Beauty in Praise of the Creator
Last week I had the joy of facilitating a 3-day Prayer Summit for dozens of pastors in the Little Rock area. This week, I will be doing the same for pastors in Calgary, Alberta. What a privilege to lead shepherds in extended, life-changing seasons of giving Christ our undivided attention through spontaneous Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, worship-based prayer.
During one of our segments, called a “code of silence,” I instructed the pastors to spend time alone with Christ in His Word and prayer, then come back to share what the Lord had been impressing on their hearts. Prior to our break we had enjoyed an intense season of praising God for His glory, confessing the ways we sometimes steal His glory and anticipating the day when all of our crowns would be laid at His feet.
When we reassembled, a trend emerged. Several of the leaders had written poetry. This was not a normal exercise for them, but their souls were stirred to pray in beautiful words that brought Christ glory. Below, you will see three of these amazing expressions of praise. I pray your heart will be stirred to allow the beauty of prayer-inspired words to flow from your heart also, in praise of our Creator.
One pastor wrote this hymn titled “Fullness”:
How can I, a fallen sinner, be the person I should be,
When my selfishness and pride have marred the image, Lord, of Thee?
Who can change my very nature? Make me different, heal my soul?
Who can override my passions? Who can cleanse me, make me whole?
Precious Spirit, bring Your fullness to the center of my heart!
Every thought and each affection, take them captive, fill each part.
Let my heart burn with a passion for Your kingdom and Your fame.
Gladly dying, fully living, for the glory of Your Name!
Use my life, Lord, as a window, through which all the world can see
All the beauty of Your goodness, and Your grace that flows through me.
Let me fear, lest I take credit for the good that You have done;
All the praise and adoration, gladly handing to the Son!
© Pastor Bill Elliff – Summit Church, Little Rock, AR
Another leader wrote this reflection called “A Crown for Me…”:
The absurdity of a crown for me is something I can’t get over. The scene is ridiculous despite its splendor. How long will it take, and how much will it thrill You, I cannot imagine.
There we are, all before You waiting in line. With all rights, each one of us will step to Your throne and You will delight in the pomp and tell stories of what we did in service to You and Your Kingdom, placing a crown on each… Will it be one at a time or somehow all at once? I wonder what the deafening noise will be as our crowns fall clanging at Your feet…
How many millions of them awarded then discarded in exchange for simply being in Your presence?
But the absurdity is what gets me…
It seems almost a joke, but it’s not the sort You play. So I wonder, how is it that You award us for what is impossible for us to do? How is it that You take the dead, made alive by placing Your very Life in us, and somehow honor us in what only You could do? We are marionettes given credit for our own actions in the skit.
How absurd that we will live with You forever…
How absurd that You’ve taken up residence in us…
How absurd it is that You will one day place a crown on me I cannot bear to wear…
How absurd that I will reign…
How absurd that You love me…
Thank You, thank You, thank You,
for Your Holy absurdity.
©Guy Lyons – Little Rock, AR
Another pastor wrote and shared these words:
You are big. I am small. You are almighty. I am weak. You are HOLY, perfect, pure, unchanging, unwavering, steadfast, reliable, dependable, faithful. You are working to bring all things in heaven and on earth under one head, CHRIST. You are reconciling the world back to Yourself. You are redeeming a lost humanity. You are making a new society. You are putting Your glory on display.
May I be a vessel, an instrument in Your hands, used for Your glory… For Your work… For Your mission… For Your purposes. To accomplish Your will. Let Your love, light, life, glory, truth, will, power, peace, wisdom emerge from the innermost parts of my being into my character, attitudes, will, mind, emotions… Into my interactions, relationships, conversations, disposition, demeanor, countenance, words, deeds, choices… Manifesting Your Kingdom’s produce, fruit, outcomes, results… Your glory on display… Your will done… Hearts drawn near. Lost found. Captives set free. Wounded healed. Broken made whole. Distant brought near. Enemies reconciled. Warring finding peace. Despairing finding hope.
So, Lord, where do I go from here to get where You want me to be?
(The Lord responds:)
“Create space for Me to work in you and through you. Practice My presence. Pray without ceasing. Be still and know that I am God. Be fully present in every endeavor. Knowing that if you are walking with Me, then in that moment, you’re doing the one thing I want you to do… Running, doing pushups, cleaning the toilet, talking unhurriedly with your wife and children at the dinner table, composing an email or text message, teaching My word, listening to one of My broken children telling their story. My son, don’t be so quick to check things off your task list – scurrying to the next thing. Breathe deeply. Walk slowly sometimes. Look more intently into the eyes of the people you love. See Me in them. See also their pain. Take time to know and be known. Go deeper, not wider. Don’t leave Me behind. Walk at My pace. Let My Spirit have His way in you. I am all-satisfying, sufficient, and secure. Let Me be your Delight. Your joy. Give Me your utmost for my Highest. Empty self so I can fill you with Myself. I am Holy. I am your Father. I love you as you are, yet have so much more to offer you; all the riches of My Kingdom, My Presence, My power, My pleasure, My provision, My peace. As My child, made and remade in My image, I look forward to being with you, filling you, and using you for My Delight and yours.”
Ok, Lord. Deal!
©Pastor Keith Lape – River City Church, Little Rock, AR