections stupid,
my expressions low,
my life unbeseeming;
Yet what canst though expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement?
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state,
but let me not forget my heavenly title,
or the grace that can deal with every sin.

The Valley of Vision is a selection of petitions and meditations in the Puritan tradition. This compilation of prayers is intended to teach and encourage Christians to be faithful in their private and family worship. If you’re interested you can find it at:

About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

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