Father of spirits, looking to Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
we lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
that we may run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Few, they tell us, finish well…
Lord, let us get home before dark.
Before the darkness of staining your honor,
shaming your name, and grieving your loving heart.
Before the darkness of a spirit grown mean and small,
fruit shriveled on the vine, bitter to the taste of our companions,
burden to be borne by those brave few who love us still.
Before the darkness of tattered gifts,
rust-locked, half-spent or ill-spent,
A life that once was used of God now set aside.
Grief for glories gone or fretting for a task God never gave.
Mourning in the hollow chambers of memory,
Gazing on the faded banners of victories long gone.
Cannot we run well to the end? Let us get home before dark.
- Adapted from Robertson McQuilkin’s Prayer
“Let Me Get Home Before Dark”
In corporate worship, we invest time in prayer. We do this because God commands us to seek Him in prayer. Prayer also serves as one of the main ways that we exercise our faith in His promises as well as an antidote for our anxious hearts (Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer is hard work and all of us struggle to pray well. Therefore, we constantly need our Lord’s guidance. This is why we regularly use the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for our own praying. According to His prayer, evil exists in the world and has its origin in the Evil One. All of us are prone to succumb to the devil’s agenda which is to profane God’s name, oppose God’s kingdom, resist God’s will, fail to forgive those who sin against us, and to fail to resist temptation.
On the contrary, Jesus’ prayer helps us to refocus on the Lord: His praise, His program, His plan, His provision, His pardon, and His protection. Today when you pray, remember that you are participating with our Lord in His uprising against the disorder of your hearts and your world. Ask Him to strengthen your capacity to trust Him for He has promised to rescue you from this perilous life on earth and bring you safely home to heaven.
Thanks to my good friend David Elmore I know of the esteemed Robert Hawker, an evangelical Anglican minister back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. His devotional The Poor Man’s Morning & Evening Portions can be assessed here:
Poor Man’s Morning & Evening Portions
Here is a lovely thought of his that I am thinking about and praying through this week:
- That I may have increasing views of the infinite dignity of His person, work, merit, offices, relations, characters, and in short, everything that relates to one so dear, so lovely, so glorious, and so suited to a poor sinner like me, as the Lord Jesus Christ is in all things.
Robert Hawker, The Poor Man’s Morning & Evening Portions
at birth we are all launched into a world
that is ringed with terror –
conflicts, accidents, assaults, disease, violence and death.
How easy it is to allow fear to dominate our lives:
The fear of rejection, failure, condemnation, pain and death.
Thank You that Your sword was awakened
against our Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us
so that we might experience
the certainty of your care.
Your lamb was slain to save wayward, stubborn sheep like us.
Grant us grace to trust
that everything is necessary that You send into our lives
and nothing is needful that You withhold.
May all our days be full of praise and delight in You
our Shepherd, King and God.
For we make our prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN.
‘We must pay the greatest attention to what we have heard,
so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).’
Drifting is the besetting sin of our day.
And as the metaphor suggests, it is not so much intentional as from unconcern. Christians neglect their anchor — Christ — and begin to quietly drift away.
— Kent Hughes
If you examined a hundred people
who had lost their faith in Christianity,
I wonder how many of them would have been reasoned out of it
by honest argument?
Do not most people simply drift away?
— C. S. Lewis
When our anchor begins to lift from our soul’s grasp
of the greatness and supremacy of Jesus Christ,
we become susceptible to subtle tows.
— Alexander Maclaren
Advice to a little girl: If you continue to love Jesus,
nothing much can go wrong with you and I hope you always do so.
— C. S. Lewis
I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene …
No man can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.
His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
— Albert Einstein
William Cowper says in one of his letters
that he once was friends with a man of fine taste
who confessed to him that
although he could not subscribe to the truth of Christianity,
he could never read this passage in Luke’s Gospel (the Emmaus Walk – Luke 24)
without being deeply affected by it,
and feeling that
if the stamp of divinity was impressed upon anything in the Scriptures,
it was upon that passage.
Below is a portion of Cowper’s poem entitled “Conversation.”
Read it slowly savoring each one and envisioning that memorable walk to Emmaus!
It happen’d on a solemn eventide,
Soon after He that was our surety died,
Two bosom friends, each pensively inclined,
The scene of all those sorrows left behind,
Sought their own village, busied as they went
In musings worthy of the great event:
They spake of him they loved, of him whose life,
Though blameless, had incurr’d perpetual strife,
Whose deeds had left, in spite of hostile arts,
A deep memorial graven on their hearts.
The recollection, like a vein of ore,
The farther traced enrich’d them still the more;
They thought him, and they justly thought him, one
Sent to do more than he appear’d to have done,
To exalt a people, and to place them high
Above all else, and wonder’d he should die.
Ere yet they brought their journey to an end,
A stranger join’d them, courteous as a friend,
And ask’d them with a kind engaging air
What their affliction was, and begg’d a share.
Inform’d, he gathered up the broken thread,
And truth and wisdom gracing all he said,
Explain’d, illustrated, and search’d so well
The tender theme on which they chose to dwell,
That reaching home, the night, they said is near,
We must not now be parted, sojourn here.
The new acquaintance soon became a guest,
And made so welcome at their simple feast,
He bless’d the bread, but vanish’d at the word,
And left them both exclaiming, ’Twas the Lord!
Did not our hearts feel all he deign’d to say,
Did they not burn within us by the way?
Are you depressed by reason of your sin?
Let not this discourage you, for his name is purposefully Jesus,
because he, and he alone, “shall save his people from their sins”
Listen to the old Puritan, Robert Hawker (1753-1827 AD):
“My soul,what do you know practically and personally
of this most blessed name of your Savior?
It is one thing to have heard of him as Jesus,
and another to know him to be Jesus…
Have you simply heard of Jesus or have you received him as Jesus
to the salvation of your soul?
Is not the very name of Jesus most precious to you?”
When you take the name of Jesus upon your lips,
you remind yourself that almighty God is eternally committed to your salvation. When you take the name of Emmanuel on your lips,
you are reminding yourself that God is perpetually with you.