Grace For The Journey
I read this prayer from a puritan Christian recently …
I do not want to go back to my old ways and I sense this morning how easy it would be to do that. You know my heart, Lord, and that I fear a departure back into that blind place of my own flesh. I thought I would be there forever and You graciously rescued me, pulling me out and setting me upon the peak of what You desired to grant me. Lord Jesus, you opened my eyes and caused me to see things clearly for what they were so I cannot thump my chest today and take any credit for the transformation. What do I have that has not been given to me? There is no boasting in me but only this plea that You will not let me fall back into that awful place – not that place of my pre-conversion lostness but that more confounding place of my post-conversion religious shackles.”
I don’t know about you, but I can identify with this prayer. All of us are tempted to live life bound by “religious rules and regulation.” It is a place that many Christians constantly live in . . .
That place of “trying,” instead of “trusting”
That place of “labor,” instead of “love”
That place of “performance,” instead of “position.”
That place of religious “discipline,” without relational “devotion.”
That place of outward “piety,” without inward “purity.”
That place of theological certainty, without the fullness of joy.
That place of morning prayer, but no afternoon delight.
That place of speaking accurately for You, but rarely hearing affirmation from You.
That place of rules, standards, codes and conformity.
That place where I passed my own checklist, but regularly wondered where You were and what You might be doing.
That place of words of surrender, but retention of control.
That place of my sincerity, but the absence of Your glorious presence.
One thing I know today is that I do not want to go back to my old ways. I have tasted of the Lord – His love, His grace, His mercy, His joy, His peace, and His power. I never would have seen it had He not opened my eyes.
This is my prayer today . . .
“My heart’s desire is that God would use me to help others see it for what it is. They also want out but they are afraid of what those who remain behind will think of them, what they will say about them. Fill those dungeons with light and fling wide the gate so that nobody else wastes their remaining years there! Spirit of the Living God, I am finding so many to be afraid of You because of what they have heard or seen from others. Jesus makes them feel safe. Father makes them feel in control. But You? You are the enigma to them and they prefer that You remain still and silent, tacit and tame, theologically valid but theoretically animate in their lives.
“Your people need You. I need You. We are commanded to be filled with You, by You and seek the glory of Jesus in our lives. We cannot make it without You and, as we attempt to do so, we build religious monuments to our own abilities, gifting, accomplishments and legacies.
“Forbid it to be so any longer – make us to know our need for You. Let it gnaw at our spirits until we can no longer bear the wonder as to whether or not we are living in You. Show us the difference. Rob us of our religious sentimentality and give us burgeoning relationship with You. Burst our old wineskins and give us Your new wine so we may drink to the full. Satisfy us with Your divine goodness and love. Convince our hesitant hearts and expose to us that the hard-to-define element that we spiritually hunger for is You. We are actually longing for You, not things from You. Not Your gifts. Not Your fruit. Not Your power. Not Your supernatural workings. We long for You because You are our God.
“We reverence You as the thrice-holy God over all…but we cannot bear the thought of remaining below Your offer to us. It sounds so trite, maybe even theologically unsound at a surface level but I have to say it: I want more of You. I want more of You. I want more of You. Father, Son, Spirit…
I want more of You!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!