A Common Prayer

I mentioned to Meg recently that I think the past several months have been the most active of my life. Thankfully, it has not been a overwhelming time. Particularly important for keeping this busy time from becoming a burden has been daily meditation on God’s word and prayer. (For my counseling class we had an assignment to keep a journal of our times in private worship each day throughout the semester. It may seem that by making personal devotion to God an assignment would take the authenticity of the moment, but I don’t think this was the case. Disciplined devotion doesn’t have to be heartless.)

There is one specific prayer, however, that left my lips again and again throughout this bustling season. I spoke it like this, “Father, I am unworthy, but You are gracious. I’m unable, but You are powerful.”

Driving out to Iroquois High to try to connect with the young men there and call them to follow Christ, these words flew from my mouth over and over. As I prepared myself to declare the good news of Christ to so many in need of Him, I could not help but think of disqualified I am in and of myself. “I am unworthy,” I’d say to God.

As I pondered the difficulty of connecting with these guys who hardly knew me, who had such a different lives than me. “How can I reach them?” I’d think. “I am unable.”

“I am unworthy, but You are gracious.” Never could I accredit the merit to have such a glorious task as to get to utter “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim 1:11). But I remember that God in His mercy has called me to this. As I follow Christ, He is making me a fisher of men (Matt. 4:19). I am unworthy, but He is gracious.

“I am unable, but You are powerful.” I could herald the good news unto exasperation, but never could I open their hearts that they might pay attention and receive the word of God (Acts 16:14). I could plant and sow and plant sow, but God alone is able to give the growth (1 Cor. 3:7). I am unable, but He is powerful.

This prayer also flowed from my heart to God when I’d think of my relationship with my bride. How unworthy I am to hold such a precious position, to be her head even as Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). How unable I am to kill my selfish desires, to suffocate my self-pity, to hold back my complaints and harsh tones. “I am unworthy, but You are gracious. I am unable, but You are powerful.”

O my soul, disqualification is not an issue. God is gracious. O my soul, your impotency is no barrier. God is able. Remember that! Cling to Him who is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4) and is able to do far more than you could ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

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