A great prayer to pray before reading and teaching God’s word – this time by John Calvin.
Oh Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fulness of light and wisdom, enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
“With reverence and humility” – finding this ‘advent corner*’ today strikes a particular note with me as I am grieving over so many people who are influential within the visible church, but who do not wish to allow God’s word any authority in the priorities, preaching, and practicalities of church life.
I admit that my sadness is not purely without selfishness and pride. I need to remove the plank in my own eye – to pray for help in this area in my life, to model this humility and reverence to my children. I also need to recognise where I am merely frustrated and hurt by the resulting opposition to the NTV that arises from this attitude in others.
BUT I am also grieved for the sake of those who refuse to allow God’s word to operate in their lives. For those who are satisfied with their personal idea of god and of his church. I am upset for the many people in our country who are being shortchanged (or worse) because others have taken it upon themselves to define what church is – rather than approach God’s word with reverence and humility – longing to be taught and shaped by him. I am grieved at the dishonour this brings to God’s name.
Oh Lord, so much of the visible church in this nation does not approach your word with reverence and humility. We come with pride because we are ‘well taught’ and know what it means, or we come ready to pick and choose the bits that fit. Please humble your people, please revive an obedience to your word amongst your churches in this country. Please help me to grow ever more humble and reverent and please help me to know when to oppose and challenge, and when to just keep plodding on. Thank you that Jesus is always enough – I don’t need people to approve of our ministry, I don’t need to see certain results, it is OK to make mistakes, it is OK to fail – Jesus is always enough. May my contentment in Him banish the frustration and disappointment I feel. May I be always passionate for your glorious cause, while remaining content in you – and so press on without giving in to despair or battle-weariness. You will build your church and the gates of hell will not prevail! I praise you, victorious, merciful Lord. May your name be hallowed, your Kingdom come and your will be done. Amen.
* See previous post: And Another…11th Jan 2017