The editors at Banner of Truth received a request this past week from Billy Graham's circle of close friends to use an excerpt from The Valley of Vision at the funeral of the evangelist's beloved wife, Ruth Bell Graham. The Valley of Vision, a little collection of Puritan prayers, is a classic of deep and practical devotion. Reading this prayer, I think you'll agree--and you'll understand why the Graham family chose it:
Thou hast promised thy beloved sleep;
Give me restoring rest needful for tomorrow’s toil.
If dreams be mine, let them not be tinged with evil.
Let thy Spirit make my time of repose
A blessed temple of his holy presence.
May my frequent lying down make me familiar with death,
The bed I approach remind my of the grave,
The eyes I now close picture to me their final closing.
Keep me always ready, waiting for admittance to they presence.
Weaken my attachment to earthly things.
May I hold life loosely in my hand,
Knowing that I receive it on condition of its surrender.
As pain and suffering betoken transitory health,
May I not shrink from a death that introduces me
To the freshness of eternal youth.
I retire this night in full assurance of one day’s awakening with thee.
All glory for this blessed hope,
For the gospel of grace,
For thine unspeakable gift of Jesus,
For the fellowship of the Trinity.
Withhold not thy mercies in the night season;
Thy hand never wearies,
Thy power needs no repose,
Thine eye never sleeps.
Help me when I helpless lie,
When my conscience accuses me of sin,
When my mind is harassed by foreboding thoughts,
When my eyes are held awake by personal anxieties.
Show thyself to me as the God of all grace, love and power;
Thou hast a balm for every wound,
A solace for all anguish,
A remedy for every pain,
A peace for all disquietude.
Permit me to commit myself to thee awake or sleep.