I was invited to participate in a conference held in Kansas City entitled Godspeed. It was a very enjoyable time and I was fortunate to be able to take part teaching on God’s love, Indifference and Our Identity in Christ. However, for this musing, I want to share some insights that surfaced through a talk that Phil Strout, Executive Director of the Vineyard USA, gave on the first night of the conference.
During his talk Phil shared a couple of prayers that God had given to him over his years in ministry to help him stay the course, to lead well, keep him connected to Jesus and ordering his life in light of those prayers. Now I do not remember the exact wording of the prayers God gave to Phil but I remember thinking WOW! Those are so eloquent, powerful, insightful, even poetic. I will admit that I was a bit envious that God had given Phil such a wonderful gift and prayed a blessing upon Phil and Jan—their lives, family and ministry and then let the envy go.
Side Note: When I feel envy or jealousy arising within me I have found if immediately pray a blessing for the person those feelings are attached to helps me to let go of the envy and jealousy before it is able to take root.
Anyway, the next day at the conference as I was leading a workshop it suddenly dawned on me that God had given me a number of prayers too! Now sadly they are not as eloquent or holy as Phil’s prayers. I could definitely see Phil’s prayers turned into a needle point and hung proudly on the wall of any Christian’s home, the prayers God has given to me over the years—not so much.
Now my God given prayers have served me well over the years and at times I still make use of all three of them. Here they are:
The first one God gave to me as I started full time ministry as a senior pastor; God help me to remember you can speak truth through Jackasses. This proved very helpful and still comes in handy as I seek to listen to and receive criticism without being defensive.
The second prayer was a huge gift to me during a time God was really stretching me, calling me to leave the comfy confines of the boat and walk on water with Jesus. The poem was as follows; screw tim, GOD LOVES ME. This is part of a longer story but suffice to say this prayer has helped me to not care about what the “Tim’s “of the world think about me and instead to recall to heart and mind that God loves me and that is all that really matters. Also there was a question that I began to use in conjunction with this prayer—If I believed God really loved me right now what would I do/say right now? I do not know why but when I ask that question I always know the answer. I cannot say I always do it but at least I can choose.
The final prayer has been a great gift in this season of writing especially since I have not and do not see myself as a writer—spelling and grammar are beyond me. The prayer is this; Remind be Lord, that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly—this frees me to create, owning that it does not have to be perfect so I can get on with it. Now this doesn’t mean my goal is to do it poorly. I have a host of people who help that not be the case but this prayer releases me from the prison of perfection—the arch enemy of the good and at times I am amazed at what I and God co-create together. It speaks of the freedom of being a beginner, owning our limitation and trusting in the God of the fish and loaves to bless and break my meager offerings.
Well those are my prayer. I do not see any of them becoming a needle point worthy of hanging on a wall but they do serve as a wonderful reminder that God meets each of us uniquely and speaks to us in ways that touch our hearts, encourage our inner beings and enable us to love, follow and live Jesus in ever deepening ways—ways that empower us to love and serve others in freedom and grace.
What About You
What are the words, prayers, that God has given you over the years to help you keep your eyes on Jesus, trusting God and following as the Spirit leads? What are those words, prayers, scriptures that you are drawing from in this season of your life?
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