I have an old book called, A Diary of Private Prayer, by a man called John Baillie. In the very first prayer, for First Day: Morning there is this line: “For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life… I praise and worship Thee, O Lord”.
The poetry of that line struck me, and has stayed with me for years. For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life… I praise and worship Thee, O Lord.
…the great and mysterious opportunity of my life…
In Genesis 12:1 Abram is given this instruction, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land that I will show you.” That is all the information he had. And Abram did it – not knowing where God would take him.
In Matthew 4: 19 Jesus calls out to some fisherman, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They didn’t hesitate. They didn’t stop to ask, “What does that mean?” It says in v. 20, “At once they left their nets and followed Him.”
In Exodus 33, Moses is given the command to lead God’s people to the Promised Land, but in verse 3 the Lord tells Moses that He will not go with them, because they are disobedient and the Lord might destroy them along the way.
Moses responds, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here!”
And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
Abram did not know where God was leading him, but he trusted the God who called him to go.
The fishermen could not have known what it would mean to be “fishers of men”, but there was something about the one who called them that compelled them to follow.
Moses would not leave the place they had stopped to rest, unless the Holy Presence of God accompanied them.
When Moses had the assurance of God’s presence he said, “Now show me your glory.”
This is faith, not in the outcome, but in the One who called them. They believed that One who calls is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
For what lies ahead…
For what 2021 brings…
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life…
I praise and worship Thee, O Lord.
Now show me Your glory.
And this poem… this prayer…
I Need to Breathe Deeply
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for me to be,
that I may miss neither my neighbor’s gift
nor my enemy’s need.
a sense of humor
that adds perspective to compassion,
that adds persistence to courage,
quietness of spirit
that adds irrepressibility to hope,
openness of mind
that adds surprise to joy,
that with gladness of heart
I may link arm and aim
with the One who saw signs of your kingdom
in salt and yeast,
pearls and seeds,
travelers and tax collectors
sowers and harlots,
foreigners and fishermen,
and who opens my eyes with these signs
and my ears with the summons
to follow to something more
of justice and joy.
…from Guerillas of Grace by Ted Loder (2005)
Inhale: For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life…
Exhale: I praise and worship Thee, O Lord
That’s what I would have said…
And praying and longing for the day we can sit in the same room again, and say these things out loud together.
I just read this today and it is very apt where we currently are and looking forward into the New Year knowing the decisions we have to make in the coming few months. Now I need to practice breathing deeply…