I love the prayer by Oswald of Northrumbia that I’ve shared previously on the blog. Years later it is still a popular download. This year however, I chose two prayers that I think go well together.
The first, by Dimitrii of Rostov, a 17th century monk, speaks to our need for a Savior and our need to give our Lord Jesus Christ our complete homage. I don’t know about you but with recent upheavals in the financial market, at the gas station, the grocery store, social media (wow ~ the Twitter files), and the truth finally being revealed in health and medical news, it seems to us that this new year should start with an examination of heart to illumine trouble spots, confess sins, seek healing,and purge anything which has captured our trust, our homage, other than our Lord and King Jesus.
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness, Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds. Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with the flame of Thy love. Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there. For thou alone art my King and my Lord.
The second prayer, by John Henry Newman, a 19th century clergyman, is quite well known because it was a daily prayer of St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) and the workers of her charity. It guides us in prayer for effective sharing of the Gospel. We are immersed in a culture struggling in thick darkness and in desperate need of our Savior. We need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to fill us first, then we share.
My favorite theologian, John Stott, speaking about Christians and our mission to reach out secular culture refers to Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13) and comments, “God intends us to penetrate the world. Christian salt has no business to remain snugly in elegant little ecclesiastical salt cellars; our place is to be rubbed into the secular community, as salt is rubbed into meat, to stop it going bad. And when society does go bad, we Christians tend to throw up our hands in pious horror and reproach the non-Christian world; but should we not rather reproach ourselves? One can hardly blame unsalted meat for going bad. It cannot do anything else. The real question to ask is: Where is the salt?”
Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with Your Spirit and Life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel Your presence in our souls. Let them look up, and see no longer us, but only Jesus! Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be ours. It will be You, shining on others through us. Let us thus praise You in the way You love best, by shining on those around us. Let us preach You without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear for You.
Mr. Garner and I have been prepping our new planners, and discussing goals for 2023. Our pre-printed planners have a variety of prompts, and places for affirmation and assessment. But not so much from a Christian’s perspective. An examen helps to fill that gap between organization and the intention of delighting in His will and walking in His way. If you aren’t accustomed to self examination from a Christian perspective, here is a podcast Examen for the Year End recording of examen questions and prompts with relaxing music in the background. You may find it helpful to listen several times to cover the various questions.
If you would rather read the questions, here is a pdf link to an Annual Examen (series of questions about your relationship with God) that you can download, with a video for explanation.