Morning Prayer – A prayer for Future Grace

A PRAYER FOR FUTURE GRACE

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…”  – 2 Timothy 4:2

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”  – Luke 21:14-15

But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. – Matthew 10:19-20

Sometimes, we simply do not know what’s coming.  I am learning that no matter how much I try to prepare, each day holds difficult surprises that will be beyond me.  It does no good to try to figure out what I will say or what I will do.  The challenge of those moments will be too great.  Rather than trying to anticipate these challenges, I am learning that I am better off to commit to prayer the challenges that are ahead of me.   I am learning to expect the unexpected.  And I am learning to prepare for the unexpected by praying for “Future Grace.”

My prayers for future grace goes something like this:

“Jesus, I don’t know what’s coming.  But you do.  I cannot prepare myself in the flesh.  But you can prepare me.  There is a storm coming today.  Some things are going to happen that I cannot anticipate.  I am going to be wounded by a friend.  I am going to be caught off guard by a nasty note or angry face.  Someone is going to ask me for more than I have.  My schedule is going to be interrupted at very inopportune moments.  A concerto of jangling discord is going to be played.  At that moment, please give me what I need, when I need it.  Help me to be courageous and yet humble.  Help me to fight for the Gospel, for Christ centrality, for Christ exaltation.  Help me to resist defending my honor, my reputation, my standing.  Help me to minister from a position of weakness, not strength.  Help me to see myself as a Chief Sinner so that I might quickly move to chief repentance.  Help me to love others and not to seek revenge.  Yet, Christ, help me to refuse to make concessions that evolve out of fear.  Help me to give up winning affirmation at any cost.  Help me to resist dreaming of a conflict free family, a conflict free church, or a conflict free world.  Instead, help me to believe in and stay committed to gospel resolution.  Help me to desire deep gospel unity, not flimsy external alliances.  Alliances suck.  They are weak and powerless and discrediting to the cause of Christ.  Help me to forsake alliances that protect me.  Help me to denounce alliances that empower me.  I don’t need a posse, I need Jesus…we need Jesus.  Help me to hear the gospel music of Jesus.  Sing it to me.  Sing it to the center of my soul.

There is a time coming today, when the evil one will viciously attack me.  I will be horribly prepared.  I won’t be looking.  My head will be turned in the wrong direction.  My eyes will be blind and my heart will be weak.  In that moment I will feel lost, like an orphaned kid, and indignant, like an embarrassed king.  At the same time, I will want to run away in fear and run forward in anger.  At that moment Jesus – and you know when it will be, I don’t – give me grace.  Give me grace to grip the Cross with both hands.  In that moment, sing the Gospel to the center of my soul and help me to obey the song of Christ, even if I feel stupid and dumb and goofy.  Prepare that meal of future grace and bury it in the the exact moment and in the exact place of my future need.  Help me have no trust in no other provision.  Help me to look only for Your provision and Yours alone.”

Morning Prayer – Sing a Gospel Song

A Prayerful Response to Psalm 19
“In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the Sun,
which is like a Bridegroom coming forth from His pavilion,
like a Champion rejoicing to run His course.”

As the Bridegroom Morning-star peeks above the horizon of a new dawn,
We hear the song of rising hope.
All of creation joins in tribute and exaltation.  So let us be counted in the throng.
Let us emerge from slumber into this new day with singing on our lips.
May Christ’s Gospel Song ring true from our hearts.
May our earthen frames, though aged and worn, course with the dance of New Life.
We are not afraid.  We are not alone.  We are not Despairing.
The Gospel is our redemptive song of Jubilee!
Rejoice!  Give Praise!
Out of His Chamber, the Bridegroom sings this blessed Morn, so let us sing along,
“We are Glad!  We are Loved!  We are Free!”

Valley of Vision Redux: Valley of Vision

Adapted from “Valley of Vision”, Valley of Vision – p. 1

Lord, High and Holy, meek and lowly,
You have brought me to the Valley of Vision,
Where I live in the depths that I might see You in the heights;
Where I am hemmed in by mountains of sin, I behold Your glory.

Let me learn by paradox…

  • That the way down is the way up,
  • That to be low is to be high,
  • That the broken heart is the healed heart,
  • That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
  • That the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
  • That to have nothing is to possess everything,
  • That to bear the Cross is to wear the Crown,
  • That to give is to receive,
  • That the Valley is the place of Vision,

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Morning Prayer – Identifying with the suffering of others

Many of you are aware of my recent bout with kidney stones.  The stones emerged last week, the day before Easter, when I prayed that Christ would allow me to identify with Him in the suffering of his passion.  Eleven days later, on Monday night, I again went to bed in pain.  The week has been a blur; every day with intermittent fever and the enduring the grip of sometimes nagging, sometimes crippling pain.  Every night, shuffling off to bed, half asleep – half awake, while little knives stabbed into my lower back.  Every morning waking up at 4 am, an invisible zombie eating into my kidney.  Monday night was no exception.  Before going to bed, I thought to myself, “What would it be like to live with this pain the rest of my life – to know that every day would be a battle against physical misery?  There must be so many in the world who do.”

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Valley of Vison – “Hold Fast Thy Mirror before My Soul”

Adapted from “Self Knowledge”, Valley of Vision – p. 69

Searcher of Hearts, hold Thy mirror before my soul…

You are so good to give me a glimpse of myself;
Revealing my Sin as my greatest evil,
Revealing Yourself as my greatest good;
As I gaze at my reflection,
I have cause to loathe myself and find no reason to seek self-honor,
For no one should desire to commend their own dunghill.

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Valley of Vision – “Continual Repentance”

Adapted from “Continual Repentance”
The Valley of Vision p. 76 (my paraphrase)

O God of Grace,
You have counted my sin to my Substitute
You have counted His righteousness to me
You have Clothed me with a Bridegroom’s Robe
You have Decked me with the Jewels of Holiness.

  • But in my Flesh – I am still in Rags
    • My best prayers, stained with sin;
    • My best tears, filled with impurity
    • My confessions of wrong, aggravated with pride
    • My receiving of the Spirit, subverted with selfishness

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Afternoon Prayer – A prayer about being less stupid

A PRAYER ABOUT BEING LESS STUPIDby Scotty Smith

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31

Heavenly Father, first of all, I’m so grateful to be able to call you Father… Abba, Father, as I begin this day. There’s no greater privilege, there’s no safer refuge, there’s no better address than to call your heart my home.

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