I’d like to continue our series on Enjoying Your Quiet Time with an idea that’s been employed by many individuals and even corporations world-wide – yes, a mission statement. But my idea is a bit different. You’ll see, but first I want to make something absolutely clear…
This is not about ritual.
This is not about working to be approved by God.
This is not a gimmick or a trick to assure answered prayer.
This is about committing to a relationship.
It’s about purposing in your heart to want to know God.
It’s about seeing your need, your desperate need, to be more fully His.
It’s about setting priorities.
And it’s about saying to God, “I’m a bit nervous here, but I want to know you better. I want a strong relationship with you. I want to be able to hear you better when I have to make a decision. I want my faith in You, who You are, and what You do and don’t do to be rock solid. I want to be freed from self-absorption (or whatever you might be struggling with today). I want my life to count for your glory!”
In this post, I shared how my life was totally recharged by beginning the practice of a daily quiet time. Then in this article, I referred to having a Prayer of Consecration as a regular part of a devotional time but didn’t take the time to go into detail. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.
Prayer of Consecration
One of the things I often do in my morning time with the Lord is review my Prayer of Consecration. This is similar to a Mission Statement but even better! Why is it better? Because I can have great intentions, but if I’m not being empowered to perform them by the enabling power of God, I will fail. Utterly fail.
I can’t tell you how many To Do lists or Plans of Self-Improvement I have tried over the years, and they’ve always eventually resulted in frustration and failure. Yearly read-through-the Bible programs. Diets. Promises to myself to not yell at my kids. Intentions to be less selfish and more considerate with my husband. Gym memberships. Commitment, people, is not my strong point!
Prayer, on the other hand, presupposes that my success totally depends on Another. On One who loves me and is on my side. Who is rooting for me. Who gave his very life so that I can someday experience total victory. This, I can do.
What does it mean to consecrate yourself?
Let’s take a quick look at an example of consecration in the Bible.
In 2 Chronicles 29:3-5, we see that when Hezekiah became king, his first priority was to restore the house of God.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and gathered them into the square on the east. Then he said to them, “Listen to me, O Levites. Consecrate yourselves now, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry the uncleanness out from the holy place.” 2 Chron. 29:3-5
Consecrate is the Hebrew word qadash, meaning to sanctify, dedicate, to be holy, separate, set apart as sacred. It always involves cleansing, being separate, being used only for God’s purposes, and bringing Him glory.
This is what the Holy Spirit does as He dwells in us, and we join with Him in his work!
Hezekiah said to the priests, “Consecrate yourselves now…” Are we consecrating ourselves? We could think, “But that’s only for priests!”
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… 1 Peter 2:5, 9
We have the opportunity to intentionally, daily, with a whole heart, consecrate ourselves to the Lord. As God empowers us with His grace, we can devote our daily, seemingly ordinary days to Him!
The idea for this prayer started out as my own personal mission statement. In a surge of passion to order my life, to become more intentional, I composed a list of what I wanted my life to be like in a variety of areas. (If I had a nickel for every list…) I listed ideas about how I thought my life could glorify God. This way I could review it once in a while and be reminded to be faithful to my goals.
But as I would review this list of goals, I found myself praying them because I knew I could never accomplish these things in my own strength. So I simply changed the wording to what my heart was already praying anyway.
A Prayer of Consecration is one in which we intentionally present ourselves to God for his purposes. One in which we look at all the various responsibilities in our lives and ask that we would be able to do them in a way that pleases Him.
I think the simplest way to tell you about this is to show you mine. This has evolved and still changes often (like every day!), because it’s fluid. It’s flexible. It’s real. It’s a revelation of where my heart is each day.
Prayer of Consecration
Father God, I want to live my life in a way that magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to desire Your will more than my own. Please don’t leave me to myself.
Please help me to…
- Give myself to You every day, spirit, soul and body, and ask you to do your work in me, transforming me according to Your will;
- Pursue a joy-filled, attractive life by living with gratefulness for all that I’ve been given in Christ, trusting that your will for me is good;
- Love my husband and family well;
- Make my home a place of beauty and order and use it to nurture, comfort and encourage;
- Encourage others to want to know and love You more fully because of your love for them;
- Continue to learn about and influence others to understand our relationship with You because of the gospel;
- Be an encouragement to those who want to be good stewards of these physical bodies you’ve given us.
This list is personal to me for my life. In case some of these sound funny to you, let me explain…
I believe most of us want to live our lives in a way that lifts up Jesus. But there are many times that we desire our will more than his. If He doesn’t change our hearts, we could be ruled just by our desires and make some unwise choices! Hence my request for Him to help me give myself to Him and ask Him to do his renewing, transforming work in me causing me to actually desire his will more than my own. To give me such a love for Him that obedience becomes my default, my joy!
The second item in the list is very specific to me. You see, I have occasionally struggled with depression. No clinical diagnosis, just pervading sadness. Certain areas of my life have not turned out the way I always thought they would, and I’ve felt the loss. The grieving. Just wanting to cry all day. God has been so gentle with me as I go through this and has shown me what I can do and what I have to watch out for in order to receive his help. So I ask Him to help me pursue a joy-filled, attractive life by living with gratefulness and trust. I use the word attractive not to mean beautiful or pretty but to mean “attract people” to a life that is overcoming struggle with faith in a good God.
Next, even though my nest is empty, I am still a wife and mom. Long distance, maybe, but I’m still a mom! I want my husband to know I treasure him, but I so often don’t show it well enough. And I need to learn how to be a long distance mom, mother-in-law, and grandmom. Also, I am not naturally artistic, and my decorating skills lean toward the simple and frugal, but I do want my home to be ready to warmly welcome friends and family.
The final three items are what I believe God is calling me to do beyond home and family at this stage of my life, and I want to be faithful as He equips and gives grace.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
You might want to pray about composing your own Prayer of Consecration and then adding it to your quiet time routine. Take some time to examine your life – your responsibilities, the people you influence, your relationships, your job, your little ones, your calling, your gifting, your talents. Dream a little. What do you want your life to look like?
What good things do you believe God wants to do with your life? These things don’t just happen. Pray about them! Consider your priorities and write out your own Prayer of Consecration so that you can be reminded to pray about them often. It’s surely been a fruitful practice for me. I hope it blesses you, too!
Do you desire a more intentional life for yourself and for your family? We live in such a busy age, sometimes it’s good to reevaluate our priorities and determine to be intentional about how we spend our time. A mission statement or Prayer of Consecration can surely help toward that end! Feel free to share how this works for you in the comments below…
If this post has been an encouragement to you, please share!