Monday 28 March: Lent 2011


You are encouraged to pray the prayer, pause, read the scripture, pause, read the reflection, and then pray the prayer again.

The Breastplate Prayer

May the yoke of the Law of God be upon this shoulder,
The coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head,
The sign of Christ be on this forehead,
The hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears,
The smelling of the Holy Spirit in this nose.
The vision that the people of heaven have be in these eyes,
The speech of the people of heaven in this mouth,
The work of the Church of God in these hands
The good of God and of neighbour in these feet.
May God dwell in this heart,
And this person belong entirely to God the Father.

‘May the vision that the people of heaven have be in these eyes.’

John 1:14

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Richard Baxter, the great 17th century pastor, said: ‘Heaven will more than compensate any loss we suffer to gain it. But nothing could ever compensate the loss of heaven.’

Such vision brought that man the courage to endure slander, danger and imprisonment in exchange for the freedom to cling to faith in Christ alone as his hope of heaven. This he believed and this he preached. And he did so fearlessly because of that perspective.

For two thousand years, mission people have paid a high price for preaching the promise of heaven through Christ alone. The cost has been determined by the shifting religious landscape among the secular leaders and kings of the day. Whether the region was under the sway of a regime friendly or hostile to the Gospel could swiftly change with the change of king or government.  Such uncertainties will paralyse any preacher whose goal is a quiet and easy life.

This is why our prayer directs us away from whoever is in earthly power. Our prayer is instead that we will be defined and driven by a heavenly vision.

Maybe our prayer will provide a precise vision of God’s will for which we can then labour and that he can strive to bring about on earth.

Maybe it will provide for a taste of God’s love for all people to fill our hearts.

Maybe it will take us beyond the end of time: to the return of Christ to judge the world; to the end of all suffering and injustice. Such a vision will give us courage for the journey of faith.

It is therefore for the journey, that I  pray:

‘Let the vision that the people of heaven have be in these eyes.’

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