O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old ... For by their own sword they did not possess the land, & their own arm did not save them; but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them ... I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me ... Arouse Yourself ... Awake, do not reject us forever ... For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help, & redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness. (Psalm 44, portions)
Last night I dreamed the work at this church was judged only average. It is what I often feel. Only average. What is this, Lord? Would you explain it to me?
I have cast myself on You as best as I know how in this ministry. I have struggled against sin & worked hard & prayed constantly & fed my soul on Your word! I have rallied the team & counseled the broken & worked to equip leaders! I have preached as well as I am able, planned as thoroughly as time allows, & set prayer as my first thing over all. And yet, here we are a year later... only average.
I know, Father: It's been only a year. You're only interim & a commuting pastor, at that. It's small-church ministry with decades of conditioning. It's an elderly group in a changing demographic. On & on the voices go; & yet, am I not Your warrior, Lord? Am I not Your chosen one for this place & time? Have You not laid this path before my feet? It is not as though I or these have forgotten You. Do they not pray? Do they not long for more of You?
Please, O Lord, open the floodgates of Your blessing upon this congregation & upon the community that surrounds it! Please, God of my strength, pour Your Holy Spirit out in us with great power! Please, Shepherd of all my ways, lead us to miraculous success that proclaims the greatness of You, the God who blesses the humble! I do not trust in my own devices, Lord. You alone can turn the hearts of people. Do please turn them!
How my desire brims within me! My God, my God! Overlook my many transgressions! Honor the prayers of the humble! Those of us who see with the imagination of our spirits call upon You! You are the God who took Joseph from slavery to a place of honor & authority! You are the God who delivered Israel from Egypt through miraculous signs. You are the God of Abraham & Moses & Joshua & Gideon! You are the God who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem through Nehemiah! Please be that God to me, Father!
I call You Father because I am Your son. You have adopted me & given me a place in Your courts. I approach as a son to his kingly Father. I ask for Your kingdom to rise up here! I ask for 200 transformed community members before next summer! These are the days of Your miraculous hand! Do not let me be ashamed, Lord!