This is written for all wise servant leaders and those who ache to do God’s will
“Here am I,” said Mary;
“I am the Lord’s servant; as you have spoken, so be it.” Luke 1:38 (NEB)
I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants.
Though I have doubts and fear; I trust you will show me the way. But count on me Lord to seek clarifications as I pray daily to be “at-one-ment” with you.
I need not fear for my sustenance; my needs are to fulfill the needs of those who call out in the “wilderness.”
I surrender Lord. My plans are your plans. My wants are your wants. All I ask Lord is that you offer help along the way.
“Only when we are willing to change and invite God to do his good pleasure in us, will the perplexity of our minds and the ache in our hearts abate” (Richard H. Schmidt, Praises, Prayers & Curses, p.35).
I wish I could agree with Mr. Schmidt. It sounds very logical. It’s an easy out to all the perplexing questions about life and all that our eyes see about life. But, then Psalm 13:2 rang strongly in my ears:
“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”
It may be a lifetime for me—because I am so stubborn. I want my cake now. What does God want with me (I have been studying Job)? I am a decent human being. I am no different from anyone else.
If God wants something from me—WHY DOESN’T GOD SPEAK CLEARLY? Why must I try to figure out this puzzle? Why must I play this game? I meditate daily; I am obedient to the commandments, yet, this loving God and the life that I live seem not to be in sync.
What do you have me to do Lord? What would you have me to do? Remove my fears; dampen my will; so I can be obedient to what you want me to do. And then God speaks:
You must remain flexible, teachable. I am the potter and you are the clay (Jeremiah 18:1-6).
- God Is My Refuge (markbyrd.wordpress.com)
Should I be delighted that God has chosen me for this journey? What journey you say? I don’t know, but I am on this journey with God.
This journey is about discerning God’s will for my life. This journey is about waiting and trusting God to meet my needs; to be obedient to that “special prompting.” This journey is about me not being in charge; to not be my stubborn self, but to trust the God I cannot see, the one who promised me, many years ago, to be with me always to the end of my time. It is this God, the one in our “Holy Bible,” who has set so many free.
So I am on this spiritual journey that requires me to be prayerful, open, alert and yes, faithful to the spirit’s prompting. A journey that requires me to be attuned to every facet of my life and “to pay attention on many levels: to consult scripture, to seek the advice of trusted advisors, to heed the sensus fidelium (the collective sense of the faithful), to read widely and deeply the best ancient and contemporary thinking, to pray, to attend to the prick of conscience and to the yearnings and dreamings of (my) heart, to watch, to wait, to listen.”*
God, I like taking trips, but the stubborn, take charge person that I am is not ready to go on this particular journey. But you, oh Lord, in your wisdom has chosen this journey for me. I worry about my health, the loss of friendship and oh yes, security. Waiting, being patient and trusting that my needs will be provided by someone other than me is really scary. But yet, I take this journey. A journey that my “angel heart” has prepared me for–because my provisions, my comfort, my salvation is in your hand for “you are my shepherd and I have everything I need” (Psalm 23:1).
I pray that as I travel on this journey that I am faithful and can speak these same words as assuredly as Paul when he said: “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Should I be delighted?
* Wendy M Wright, in Rueben Job’s book: A Guide to Spiritual Discernment, 1996, p.86.
This short prayer came to me as I was reading Dr. Myles Munroe‘s book Becoming a Leader” and at the same time watching the inspirational movie, “The Ben Carson Story.” A very touching story about prayers, determination, od’s love and miracles.
I serve a wonderful God. He is a God of miracles. He is a God of love. He is a God of mysteries. He shares his mysteries and miracles to those that truly seek him out and to those who are not afraid to share God’s miracles and mysteries with others.
God, thank you for your gifts of mysteries and miracles; help us to embrace your gifts and to use your gifts to benefit humankind. Amen.
- What miracles have you experienced in life?
- I love a great story; what mysteries have God revealed to you?
- Are you using the gifts God has given you to benefit humankind?
In my church last week, the congregation tearfully said good-bye to two friends who had been dedicated and committed servants in our church. So as we said good bye to our faithful servants, it made me think about a recent sermon (http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/CityOnaHill/podcasts/512-sermon–if-god-says-its-okay-its-okay-1100.html) I heard, and I wondered; what will be the next thing in our departing friends’ lives.
Are you ready to answer that question for yourself? We traditionally said that God is going to do a new thing, but I am here to tell you that God is ready to do the next thing in your lives.
What is the next thing that God has for you? Oh, by the way, it may be new to you; but to God it is the next thing. So what’s the next thing for you?
- To start that business you have dreamed about
- To write that book or to start that special blog
- To start that new job in a far away place
- To be that special friend to someone who needs a confidant or to the one who is grieving
- To take on a leadership role in your job, your neighborhood or your faith community, or
- To move aside so someone new can lead in a new way, or
- To take time for a little respite to rejuvenate and wait on for your new assignment.
If you still unsure just be patient, be confident in God’s timing. God will let you know; for “who knows whether you have come to your position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Yes, this may be your time, to do the unthinkable, to do the next thing God has ordained for you. So slow down; take a deep breath and get ready for the next thing.
Some say God does not speak to modern man. They believe, that since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God no longer has anything to say. I refute that belief. God speaks to me through songs, through his Holy Words and through the inspirational writings of others.
God speaks to me through people, people like you and especially through those who practice the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
God speaks to me through nature; especially through the diversity of birds; through the various cloud formations, the beauty of God’s expansive forest with its trees and brushes. God speaks to me through his vast water ways and through his mighty hills and mountains. God even speaks to me through the death of loved ones.
How does God speak to you? They said we must be quiet; to be in a meditative state to hear from God. But for some, the chaos is required for God to speak to them; to obtain the compassion to right wrong, to inspire others.
Dave Kraft in his book Leaders Who Last (2010) writes that “it is vitally important that each of us discovers his own pathway to deep intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ…I try to use a combination of things, such as prayer walks, personal retreats, a daily devotional time, worshipful music, genuine community, or accountability with close and honest friends” (p.32).
So how do you hear God?
- Through music?
- Enjoying God’s creation?
- Being a part of a faith community?
- Through thinking and reflection?
It doesn’t matter. What does matter is to know that God still speaks to us today. Like in the “olden days” God is still seeking a relationship with us. He still wants to be a part of our lives. How does God speak to you?
Oh God, we need to hear from you. For it is through your Holy Presence within us that brings us joy, and instills in us a desire to serve your people and to change the world. Amen.
God, I don’t know who you are. You certainly are not the God of my youth. You are not the God of “what I expected.” Here’s what I do know. You are a God of love, full of grace; a God who expects people to do your calling, your bidding.
I appreciate your mystery. I respect your awesomeness. Your silence intrigues and complexes me. I want more, I need more. We want more; we need more of you so we can help others.
Therefore, I pray today that we strive to have more than just a conscious level of who you are. I pray that we strive to live at a deeper level whereby we will have a joyful, love affair with you. Where we are obedient to your calling and are willing to do more than we want to do because we understand, like Jesus, what a meaningful relationship with you is about.
- Is God the same person to you today as God was 5, 10 or 20 years ago? If different, what made that difference and how is that difference evident in you life?
- Who do you say God is?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent…Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Psalm 22:1-2; 9-10.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
As confusing as the Christian scriptures can be; is it any wonder that we have doubts and uncertainties? Is it any wonder that these scriptures give us the fortitude to gone on; to praise and trust our God?
God, I am glad that you are bigger than my doubts and uncertainties. I am glad that you are the great mystery that keeps me coming back for more. God, I am so glad that your ways are far beyond our comprehension. God I come to trust, that your way is “out of our league [and it is] best to trust [your] benevolence” (Chris Glaser, 1994).
I have come to believe that my doubts and uncertainties will assure me that I will have a lifetime; pardon me, an eternity to experience your love and to become one with you; even as I continually question the uncertainties of this world and the role I play in it. Let’s pray.
God, I am so glad that you are not in a box. Even the Israelites could not contain you. You are far greater than our imagination. You are far greater than the vocabulary we assign to you: infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent. You are the great mystery who understands all and I pray because of that, you will continue to shower us with your grace and mercy as we struggle through this period in our eternity called life. Amen.