I have that mental awareness of my need to depend fully on God, but the recognition of my own shortcomings, which will sometimes increase my dependence on God, will at other times bring doubt.
After the service today, I was left wondering... I sat down at the computer to start browsing some of my favorite blogs through Google Reader. The very first one I ran across was Challies.com who had just done a post titled "A Minister's Strength". In that post he quoted a prayer from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, which you may know, if you frequent this blog, is one of my favorite books. The prayer which he quoted is one that I hadn't noticed before, but was perfect for the moment. Here is that prayer:
When I am discouraged in my ministry and full of doubts of my self,
fasten me upon the rock of thy eternal election,
then my hands will not hang down,
and I shall have hope for myself and others.
Thou dost know thy people by name,
and wilt at the appointed season lead them out of a natural to a gracious state by thy effectual calling.
This is the ground of my salvation,
the object of my desire,
the motive of my ministry.
Keep me from high thoughts of myself or my work,
for I am nothing but sin and weakness;
in me no good dwells,
and my best works are but sin.
Humble me to the dust before thee.
Root and tear out the poisonous weed of self-righteousness,
and show me my utter nothingness;
Keep me sensible of my sinnership;
Sink me deeper into penitence and self-abhorence;
Break the Dagon of pride in pieces before the ark of thy presence;
Demolish the Babel of self-opinion, and scatter it to the wind;
Level to the ground my Jericho walls of a rebel heart;
Then grace, grace, will be my experience and cry.
I am a poor, feeble creature when faith is not in exercise,
like an eagle with pinioned wings;
Grant me to rest on thy power and faithfulness,
and to know that there are two things worth living for:
to further thy cause in the world,
and to do good to the souls and bodies of men;
This is my ministry, my life, my prayer, my end.
Grant me grace that I shall not fail.
Very fitting and a good reminder.