Brooding over my sin last Sunday morning I wondered if I’d deceived myself again. Would God really have me preach the gospel? Is what I feel humility due to the grace given me or fear that men will not like me? In my desperation I was drawn to the following prayer in The Valley of Vision entitled “A Minister’s Confession”:
I know that I often do thy work without thy power,
and sin by my dead, heartless, blind service,
my lack of inward light, love, delight,
my mind, heart, tongue moving without thy help.
I see sin in my heart in seeking the approbation of others;
This is my vileness, to make men’s opinion my rule,
whereas I should see what good I have done, and give thee glory,
consider what sin I have committed and mourn for that.
It is my deceit to preach, and pray
and to stir up others’ spiritual affections in order to beget commendations,
whereas my rule should be daily to consider myself more vile than any man in my own eyes.
But thou dost show thy power by my frailty,
so that the more feeble I am, the more fit to be used,
for thou dost pitch a tent of grace in my weakness.
Help me to rejoice in my infirmities and give thee praise,
to acknowledge my deficiencies before others and not be discouraged by them,
that they may see thy glory more clearly.
Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural,
whereby I can attempt things above my strength,
and bear evils beyond my strength,
acting for Christ in all,
and have his superior power to help me.
Let me learn of Paul
whose presence was mean,
his weakness great,
his utterance contemptible,
yet thou didst account him faithful and blessed.
Lord, let me lean on thee as he did,
and find my ministry thine.
Amen, and amen.