I am Insufficient to the Task

Some Sundays after the service, I feel grateful and energized. Some days I feel like I need to retreat to my office and take a nap. Some days I feel like I need a punching bag.

Recently I have taken up the habit of reading either a prayer (currently out of Piercing Heaven) or soaking in a little poetry by a faithful Christian (currently Gerard Manley Hopkins). The prayer I read last Sunday was a great encouragement to me. I had this pressing sense that there were several people who needed a genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit for salvation and regeneration. And though I do what I can to facilitate that urging, I know there is nothing in my power that can make that happen. God will do what only God can do. If you are a pastor or minister, may this prayer from Piercing Heaven be an encouragement (or even correction) to you.

O Lord, how insufficient I am for this work. With what will I pierce the scales of Leviathan – or may my heart, hard as a millstone, feel what you desire it to feel?

Will I go and speak to the grave, and expect the dead to obey me and come forth?

Will I make a speech to the rocks, or lecture the mountains, and move them with arguments?

Will I make the blind see?

From the beginning of the world, no one has ever heard of opening the eyes of a person born blind. But, Lord, you can pierce the heart of the sinner.

I can draw the bow at random, but you direct the arrow between the crack of the armor.

Lord God, help! How can I leave them this way? If they will not hear me, still I pray that you will hear me. I pray that they might live in your sight! Lord, save them, or they perish.

Lord, have compassion, and save them out of the burning. Put forth your divine power, and the work will be done.

Slay the sin, and save the soul of the sinner. Amen.

-Joseph Alleine

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