Archives For prayer

Father of Jesus,

Dawn is here again, but without your light within me

no outward light can benefit me;

Give me the saving lamp of your Spirit that I may see you,

the God of my salvation, the delight of my soul,

rejoicing over me in love.

I give my heart to your watchful care, for I know its treachery and power;

Guard its every opening from the wily enemy,

Give me quick awareness of his deadly arts,

Help me to recognize his bold disguise as an angel of light,

and command him to depart.

May my words and works allure others to the highest walks of faith and love!

May sluggish saints be inspired to greater diligence by my example!

May those of this world be won to delight in knowing you!

May the timid and wavering be warned of coming doom by my zeal for Jesus!

Cause me to be a mirror of your grace,

to show others the joy of being your servant,

May my lips be well-tuned instruments

sounding your praise,

Let a halo of heavenly-mindedness

sparkle around me

And a lamp of kindness be a sunbeam on my path.

Teach me the happy art of

attending to temporary things

with a mind intent on what is eternal.

Send me forth to have compassion

on the ignorant and miserable.

Help me to walk as Jesus walked,

my only Savior and perfect model,

his mind my inward guest

his meekness my clothing

Let my place of happiness be amongst the poor in spirit,

my delight the gentle ranks of the meek.

Let me always put others before myself,

and find in true humility

my inheritance of both earthly and heavenly worlds.

Source: The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Banner of Truth Trust, p. 248-249.

 

A Leader’s Honest Prayer

November 1, 2009 — 1 Comment

Lord, you are God and there is no other.

This morning’s rising sun declares your glory and reminds me of your Word and your Spirit. Nothing is hidden from their light and heat.

You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. I am so glad that you are God and I am not.

Lord, I feel compressed. The pressures, the demands, the expectations of my leadership role squeeze me like a vise. This is a high season of ministry to others. You have led me to make commitments: to travel, to speak, to observe, to listen, to coach, to serve, to support others in their high calling of following you. I have been careful to seek your leading for each commitment. Now it’s game time. No one else understands or can fully appreciate the path I must walk for the next two months… except for you. Lord, take me by the hand and lead me. I am your trusting child. Help me fulfill my commitments and bear fruit that glorifies your name.

Lord, I feel tension. Like everyone else, I experience tensions between being and doing, people and production, cause and community, quantity and quality, running hard and resting in you. Your servant captures my heartfelt sentiments:

There is the tension between the need for organizational hierarchy with all the power dynamics this creates and the mutuality and inter-dependence of life in community to which we as Christians are called. There is the tension of knowing how to “work the system” and entering into trustworthy relationships characterized by trust and a commitment to one another’s well-being. There is the tension between the need for an easy discipleship process through which we can efficiently herd lots of people and the patient, plodding and ultimately mysterious nature of the spiritual transformation process. And then there is the challenge of knowing how to speak of these things in fruitful ways inside places of power without becoming polarized in our relationships with one another.

Compression and tension. Aren’t those the same two opposing forces that allow architects to erect their masterpieces of concrete and steel? Is not this dynamic interaction the source of strength for the human body, with the skeleton allowing for compression while the muscles and sinews work in tension? Does not the studied, disciplined training of these opposing forces allow the athlete to gracefully run and jump? The painter to draw out the most delicate brushstrokes from the palette? The musician to ply and pluck her notes with power and sensitivity?

Ah, yes, Lord. They are one and the same. My soul resonates with the song of your servant David:

For who is God, but the Lord?
and who is a rock, except our God?
The God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Bring it on, Lord! Today awaits us!

Sources: Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Psalm 18:31-34

Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. Jesus in John 15

I have a confession to make—we’re a Facebook family. Not that we’re online all the time, but that is one of many avenues we use (in addition to texting, Skype video calls, and — decreasingly — email) to stay connected, keep up with one other, share pictures and stay in touch. With Travis away in college and me frequently traveling, we long to share life as it happens.

Recently Ann and I took a weekend away to assess how we were doing at connecting with the Lord, with each other and with friends. Jesus impressed upon me, or shall I say invited me, to deepen my times with him through memorizing Scripture again and devoting myself more fully to prayer. Abiding is all about staying connected to the true Source. As a result I’m enjoying a renewed zeal for Christ and genuine, loving interest in others.

One of my specific requests was for new non-CCC friendships. Guys need time to do stuff together, shoulder to shoulder. Frequent travel and other responsibilities mitigate against this. Neither sitting in church nor sipping lattes provides the anvil upon which lifelong guy friendships are forged. But the Lord in his goodness has inundated me with new connections in the past four weeks: neighbors, businessmen in the city, visitors staying in our home, and a tightly knit men’s prayer group on Monday mornings. God answers prayer.

“If…” the conditions are met, ask whatever you wish. What are you asking for?