Prayer for a Pastor’s Day Off

It is well known that pastor’s often struggle to rest. That is not an excuse but a reality. Over the years I have tried to collect my thoughts and commit these struggles to God in prayer. I offer this here for your encouragement.

God thank you for all you have done. You have sustained me through the labor and trials of the last week. You have kept me for yourself and answered my prayers. Thank you for the blessing of being your adopted son in Christ. Help me to rejoice in this freedom! Thank you for the honor of serving you and your church.  Help me to recognize all of your work as I rest from my work.

God, you have called me to yourself and invited me to rest. You have also commanded me to rest each week. You have given examples of sabbath rest in scripture for your people and the land. You have warned me not to rest in false hopes.  Fulfill all of this in me. I cannot do it on my own. Help me to rest my body, mind and spirit today in all that you are.

God I give you all of my cares and anxieties. Would you carry them? I struggle with truly resting because I worry about your people, the health of the church, the sin and sickness of our community, financial concerns, the opinions of others.  I commit all of these to your safe keeping. 

Forgive me for all of the places that my anxiety is due to sin and unbelief. Lord, I am sorry that I struggle to trust your promises. I am sorry that I struggle with something as simple as a day off because my confidence in you is so weak. I believe, help my unbelief!

Help me to trust in YOU and not in the effectiveness of my own plans or efforts.  I want my work for you to stand, but I know that only your power can make anything last.   Today, would you do everything that needs to be done while I am at rest. Show me that it is your work and not mine that brings victory.

Let every anxiety today turn my heart back to you in prayer.  

Give me the blessing of self-forgetfulness. Help me not to obsess about my successes or failures. Help me to be lost in the blessings of Your goodness, Your word, my family, and hobbies. Help me to have a day off from work, but not from you.

Merciful father, through rest give me the strength I need to work hard for you. Let my body and mind be restored and fit for more usefulness.

Lord help this day to point me toward the eternal rest that is mine in Christ. Help me not to despair when my days off are interrupted or imperfect. Help me not to fret when I can’t sleep or find myself distracted. Let these trials raise hope in me of the perfect rest that waits.

A Prayer with Insight

%22Help me know how to obtain relief from

The Valley of Vision book of Puritan Prayers is a goldmine.  I pick it up from time to time.  I read (and prayed) this one this morning and found a section that is worth sharing.

“Grant that I may never trust my heart,
depend upon any past experiences,
magnify any present resolutions,
but be strong in the grace of Jesus:
that I may know how to obtain relief
    from a guilty conscience
  without feeling reconciled to my imperfections.”

Emphasis mine.

You can read the whole prayer here at the Banner of Truth website.

Prayer: The All Good

The All-Good

Adapted from Valley of Vision

My God,
You have helped me to see that if there is anything good in honor and rejoicing that I should be amazed at the goodness of the one who gives them, and who can take them away;

That real happiness s not found so much in receiving good from you and in you, but in displaying your glory and virtue;
That it is an amazing thing to see God in a creature, speaking acting, filling, shining through it;
That nothing is truly good but you;
That I am near to good when I am near You;
That to be like you is a glorious thing;
This is my magnet, my attraction.

You are all my good in times of peace, my only support in days of distress, my only sufficiency when life shall end.

Help me to see how good your will is in every situation and circumstance, and even when it cuts across my own will. Teach me to be pleased with it.

Grant me to feel you in the fiery trials, in the rich supply of food, and in every “chance detail” of your plan, and to see that your many gifts and creatures are simply your hands and fingers holding and guiding me.

You are the bottomless fountain of all good, and I give myself to you out of love, for everything I have or own is yours: my possessions, my family, church, self, it all belongs to you to do with as you please.

If it is in line with your eternal plans, the intentions of your grace, and the great goals of you’re your glory, then please grant me the blessings of your comforts; if not then let me willingly give myself to your wiser arrangements.

Prayer: Love to Jesus

I enjoy the book “Valley of Vision” which is a collection of prayers from Christians several centuries ago. The book is wonderful, but the language can be antiquated and challenging to read. I occasionally use this to stir up my sluggish heart. I have decided to paraphrase some of them into more modern language for our use and thought I would share them with you.

“Love To Jesus”

Adapted from Valley of Vision

Lord Jesus,

If I love you, then my soul will seek you,
But can I seek you unless my love to you is kept alive for this purpose?

Do I really love you because you are good, and because you are the only one who can bring real good to me?

It would be right if you did not love me because I am vile and self centered; yet I do seek you and when I find you there is no wrath to consume me, only your sweet love.

You are like a huge rock that stands between the burning sun and my soul, and I live in the cool shade as your chosen one.

Whenever my mind works apart from you, it yields only deceit and delusions; and when my deep desires work apart from you the only result is lifeless actions.

O how much I need you to live within me, because I don’t naturally have eyes to see you; yet I live by faith in you, the one whose face shines brighter to me than a thousand suns.

Christ, when I see that all my life is full of sin and shame, then show me that you are full of all goodness and glory.

Keep me from believing the error that you only appear in glory to my soul when I experience a heart full of strange feelings, as if that was the activity of your grace and glory.

But let me see that you reveal your self most clearly during the eclipse of my personal pride and conceit, when the good and pleasurable things of this world fade away.

It is then that the Son truly breaks out in glory and shows that he is the one who outshines everything in creation; then he makes men spiritually poor and helps them find true riches in himself. Help me to be suspicious of myself, and to find everything good in you!