So this morning I finally pulled myself away from John 16 & 17 which I have been so blessed by – this is where Jesus prays to the Father for us all (John17:20) which brings such comfort, determination within me and adoration for our Lord who is our High Priest and Brother.
So moving away from such an encouraging place, to be faced with the betrayal of Jesus and all that was to come, can be quite a transition and I found myself asking the Holy Spirit to help me. Help me not to run back to the place that I found so warm but to also enter into reading on into the reality of the cost to Jesus of betrayal, abandonment and crucifixion.
So I paused at this following point:
“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword [back] in its sheath! Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?””(John 18:10-11 AMP)
And I’m really sorry, because I don’t want to jump on the “look what Peter did now” bandwagon, especially in light of the fact that in the ‘fight or flight’ moment in the Garden of Gethsemane, none of us could say for sure what we would have done in Peter’s place. After all, this is the Lord Messiah, the one who we believed was going to come and change all things for the nation of Israel – would we not want to die and fight to protect Him??? So this short portion of scripture caused me to think about the choices we make.
I realised that Peter had a decision to make and it was not an easy one. Jesus was in fact saying to Peter that he was going to surrender Himself to the process of Gethsemane, knowing what was to come (and He had forewarned the disciples of this by the way), in order to serve a far greater purpose.
A few months ago my Pastor sent around a challenging prayer used by the Jesuits about the choices they made. I have been praying it quite often – I have been so challenged yet so blessed by this prayer as it truly peels away multiple layers and drives deeply into the area of ‘surrendering’ all to Jesus. So how does this tie into the post? This caused me to think about the multiple times a day where I have an opportunity to surrender my pride and that human trait of wanting to be:
- Preferred to others;
- Wanting to be consulted;
- Wanting to be approved;
- Wanting to be praised…
(Although there are times when we genuinely need some of these things, I’m talking about when these things are such a necessity that they become a motivation for our hearts.)
I had to practice much of what I’m writing about as my wife and I travelled to the land of my forefathers for the first time on the 26th November 2021. A 3am start and midnight finish in our journey from the UK to Sierra Leone, West Africa, took every inch of grace that I could call upon God to bestow upon us. Dealing with people when you are tired and not in your own environment can be challenging, but I saw God at work through my wife, our travelling partner (Kitty) and myself in a way that with me, was amazing. (My wife is like an angel on earth and Kitty is a very well balanced seasoned traveller. I, on the other hand, still have to fight down those “Hulk smash puny humans” moments 😊)
So all through yesterday and as I do so now generally, when in moments of conflict, I tend to remember the Jesuit Prayer, say thank you to the Holy Spirit for reminding me of my commitment to want to be a better person and ask for guidance on how I should respond
The Jesuit Prayer
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted…
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten…
From the fear of being ridiculed…
From the fear of being wronged…
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, O Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I…
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside…
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed…
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Having humbled myself, I trust You Lord to raise me up in due course.
Having emptied myself, I ask You Lord to fill me with Your Spirit.
Having surrendered my selfish ambition, I ask You Lord to set my heart aflame with holy ambition.
May God bless you all,
‘But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’ 1Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)