|Our print of Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son|
When thou wouldst guide me I control myself,
When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself.
When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.
When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself,
When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will,
When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;
I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,
Instead of thee I look to man's approbation,
and am by nature an idolater.
Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.
Convince me that I cannot be my own god, or make myself happy,
nor my own Christ to restore my joy,
nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.
Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction....
Then take me to the cross and leave me there.
~from "Man a Nothing," Valley of Vision, p. 91
Most Holy Father, the first commandment is to love You with everything: all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength, but even after decades of receiving Your faithful love, I still behave all too often as though my wisdom and providence are better than Yours. Thank You for revealing my idolatry of self.
Can it be that the real reason I do not pray as I ought but am so easily distracted by chores or a dry mouth or growling tummy or chiming electronics is because I do not esteem prayer as the most important work of the day, but too often as a task to check off before I get on with the real work? Forgive me, Lord. Change me. Strengthen me to bear the answer.
Thank You for the great mercy of Your Spirit and Word to point out where I go astray, to lead me back to the path of righteousness, to give me the desire to walk there in the first place. Thank You for the saving life of Christ, whose death is all the propitiation this sinner can ever need. Thank You for bringing me back again to the cross. May it mark all my thoughts, words, intentions, and actions today with the sign that I am Yours, and You are mine.
In the name of the Great High Priest, who ever lives and intercedes for His people, I offer this prayer. Amen.
For further meditation, see "A Blogger's Prayer" at A Holy Experience, by Ann Voskamp