So what does it mean to pray like a Puritan? This is the subject of the book’s introduction and Elmer answers by saying that their aim was “neither casual nor perfunctory prayer. The prayers of the Puritans shook lives to the core, pled with a sovereign God for mercy, and praised him in the brightest sunshine of grace.”
Once met a prominent Christian—a Reformed Baptist theologian, even—who admitted something to me that sounded almost scandalous: He doesn’t care for The Pilgrim’s Progress. He read it as a student, he re-read it as an adult, and it just didn’t do much for him. And with that in view, here’s a confession of my own: I don’t really care for The Valley of Vision, that collection of Puritan prayers collected by Arthur Bennett. There are undoubtedly a few jewels in the collection, but most of the prayers just haven’t resonated with me. I set aside the book years ago and have only rarely returned to it.
It is probably for that reason that I approached Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans with a bit of skepticism.