The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature.
Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to "supply" prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
About the Author
Arthur Bennett (1915-1994) was a Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, sometime Rector of Little Munden and Sacombe, Hertfordshire, and was for seventeen years a tutor in Biblical Theology and Christian Doctrine at All Nations Christian College. He died in October 1994 aged 79. Canon Bennett has been highly appreciated across the world for his book of Puritan prayers The Valley of Vision. This title was published by the Trust in 1975 and it has been widely valued ever since. The quiet, devotional ethos of its pages was the ethos in which the author lived. Bennett did not live to see the wide influence the book was to have, particularly in the United States, following his death.
Arthur Bennett was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, and moved with his family to Barnsley when he was five years old. He left elementary school at the age of thirteen to work as a ‘lather boy’ in his father’s barber’s shop. He gave his life to Christ in his mid-teens at a Salvation Army mission in the town, and became convinced that God wanted him to serve in some form of Christian ministry.
In 1934 he joined the Church of England ‘Church Army,’ and was assigned to what was then the common practice of ‘caravan evangelism,’ becoming a member of a number of teams travelling around Britain. By the mid 1930’s he was spending considerable time in the villages of East Anglia, travelling in a horse-drawn caravan, with other church army cadets and a captain. They worked with the local parish churches and communities to share the gospel. It was while serving in the village of Elmsett, Suffolk, that Arthur met and fell in love with Margarette Jones (from Carmarthenshire in South Wales), who was teaching in the village school.
In 1940 Bennett was accepted by Clifton Theological College, Bristol, and completed a two-year course leading to ordination in the Church of England. That same year (1942), he and Margarette were married in St. Johns Church Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire. In thirty-nine years of ministry Arthur served the parishes of Christ Church, Huddersfield; St Mary’s, Chesham; Gunton, Lowestoft; Christ Church, Ware; and ultimately, through the years 1964-1981, All Saints, Little Munden, Hertfordshire. Through the latter period he was also a Lecturer at All Nations Christian College.
He retired to Clapham, Bedfordshire, but continued his writing and preaching. In 1992 he and Margarette celebrated 50 years of marriage and ministry together. After a short illness Arthur died in 1994 and was buried in the churchyard at Little Munden, Hertfordshire. The inscription on his gravestone reads, ‘Let me find thy joy in my valley.’ Margarette died in 1997 and the inscription ‘In Thy presence is fulness of joy’ was added to the headstone. They left five children and fourteen grandchildren.
At his funeral, the Bishop of St Albans said, ‘Never one to take centre stage, Arthur has always sought to deflect attention from himself to others, and supremely to the Lord Jesus Christ.’ In addition to The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett was the author of several titles by other publishers: Rural Evangelism (London: A.R. Mowbray, 1949), Table and Minister (London: Church Bookroom Press, 1963), Travels with a Horse-Drawn Caravan (Worthing: Churchman Publishing, 1989), and Calvary’s Hill (London: Avon Books, 1993).
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Publication Date: November 1975
ISBN 10: 0851512283
ISBN 13: 9780851512280
"The Valley of Vision is a wonderful collection of Puritan prayers which both help to shape and inform our own private devotions and, perhaps more importantly, aid pastors as they seek to lead their congregations in prayer and into the presence of God."
- Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary
"I cannot commend enough The Valley of Vision, which is a compilation of over two-hundred pages of Puritan prayers (each of which are one page in length). I pray through one of these prayers every day. Sometimes the prayers are so meaningful and relevant that I will pray through the same prayer for days. This is a wonderful aid to supplement one's own prayers. Indeed, these prayers will also teach one how to pray, and, at the same time, they teach theological truth. I cannot think of any Christian who would not benefit from these prayers."
- G. K. Beale, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary
"It’s amazing how frequently the prayers from the little book The Valley of Vision show up in our worship services.
The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers, and I would put them in that category. That is, they are thoughtful, reflective, and meditative. They’re even written in a certain kind of cadence, if you’ve ever noticed, which is probably very intentional, so that they might be used in corporate settings. But they came out of a deep heart of communion with God."
- John Piper, founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis Minnesota.
"The prayers in The Valley of Vision are steeped in Scripture, yet never succumb to mere formula. They are theologically fresh and vibrant, yet they are rooted in confessionalism. They range over a huge sweep of Christian experience and devotion, but they are never merely esoteric or cute. They brim with deep emotion and transparent passion, but they carefully avoid mere sentimentalism. This is a book that teaches readers to pray by example."
- D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"When used slowly, for meditation and prayer, these pages have often been used by God's Spirit to kindle my dry heart."
- Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC
"I have benefited from so many Banner of Truth books—the two volumes of Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan Paperbacks, and, of course, the Valley of Vision."
- Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, MI
"A wonderful aid in expressing our personal thoughts to God, a spiritual classic, both sober and inspiring."
- John D. Hannah, Dallas Theological Seminary