A Sunday Morning Prayer for an Ashamed Workman

Gracious God and Heavenly Father, I bow before you wishing that in this past week I had done my best to present myself before you as an unashamed workman. I wish I could confess that I have spared no effort in my calling as a Minister of the Gospel, charged with correctly handling and proclaiming the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

But I can’t because I haven’t.

I have not been sufficiently impressed with the enormous responsibility of standing before God’s people to say, “This is what the Lord’s says” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

On the one hand, I have relied on my own skills to understand your word, not seeking the Spirit’s enlightening to learn and express the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). On the other hand, I have not used all my gifts, having been lazy in the study of the Scriptures, unwilling to dig a little deeper into the text to bring out new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52).

In my preparation my ear was more attuned to the accolades of man than the praise that comes from the only God (John 5:44).

I have allowed many things, including legitimate pursuits, to distract me from the needed study so that I might preach Christ from all the Scriptures (Luke 24:44).

I have studied to preach, rather than studied to know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).

I have been mechanical and professional in my preparation, withholding my affection from (2 Corinthians 6:12) God’s dear lambs and sheep (John 21:15-17).

It’s not just that I’ve been a hearer of your word and failed to do what it says (James 1:22); I’ve studied your word and will be teaching your word and all the while I have not given determined effort to put it into practice (Matthew 23:3).

I confess to my horrible shame that, even now, I am more bothered that my inadequate preparation will reflect poorly on myself than that it will distract from your glory and the blessing of your people (Acts 12:23).

And so, gracious God, as I prepare to go into the pulpit, what shall I say?

I pray that you would forgive me for my pastoral sins through the blood (Galatians 2:20) and righteousness (Philippians 3:9) of the Lord Jesus Christ who sent me to proclaim his Word (Ephesians 4:11).

I crave renovating grace as well as forgiving grace. I ask that you would grant me your Spirit so I may not be an ashamed workman in this coming week, that I, resisting the devil and fighting the flesh, may give myself wholly to the matters of the ministry so that everyone may see my progress (1 Timothy 4:15).

Repenting of my sins and thankful for your mercy,

I plead that you would receive glory as I present my faltering efforts to you (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Enable me to preach in weakness and fear, and with much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3).

Exalt your own name in the preaching of your word (Psalm 138:3).

Give me clarity of thought and expression (Colossians 4:4).

May I preach with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 2:4) so my hearers may receive it as the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Enable me to proclaim Christ (Colossians 1:28) so that he may have the pre-eminence in all things (Colossians 1:18).

With the Lord Jesus I cry out, “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28)

And I pray for your precious flock, whom you love (Revelation 20:9).

Bless them with the richness of your grace far beyond my preparations.

“I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done?” (2 Samuel 24:17) Why should they suffer for my failings

As the Lord Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and the people ate and were satisfied (John 6:11), so may Christ multiply my offering so that his people may be fed with the bread of God (John 6:33) and be satisfied.

I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus who, having made peace through the cross, now preaches peace. Amen.