Many years ago, at the end of a really wonderful year in Paris, in which I had met the Lord deeply and ministered for Him widely, I was standing on the platform of a Metro station for the last time, and found myself singing some words from a hymn under my breath: “Oh Jesus I have promised to serve you to the end.”
It was at this point that something really lovely happened; it was as though the Lord’s presence suddenly surrounded me, and He began to sing those words back to me, that He would also serve me. How amazing it is that He is among us as One who serves!” (Luke 22:27 and John 12:26)
As I was reading through John 17 again the other day, many themes stood out, including Jesus’ own oneness with His Father and His vital prayer for unity amongst believers. What we are going to focus on in this presentation, however, revolves more around our own relationship with Jesus and His Father. And, in honour of that experience at the Metro station, I have woven into this prayer many of the words and themes from well-known hymn. (A vicar originally wrote this to bless his daughters at their confirmation service).
As I couldn’t decide which of the many musical settings there are to set it to, Peter and Shirley Richards beautifully blended, and then played, two of the best known versions of this: Wolvercote and Thornbury. It is not easy to bring a new flavour to well-known hymn tunes, but they have done it beautifully, and we are so grateful to them.
May the Lord bless this offering at this time when people are very tentatively making the first steps out of lockdown.
Thank You, Father, that You have called and chosen us from before the world began.
Through Your Word and by Your Spirit
You whisper promises that remind us of the words You spoke to Jesus:
“You are My Son with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus, Pearl of great price,
place me like a seal over Your heart,
Your love like a blazing fire
that even the mightiest waters cannot quench.
How precious it is, Lord Jesus, to call You our Father,
and to know the incredible truth that You are in us – and we in You.
And just as Jesus was loved and honoured in the courts of Heaven before this world was founded,
You knew us before we were formed,
and wrote each one of our days in Your book –
long before they saw the light of earthly day.
Jesus, You are the bridge between how things are right now,
and how they will be in the new Jerusalem.–
Thank You that there will be no break in that communion,
no breach to mar that sweet transition;
for just as You see and guide me here in love,
so You know exactly how things will be
when at last I reach the fulness of Your heavenly Kingdom.
[O] fill us with a yet stronger vision of the Kingdom where no sorrows can intrude;
where all that lacks will be fulfilled,
and every loss be made new.
Then let me live and love for that which does not spoil,
but rather seek such treasures as will bring You praise through all eternity.
And whether You lead me to the Garden of Delight
or through the Garden of Gethsemane,
let me seek with childlike trust to follow in Your footsteps,
and in them plant my own.
I see the sights that dazzle,
and hear the tempting sounds,
so give me grace to resist their lure,
and to resist some easier path.
Many foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but Jesus, draw still nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.
We shall not fear the battle,
with You by our side,
nor wander from the pathway
with You to be our guide.
So let me hear You speaking,
in accents clear and still;
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self-will.
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
Yes, speak, and make me listen,
O guardian of my soul.
Despite my many faults and failures,
inspire me to attempt those good and lasting purposes
that flow from Heaven’s mighty streams.
Yes give me grace to follow You
until I complete the work to which You have called me,
Dearest friend and Master of my soul.
Lord Jesus You have promised, to all who follow You,
that where You are in glory, there shall Your servants be.
And so with joy we promise, to serve You all our days –
though our hope to follow fully lies in Your strength alone.
Oh, guide us, call us, draw us, uphold us to the end,
and then in Heav’n receive us, our Saviour and our Friend.
Many Bible verses are alluded to in this short prayer but these are the principal ones: Hebrews 10:7; Ephesians 1:4; Matthew 3.17; John 6:27; 17:21; 14:10-11; 16:28; 17:2; 24; 10:10; 17:10; 4:34; 6:27; 17:13, 24, 4, 26; 5:20 and Song of Songs 8:6-7.