By Holly Culhane
I’ve found that my day is greatly affected by how it begins. It seems the very first thing I think or say after opening my eyes each morning either brings a sense of joy and delight or a cloud of negativity and pessimism over the encounters that follow.
Experience has taught me what works best. This shepherd leader-in-training needs time with the Father, beginning the moment I wake. My personal and private interactions with Him, moving from praise and thanksgiving to confession and supplication, coupled with an acknowledgement of my desire to yield to His will, His way, all day, produce the best outcome – for me and those around me.
With my own experience in mind, I was intrigued when a colleague and friend shared a prayer that someone had recently passed on to him. As I read the attachment to his email, I knew within seconds that this prayer would be a new addition to my morning time with the Divine.
This beautiful poem-like petition to our Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd came from The Valley of Vision, a book of Puritan prayers that I had been introduced to just days before. And it came on the heels of a challenge from Tish Harrison Warren in her book, Prayer in the Night, not to quickly discount liturgical prayers.
I share it with you below and hope that as a fellow shepherd leader, one who most likely influences many more than realized, this prayer will speak to your soul as it did mine – and the home, work environment, church, and community you touch will be forever be changed…
As I cross the threshold of this day,
I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to thy care;
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to thy ways;
Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay;
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound thy praise;
Let those around me see me living by thy Spirit,
Trampling the world underfoot,
Unconfirmed to lying vanities,
Transformed by a renewed mind,
Clad in the entire armour of God,
Shining as a never-dimmed light,
Showing holiness in all my doings.
Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain.
In needful transactions let my affection be in heaven,
And my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
My gaze fixed on unseen things,
My eyes open to the emptiness, fragility, mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
Waiting for the coming of my Lord,
Listening for the last trumpet call,
Hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all of my communications according to thy wisdom,
And to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable*.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
And walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today,
Let this be my best day.
*to unjustly profit or profit in an unethical way