August 21, 2012

The Pastor's Wife's Prayer (and Manifesto)

Lord Jesus, I am, first and foremost, your disciple, and I will be your disciple whether my husband is a pastor or not. May I shun any notions that I must play a role, maintain a certain image, or be the perfect Christian just because I'm the pastor's wife. May I never be a professional Christian, but rather simply a Christian, ever growing and abiding in you. May my heart submit to you and may my ministry overflow from that love that I receive from you.

Jesus, I have come to understand that my submission to you requires my death. As you modeled how to make yourself of no reputation, help me to follow your example. Sometimes it's so difficult to deny myself, to not desire respect or adoration, to not monitor or maintain my standing in the church or the community. By your power, help me to give my all--my very life-- to you.
I pray that what would characterize me most is a poverty of spirit: an awareness of my desperate need, an utter dependence on you, and a daily alertness that I can do nothing of value apart from you.

Lord, clarify in me the greatest goal in my ministry. Let my heart become quickly unsettled when I pursue good works, my reputation, numerical impact, or personal desires as the greatest goal or when I have no goal at all. Instead, make my greatest aim to live a life of big faith, one in which I trust you with abandon.

Father, I have many opportunities to speak about you and for you. May my words be saturated with the truth of your Word and may they accurately convey your character. Don't allow me to give pat answers or advise what I am myself not practicing. Help me to speak truth but to do so with great love and grace toward the hearers; let my ultimate concern be the good of others.

Help me to be a leader: to serve without looking to be served, to step out and call others to follow, to love wildly, to speak your truth when words are need. Help me to celebrate other women and the calls you've given them, not compete with them or feel threatened by their unique gifts. In fact, use me to equip them to become faithful ministers of the gospel.

Lord, I confess that I sometimes use ministry as an excuse to fear, to nurture resentments, or to pity myself. Many times, I want to give up or slink back. Help me. Strengthen me for the calling you've given. Remind me of the great gift and privilege this life is. Help me as I continue investing in others. Sustain me so that I may persevere until the finish line.

Father, cause me to need others so that I may abandon any notion that I am on my own or that I am required to have it all together because I'm the pastor's wife. Help me to be vulnerable, to share my struggles, and to ask for prayer from trusted friends. Allow me to experience the Body of Christ at work.

Finally, Lord, I ask that my eyes remain on you. May my validation and the power for my ministry come only from you, not from any standards I place on myself or from any I think others place on me. Help me not to love accomplishments, results, or pats on the back, but rather to love you and your pleasure alone.