You are invited to step into this semester’s Puritan theology class. This particular course is taught in a hybrid format where students complete their assigned readings, discussion threads, and lecture video viewing outside the classroom. In our weekly in-person sessions, my students apply their knowledge through a variety of learning activities, some of which will be featured through a series of Good Book Blog posts.
For the module focused on the Puritan Pastor, the students collectively created a job description for a Puritan pastor having gleaned from the assigned readings, videos, and threaded discussions. They were then asked to work in their cohorts to address this prompt:
You are a Puritan pastor overseeing a flock of 100 persons. It is the Monday. You are studying the Scriptures for your upcoming Easter Sunday message. You visited a number of families yesterday. A funeral for one of your congregants, a friend, 30 years old, will take place at your church tomorrow. Weather has been unkind. Your infant daughter is ill. Though required to attend, some of the hardest, most difficult unbelieving neighbors have been taking notes of your sermons. You pray.
A hidden microphone is in your study. It records your prayer.
Below are a few prayers submitted for this assignment. Afterward, the students were asked to spend time in prayer for their own pastors.
Dear God, the theology that I preach reminds me that even in this time, you are sovereign and in control even over these difficult providences. I remember that this time of year is the time when my Lord rose in power from the dead. May that power be present with me now. I confess the desire to sin by doubting your goodness even here. I know that your Spirit is watching over me at this time and interceding on my behalf. Please help me trust that You are in control of the outcomes of these circumstances. Please help me understand the magnitude of what you have done for us at this time. I know that you know the hearts of my congregants who doubt me and Your word. I thank you for the opportunity to meet with families and be in relationship with them. I pray that you provide for them as your will commands, and they would continue pursuing you wholeheartedly. I pray that you can help take my mind off of the doubts I have for my daughter and her wellness. I also pray that you speak through me at the funeral so you can help me best console my congregants while also continuing to preach the hope of the after-life you offer us. Lord, I thank you for the privilege I have to lead the people of this church. I pray that you give me the strength and ability to connect with them, tending to the needs you know they groan for. May they, through me, see the glory and healing and joy in Your resurrection.
Lord, mighty King, and Savior of our souls,
Oh, how dependent we all are of You for everything in life, for breath, for joy, for comfort, for relationship and communion with You. I acknowledge that my ways are not your ways, my weakness is not the limit of your strength, my momentary afflictions and trials do not compare to the misery of life without You.
I thank You, Father, that through the midst of the weightiness of life, You are forever and always with me, most intimately than my very breath. I need You, Lord. Remind me of Your presence and of Your comfort. You are my joy, my comfort, and my portion forever.
My heart is heavy before You. It feels as if the weightiness of my responsibilities are too heavy for my back to bear. I lay it all at Your feet, knowing that You are my strength. Spirit, lead me, help me, show me what to do in this situation. How must I carry on with these things in mind? Thank You for the hope that is in you and that one day this too shall pass. Keep my eyes fixed on You.
As I speak at the funeral, be my mouth. As I speak before the congregation, be my words. As I care for my family, be my love. May I rest not on my own doing, but rely on You alone. All glory be to Christ my King, now, today, and forevermore.
Holy Spirit, speak to Your congregation this week as we discuss the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. What a costly, beautiful event. Nothing can be done unless You act, so please act. All glory be to You.
Lord, all-knowing, all-understanding God our Father,
How marvelous are you, Lord. How much we need you and desire for your comfort and strength. For you have gone through trials and tribulations unlike we could imagine, and yet you comfort us and carry our burdens. How remarkable are you, Lord, our savior, our redeemer, our master. For you know the hairs on our head, the trials of our life, the tears we have cried. You knew before we could imagine.
All-encompassing Lord of our hearts, our clarity and peace - may we seek your will and your heart as we go through the trials ahead of us. May we seek your strength and your peace in every moment of your sunrise. May we seek your beauty in the destruction and ugliness of what is here now, what is to come, and what we cannot know. May I seek you in the midst of the weight and burden I hold as your servant, Lord. For, I do not take lightly the responsibility I possess for your church. May you provide me strength, endurance, peace, and clarity, may I know your presence in today and tomorrow’s trials, and may I rejoice in the truth of your grace and mercy, Lord.
Lord, our creator, our redeemer, our protector,
How great is your love, oh Father, that you would bestow such mercy upon us, such lowly sinners. For we have turned away from you time and time again, and still you receive us, still you redeem us. Our works are but dirty rags compared to your goodness, Father, and yet you love us so deeply and so intimately.
Holy, holy, holy are you Lord; still you draw us nearer to you, to know you and love you like never before. How worthy are you; oh how marvelous are you, Lord. For you were, you are, and will be forever the King enthroned in glorious splendor. Holy, holy, holy are you, Lord.
Work through me, Lord. May your glory be known today, tomorrow and forever.
Oh Sovereign Comforter,
This world is whispering its lies that you are not sovereign, not kind, not wholly good, and that this life is too great for me to bare. This life and its sorrows are so great and oh how my flesh is prone to believe such things!
Remind me that in my weakness, you are strong;
in my lacking, you are abundance;
in my forgetfulness, you are forever present and working.
In my darkest hour, Oh Holy Spirit,
Remind me of your promises,
That Christ has not forgotten me,
That He has conquered over sin and death,
That this life is for the glory of God and God alone.
Take this broken spirit and may it soar on wings like eagles,
may I walk and not grow weary,
may I run and not grow faint.
May my life shout your glory and praise while I walk in obedience,
in the valleys and on the mountains,
And In the day of great joy and deepest sorrow.
Forever and ever, all glory to God,