The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: prayer

A Prayer for Asher

Heavenly Father…

Yet again you have graced me with a gift I did nothing to deserve. I hold in my arms my fourth child… my second son… Asher David Haefs. I find myself more in awe of your mystery and miracles every time I experience the wonder of a baby’s entrance into the world. It seems like the opposite should be true… I should be growing more accustomed to this by now… I should be used to it…

…but i’m not.

How one could ever become numb to revelations of glory is beyond me. The mountain range of your majesty looms larger with every peak I summit.

And… as I see more and more of your greatness, I simultaneously feel more and more of my depravity. Why me? Why would I be graced with such a gift? Why would I be entrusted with such a treasure? Why would you choose weakness such as me?

That’s when my heart hears your reply… “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Oh Lord, this is the prayer of my heart and the cry of my soul… that your power would be made known to this beautiful boy even when it when the only way for it to be seen is through my weakness! Exploit my weakness everyday if it means him seeing more of you! I know that I am merely a weak vessel of clay that’s ready to crack… still I have this treasure… that you would pour forth your power through the cracks in such a way that all may know it could obviously come only from you!

God, you must father this child, as you do all my children. You must guide, strengthen, raise, nurture, lead, discipline, care, and comfort. You must be his rock, his foundation, and his salvation… for I can never be any of these things. Keep me from ever thinking I could substitute for you. Let this be the single greatest thing I ever teach him, namely, that his needs will not be met in me, but in you and you alone.

We have named him Asher (which means “happy”) in hopes that he will truly live up to his name and know the deepest, highest, widest and longest happiness… you!

HAPPY is the man whose transgressions are forgiven! HAPPY is the man whose sin is covered! HAPPY is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity! May Asher know the reason the forgiven are so happy, namely, their sin no longer stands in the way of having you! Oh I pray he knows the joy of his sin being removed so that he gets you! Let him experience fullness of joy in your presence, and everlasting pleasure at your right hand! May he drink deeply from the eternal fountain of your glory, which alone can quench his eternal thirst for joy!

And, oh Lord, let us be faithful to help him see the way to your waters!

Empower us our hearts’ to be a to the rhythm of “To live is Christ and to die is gain” so loudly that his own heart knows no other beat. In life and in death, I pray his soul treasure is you…and i pray he learns this because you are our sole treasure.

Father, use my life and death however you choose to point him and his siblings to this reality. May my life never give them the false impression that the things this world has to offer could be rightly called “gain.” If I gain this whole world, but forfeit my soul… I have lost everything!

May it never be!

Teach me to sacrifice all this world has to offer in order to purchase the pearl of your kingdom!

Oh Father, use my life in any way you choose to teach Asher the true meaning of his name… to teach him what true happiness is… it is you and only you!

This is my prayer that I lay before your throne with tears of sorrow and joy… sorrow for the world and the narrow way that I know Asher must endure… but joy for the person and prize that empower him all the way and await him in fullness at the end.

I boldly put this prayer before your throne with great confidence because I know I approach through the blood of your own son who payed the price for me to pray! I pray in power, because I know the power is not my own, but the very power of your Spirit working in me and praying for me even as my words fall short. He prays for me when I don’t know how.

So through your Son Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit… I pray for my son Asher… may he know the meaning of his name… may he know true, everlasting happiness in you.

Amen.

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A Prayer for Matt Pitt

1 Corinthians 12:26a, “If one member suffers, all suffer together…”

Today…my heart is broken. Today…I am hurting. Today…I hurt with my brother, Matt Pitt.

I pastor a church in Birmingham, Alabama…the place Matt Pitt calls home and in which he has ministered for many years. Matt was a young man with a troubled past who came to know Jesus in a manner that resembles the testimony of the apostle Paul. One moment Matt wanted nothing to do with Jesus, the next moment he couldn’t stop telling people about Jesus.

the-bHe began meeting with friends in his parent’s basement and over the course of a few years, this meeting grew to thousands of teens meeting in arena type venues. Many people have opposed Matt, criticized his ministry, and made shameless jokes about everything from his theology to his physique. I must ashamedly confess that I am not guiltless in this matter.

Last year, critics felt justified in all they had ever said as Matt was arrested for impersonating a peace officer. He plead guilty and there were minor penalties (primarily probation). Then, last night Matt was arrested for similar charges and apparently tried to evade the police in the process.

Today…my heart is broken, but probably not for the reasons you would think.

It is not broken because of what Matt may or may not be guilty of, but because I went to bed last night and awoke this morning to a social media explosion among Christians discussing the issue. The content and condemnation of these posts is what has broken my heart.

I am not writing this post to defend Matt’s innocence. Honestly, I feel that when it comes to the response of Christians to this incident, his guilt, or the lack thereof, is irrelevant.

Here is our brother in Christ amidst suffering. It doesn’t matter if people from the outside are inflecting it upon him or if it is self-inflected…it is suffering none the less. When one part of the body suffers…ALL suffer together.

Our task is not to add to Matt’s suffering through our words of condemnation…for his guilt or innocence is not ours to decide. Our task is not to add to his suffering through our shameless joking…for this is no joking matter. Our task is not to add to his suffering through feeling justified for our criticisms (past or current)…for he is our brother.

I will be the first to admit that I do not agree with everything Matt has done within his ministry. My own philosophy of ministry is very different from his. My teaching methods and thoughts on discipleship are nearly opposite of what I have been able to observe concerning the basement.

HOWEVER, no matter how much I may disagree or differ with Matt Pitt’s approach to ministry, I do not deny that he is my brother in Christ. We are a part of the same body, and when he suffers. I suffer!

prayer-meeting_wide_t_ntOur task is to suffer with Matt as we pray for his guilt or innocence to be rightly determined and that he be strengthened for the consequences. Our task is to suffer with him as we pray for his family and those to whom he has ministered. Our task is to suffer with him by encouraging him that the body loves him and there is grace greater than all our sin.

Please join with me brothers and sisters to suffer with our brother Matt Pitt. Please join with me to be the body of Christ. Please join with me to pray, love, and extend grace as it has been extended to us.

Sovereign Lord,

I pray for my brother Matt. I cannot imagine the feelings going through his heart and the thoughts going through his mind. I pray for peace. Grant him trust in you no matter what lies ahead.

If he is guilty, Lord I pray for a conviction in his heart to confess his sin and repent knowing that you give grace to the humble, but resist the proud. And, Lord if he is innocent, I pray for clear evidence and a quick release.

May he rely on you while he finds himself in such a place of suffering. May you surround him with brothers and sisters who will suffer with him. No matter what, I pray that through Matt’s words and actions you will ultimately be shown to be great, loving, and glorious above all!

In the name of Jesus…Amen.

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