The Prayer of a Minor Prophet

A prayer by A.W. Tozer

Every now and then, I come across something that will not fit into the scope of Brokenbelievers. This is one of those times. I share it with my brothers and sisters who serve Jesus in any leadership capacity in the Church. I think it’s fitting that this be shared as we step into 2022. These are challenging times to serve him; but not dangerous–at least not yet.

The Prayer of a Minor Prophet was originally written on August 18, 1920. It still means a lot to ordained/non-ordained serving in the ministry. I suppose it still speaks to every leader in every Church. You may want to copy and keep this for those hard times that will come to each of us. Could it be that you might want to share this word with the leaders of your local fellowship?

The article was written on the day of Tozer’s ordination into the ministry.

O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

1897-1963

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen.

AMEN.

Written in 1950, Aiden Wilson Tozer was 23 years old when he was called to pastor a new church in Clarksburg, West Virginia. On August 18, 1920 at a campground a few miles outside Cleveland, Ohio, leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance scheduled an ordination service.

After the formal ceremony, Tozer slipped away from the crowd and found a quiet place to be alone with God. He never forgot what he prayed that evening and years later as the new editor for the Alliance Weekly, Tozer published his prayer in an article “For Pastors Only: Prayer of a Minor Prophet” (May 6, 1950).

Shield Your Joyous Ones

 battle

 Watch, O Lord, with those who wake or weep tonight, and give your angels and saints charge over those who slumber.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ,
Rest your weary ones,
Bless your dying ones,
Soothe your suffering ones,
Pity your afflicted ones,
Shield your joyous ones,
And all for your love’s sake. Amen.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Woven into this ancient ‘evening prayer’ is an idea of God matching up our every need with overflowing grace and kindness.  There is a pretty strong sense of God watching everyone! And there is also a “tending” sense that He has over all. God matches up to our every need, and His flock can be incredibly needy.

As I read this prayer, I seem to focus on the single phrase, “shield your joyous ones.”  To think that this joyful people need protection strikes me as odd.  Why do they even need a “shield?”  Of all people, don’t they have it together?

joyful_childAs I thought it through, I started to realize that joy is standing in the shadow of warfare. The joyful ones are companions– “buddies” who share the same ‘fox hole’ on enemy lines.  Nehemiah told those trying to build the city walls, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Joy connects with the desperate need of the moment; it is the muscle of all ministry.  And as a result, perhaps more vulnerable.

He didn’t say that the joy of the Lord is our happiness, or cheeriness, or merriment.  But rather, it would impart strength, and stiffen ones ability to go to war for our brothers and sisters, our churches and communities. There are certain epoxy resins that will only harden when a special light is used on them.  Maybe joy transforms into strength when we step toward our Father.

We need to spiritually protect and cover those who are His “joyous ones.”  They can be found sprinkled throughout our churches and ministries.  And they need us to shield them.  They seem to be quite exceptional, and seemingly invulnerable.  But that isn’t the case.  We need to pray for them. Joyful people inspire me in the battle.  They are the “special forces” in our fellowships.

aabryplain

When Life Moves Against You

On occasion lately I’ve had a crosswind. Naval aviators will say with a full confidence that taking off a carrier is one of life’s hardest experiences. When the catapult slams you it is best to take off directly into the wind.

That really makes me think. Could a headwind really be necessary? Do we really need  the wind in our hair and bugs in our teeth?

Many of us have certain hard issues. We can be confused easily enough and intimidated by what the Father wants from us. But He intends to lead and guide us off the deck. The Holy Spirit is our “top gun” school and He is the ultimate teacher.

I love this idea of Him as my closest Counselor and Helper. He whispers wisdom and love into my jagged heart. He orchestrates my daily events, to make them align to His will. “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

image

In Ephesians we are clearly told, “and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.” Eph. 3:19, NASB

Ybic, Bryan

P.S. Just one of my paintings. Hoping you don’t mind.

Flight Control

” But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
    They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; 
       they will run and not need rest; 
       they will walk and not become tired.”

Isaiah 40:31

To ‘renew’ your strength carries the idea of change– just as if you would change your clothes to go somewhere special.  The NCV translates this to “become strong again.”  I trade the clothes of weak patheticness, and wear intended strength that He gives.  God fully intends that we put on His greatness when we come before Him.

He does not want us to merely have a ‘changed life,’ but He really wants us to have an ‘exchanged life.’  He doesn’t intend to better us.  But He insists on exchanging His life for ours.  A trade if you will– the ugly for the pure, and the black for the white.    He absorbs our sin, and He gives us His righteousness.  We give Him desperate weakness, and He gives us an awesome strength.

But there is a time thing.  We will need to wait.  The transaction has already taken place.  It all has been transferred to your account.  Our waiting will never be too long.  The ultimate end will happen.  Until then, we must trust and obey, in anticipation of a wonderful thing.  We will not, or never be– ashamed.

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