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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, May 30, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own,
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my life; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

“Take My Life” (vv. 5–6) by Frances Ridley Havergal
Hymn 697, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

This hymn, written by Anglican poet Frances Ridley Havergal in 1874, has been a favorite of the church for the last 150 years. The first thing one must remember in order to get out of it the spiritual spark that was intended is that it is a prayer—a prayer that invites us to give all of ourselves to God. Now, let us apply this “all in” attitude to the power we are promised when we pray for others. Christians through the ages have called it intercessory prayer.

The writing of this devotion was preceded by a burning urgency that came out of a Wednesday morning prayer time via Zoom. First, with the urgent request from one of our health workers for the energy and courage to keep fighting the battle and not give in to discouragement. Indeed, this plea sounded like correspondence from some great battlefront. These heroes who, each day, put their own lives at risk in order to save others, do they not deserve our most fervent prayers! When a loved one can’t take it anymore and manages to break into the ER or ICU, the battle moves to a whole new level that then requires a skillful, gentle comfort at the very time the medical person’s heart is breaking and morale is sinking, but she has to keep it together so she can move on to the next urgent need.

When we moved from that prayer request to the simple request of a nine-year-old girl in Winnetka for her little friend who is dying from a brain tumor, I think we all longed for the power of prayer to match our fervency of spirit. But our faith is so weak. As when the father in the Gospel cried out to Jesus to heal his epileptic son, “Lord, I believe . . . but help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24), Jesus demonstrates that his great love inflates our little prayers, our mustard seed faith. The very poignancy of these needs helped us rise above ourselves, to somehow believe that our little prayers were indeed being heard. Our little prayers are like the five loaves and two fish as the disciples looked out on the sea of a hungry humanity. But when we put them into the hands of Jesus, the little is multiplied until all have enough, with twelve basketsful of leftovers! This is what happens when we are “all in” for God, for others: miracles.

Let us pray. Dear God, take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my self and I will be, ever only all for thee. Amen!

Written by David Handley, Interim Minister for Pastoral Care

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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