“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When evening came, he was there alone…”
(Matthew 14:23 ESV)
This Sunday, following worship, the Sayler clan will be packing up and heading out to Colorado for some much needed vacation time together. We’re looking forward to seeing family, celebrating Christi’s Grandmother’s 90th birthday, and enjoying the rarified air of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Now, I don’t equate myself to the Lord by any means, but I do try to learn from Him. We see several times in Scripture that Jesus would go off to pray, sometimes with a few of his disciples, sometimes all alone. If Jesus, who so perfectly communed with God as to never stray from His divine will, needed to take time to be strengthened in prayer, how much more do I, a sinner redeemed by the grace of God, need to find this time as well.
I plan to take a couple of books to read, my Bible and prayer journal – but I hope to leave work at work. The past few months have been an exhausting whirlwind, and there have been some tough blows to deal with. In these struggles I have found that I have too often been relying on my own strength, and not on the Lord, that needs to change. This time away is more than just vacation, it is a time for spiritual renewal and drawing closer to the Lord who is my strength and my shield.
Last week I shared with you a prayer from the book, The Valley of Vision. This week, I share another, this one entitled A Minister’s Prayer.
O my Lord,
Let not my ministry be approved only by men,
or merely win the esteem and affections of people;
But do the work of grace in their hearts,
call in thy elect,
seal and edify the regenerate ones,
and command eternal blessings on their souls.
Save me from self-opinion and self-seeking;
Water the hearts of those who hear thy Word,
that seed sown in weakness may be raised in power;
Cause me and those who hear me
to behold thee here in the light of special faith,
and hereafter in the blasé of endless glory;
Make my every sermon a means of grace to myself,
and help me to experience the power of thy dying love,
for thy blood is balm,
thy presence bliss,
thy smile heaven,
thy cross the place where truth and mercy meet.
Look upon the doubts and discouragements of my ministry
and keep me from self-importance;
I beg pardon for my many sins, omissions, infirmities,
as a man, as a minister;
Command thy blessing on my weak, unworthy labours,
and on the message of salvation given;
Stay with thy people,
and may thy presence be their portion and mine.
When I preach to others
let not my words be merely elegant and masterly,
my reasoning polished and refined,
my performance powerless and tasteless,
but may I exalt thee and humble sinners.
O Lord of power and grace,
all hearts are in thy hands,
all events at thy disposal,
set the seal of thy almighty will upon my ministry.