“Lord, do for me what I cannot do for myself” – A prayer from a laid off youth pastor
Have you ever prayed this? I mean really, sincerely prayed this? If so, you likely know the sting of pain which follows but also the unexpected joy, peace and freedom eventually received.
I had the privilege of serving at my church for eight years and twenty-four days as a youth pastor. Most of those years were great years! God grew me, as well as giving me something to offer to the countless teens that crossed my path. I look back with great fondness…
At the start of my eighth year, there began what I call, a “stirring” within me. A low-grade, consistent knock at the door of my heart for something more—something different, which I couldn’t quite put to words. The knock began beating louder and more frequently and that’s when I prayed the scary, but welcomed prayer: God, do for me what I cannot do for myself.
On my eighth year and twenty-fifth day, the answer came—I was laid off. I felt stunned, shocked, hurt, and afraid. But in the midst I was also comforted and carried by a Power greater than myself.
Indeed, the Lord, did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. Ouch! But, in the days, weeks and months which followed a peace and joy came upon me above and beyond what I could imagine. Paul wrote, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Phil 4:6-7
WHAT IF we encouraged students to pray and actually live out this prayer? WHAT IF we lived it out ourselves? Scary huh? Don’t let it be. For it may become the very gift you’ve needed. How often do we preach to students “live by faith” but neglect to take that risk, pray that prayer, and to use a common analogy – get out of the comfort of our own “boat?” Is it possible that God has SO MUCH MORE for you and each student in your youth group than you or they can possibly imagine? Indeed. . .
I dare you to pray that prayer.