From the REC book of Common Prayer
Prayer for Grace to Enable Us to Perform that Resolution
But, O God, who knowest the weakness and corruption of our nature,
and the manifold temptations with which we daily meet;
We humbly beseech thee to have compassion on our infirmities,
and to give us the constant assistance of thy Holy Spirit;
that we may be effectually restrained from sin,
and incited to our duty.
Imprint upon our hearts such a dread of thy judgements,
and such a grateful sense of they goodness to us,
as may make us both afraid and ashamed to offend thee.
And, above all, keep in our minds a lively remembrance of that great day,
in which we must give a strict account of our thoughts, words, and actions to him whom
thou hast appointed the Judge of the quick and dead,
thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Yesterday our family read this prayer and what struck me was the italicized sentence above. To have such dread of the judgement that is coming, that I start to see his merciful kindness toward me in my sinfulness, and in my gratefulness am both afraid AND ashamed to offend him.
It is hard to keep walking a path you were so sure God wanted you to walk, when your unsure of how to walk it. You were so sure of His voice at the beginning of it all and as you continue it gets harder to walk. You pray and plead and can’t see what He wants you to do and doubt creeps in.
It is in the middle of things that I believe He wants you to just keep walking. As in a long distance race, character is revealed here. The dross of sin is brought to the surface, and you are called to continue trusting that He has it worked out. His ultimate goal is the purity of your heart. Your task is but to obey. What a task it is! Obedience is never easy. As Nancy Wilson says in this wonderful post, “The Christian life is simple, but it is not easy”. Putting one foot in front of the other, fasting and praying every step of the way.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.