I’ve recently been reading and re-reading biographical sketches of pastors/missionaries of old. I’ve been reminded of their personal statements concerning their understanding of their duty before God. About two weeks ago I wrote a rough draft and working on fine tuning what this might look like from my vantage point. The following is a result of this exercise.
A Personal Statement Concerning My Calling…
OH LORD, on my own, I would never volunteer for such a matter as You have called me to. I have heard You and I hear You now with increasing fear.
OH LORD, I respond to You with submission. I ask for strength that I will refuse to take this calling as my own.
OH LORD, Like others, I refuse to see this calling as special because of who I am and will strive to remain humble as a messenger of Your revealed nature and have no expectation that anyone will receive me with joy.
OH LORD, my God, help me to not be a waster of Your time. This responsibility You have laid upon me, and are fitting me for, is not mine but Yours. Who am I to exercise my pride and arrogance and employ any means of men for the sovereign work of Yours?
OH LORD, help me speak a solemn vow to honor You in all my life; whether by increase or loss, life or death, liberty or imprisonment, help me resist my craving for the applause of men. Help me never to forget the craving is strong and fierce.
OH LORD, the wolf has clothed himself with wool, false sheep ignore the dangers and warnings of Your word. The pleasure of this life reigns supreme as they make light of You and Your word.
OH LORD, give me…
- sharp eyes to see the nearness of the enemy.
- ears to hear his deception.
- a nose to smell the foulness of his ways.
- a voice like yours that speaks with clarity and help that even the wandering sheep will recognize You and follow.
- courage to give faithful reports of what I see, hear, smell, and speak.
OH LORD, save me from error. The temptation is present everywhere I turn. Give me awareness of what lies dark across the landscape of the modern church that would disqualify me of this calling from You.
OH LORD, I put my hand to the plow, forbid I should look anywhere or at anyone but You.
- Help me resist the curse of compromise.
- Help me resist the lure of imitation.
- Help me avoid the trappings of professionalism.
- Help me to remember that I am an under-shepherd not a promoter; not an event manager, but a humble under-shepherd .
- Help me not to exchange my calling as a faithful herald for the profession of event promoter.
- Help me be steady and true to Your word, not a manager of the ways of men.
- Help me remain free from the bondage of popularity.
OH LORD, deliver me from the desire of things. Help me make the most of this day with Heaven in mind. With Your strength I resist the urge to waste another day in the cravings of laziness.
OH LORD, lead me to the place of prayer where I may battle for the souls of men. Teach me the benefit of discipline and the tragedy of gluttony.
OH LORD, I accept sleepless nights and no recognition in my days. Help me curb my criticism of others who don’t do as I do. Help me exercise caution as to not behaving harshly toward those who oppose me and with a quiet and gentle spirit.
OH LORD, help me to resist unnecessary expectations from Your church. Help me resist selfish ambitions for recognition and reward from my selfish, arrogant ways. Help me to respond with joy for the poor and resist pride or compromise with the generous.
OH LORD, I commit my remaining days to You, whether many or few; if asked to stand before the rich and famous or poor and lowly, I accept that this choice is not mine, nor do I desire to choose in fear that I choose wrongly. I am Your servant to do as You instruct. Your will is of my greatest desire. I want a hunger and a thirst for holiness and righteousness to direct me and constrain me. OH that I might choose the table of Heaven over the table of position, riches or fame.
OH LORD, even though elected to calling of under-shepherd to Your people, guard my heat from pride. Don’t let me forget the place from which You called me. That place in which I had to be rescued from because I was blind and had no craving for holiness.
OH LORD, fill me with the deposit of Heaven, the promise from You, the Holy Spirit. May I only speak the oracles of Heaven, ordered by the Holy Spirit, given by You, spoken by the Father.
OH LORD, I go forth in Your power to the nations to spread the gospel message of a Redeemer so long as I have breath of life and soundness of mind. Have me prepared to remain steady and true until You call me to Your heavenly residence.
Influenced by the writings of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Paul the Apostle, A.W. Tozer, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, Hudson Taylor, and various writing from “the Valley of Vision” (collection of puritan devotions/prayers)