We'll not live to be useless

A Prayer for the Church

A good number of years ago, probably during the early years of Jeff Howden’s ministry, we had a visiting preacher one Sunday morning. I no longer remember his name nor can I remember what the subject of his sermon was. However one thing stands out from his visit that morning. Before he left he gave each of us a slip of paper encouraging us to put it into our bibles somewhere we would come upon it from time to time.  On that slip of paper was a brief prayer ‘Lord, don’t let me live to be useless’!

I don’t know how many others kept that piece of paper or did more than give it a passing read but I was one who did keep it! I felt the Lord had laid it on my mind at the time and then again subsequently when I came upon it from time to time. I may have long lost that slip of paper but find myself coming back to the prayer again and again over the years, especially at times of stress, or when feelings of inadequacy come or when I just feel a bit down. Sometimes it just comes unbidden into my mind. Always though it brings the reminder that the Lord is there with me, knows me through and through and has a purpose for my life. Perhaps someone reading this may also feel moved to do what I did, make a note of the prayer, use it and keep it for future reference.

However my purpose in this blog is to take the prayer beyond the personal and offer it as a prayer which our church might adopt. In these times of Covid, of climate change, of ongoing violence, hate and wickedness in which we now find ourselves, it is easy to feel lost and helpless, even to experience despair. Yet the Lord is among us and undoubtedly has a purpose for us as a church. So I offer this prayer, dedicating it to that preacher who passed it on to our church years ago:

Lord, we are your church, please don’t let us live to be useless!