Years ago, my grandfather-in-law, Pete Austin, gave me this prayer/poem from Henry van Dyke that he cherished and memorized. I came across it today in my studies. It encouraged and challenged my heart again and I hope it will do the same for you:
“These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveler’s load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
On all the brightness of the common day.”
Oh that the Lord might anoint us with His gladness.
As we face the modern world with all its trouble and turmoil
and with all its difficulties and sadness,
nothing is more important than
that we who call ourselves Christian,
and who claim the Name of Christ,
should be representing our faith in such a way before others
as to give them the impression that here is the solution,
and here is the answer.
In a world where everything has gone so sadly astray,
we should be standing out as men and women apart,
people characterized by a fundamental joy and certainty
in spite of conditions, in spite of adversity.
– Martin Lloyd-Jones
Phillip Brooks, an Episcopalian rector in Boston over 100 years ago,
and author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” wrote this about how pastors are to serve Christ’s church. His main thesis here can be extrapolated to any job:
I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher’s success
that he should thoroughly enjoy his work.
I mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its idea.
No man to whom the details of his task are repulsive
can do his task well constantly,
however full he may be of its spirit.
He may make one bold dash at it and carry it over all his disgusts,
but he cannot work on at it year after year, day after day.
Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure,
count it an essential element of your power,
if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister,
in the fervor of writing,
in the glow of speaking,
in standing before men and moving them,
and in contact with the young (and the old).
The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all.
Therefore, let us “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2)!
Almighty God, our Everlasting Father,
we acknowledge that for our joy
you have sent us a Comforter – the Holy Spirit.
You have multiplied your promises to us.
You have shown us the future happiness that awaits us in heaven.
You have given us a living fountain to cleanse us from sin.
But we have so quickly forgotten these realities that prompt joy in our hearts.
We confess that we have sinned against You
by allowing divisions,
to rob us of our joy in You.
We ask that you restore to us the joy of our salvation
and create within us a pure heart and a willing spirit.
Forgive us O Lord and open our hearts to experience the joy of forgiven sin.
We pray this in the name of the One who poured out His life for our unending joy,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Here in the cross is where every enemy of joy is overcome:
- Divine wrath, as he becomes a curse for us;
- Real guilt, as he becomes forgiveness for us;
- Lawbreaking, as he becomes righteousness for us;
- Estrangement from God, as he becomes reconciliation for us;
- Slavery to Satan, as he becomes redemption for us;
- Bondage to sin, as he becomes liberation for us;
- Pangs of conscience, as he becomes cleansing for us;
- Death, as he becomes the resurrection for us;
- Hell, as he becomes eternal life for us.”
– C.H. Spurgeon
A weekly, personal worship guide on “God’s Answer to the Menacing Giant Despair” from Isaiah 9:1-7.
God’s Answer to the Menacing Giant Despair