Pastoral Perspectives

A Worker’s Prayer

Where do we get our food? Some children in the cities will probably say that food comes from the person who does the groceries, the fridge or from the supermarket. The long supply chain from the crops and animals all the way to our table tempts us to forget that there is someone behind all this. Today, God is hidden by human pride and greed involved in the long supply chain. Yes, there is a long chain, but there is a God behind it. Food and everything good come from God.

Farmers till and toil on the ground year in and year out to grow food. The process involves many hours of labour, different seasons, and a lot of care from the farmers. Last year, I called up my mother to enquire about her garden produce. This is our ritual every time we call each other. We would start by asking “what’s cooking?” and “what’s growing?” Last year was unusual and many of her plants didn’t do well. She wasn’t alone. Another friend who grows different flowers and vegetables told me that many of her plants did not survive or grow at all. The weather was erratic and unpredictable. Those that survived germination and reached flowering were eaten by pests. Somehow nothing grew for some months. Then there was too much rain or no rain. And it all boils down to nature. Farmers can do everything according to the book, but the outcome really is not dependent upon them.

Paul’s words recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 summarizes the process. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives growth.”

The process is not just true of gardening but with everything else in life. As we start another year and dedicate ourselves to serve God and one another, it is only appropriate that we pray and ask God to lead and guide us. For, without God, nothing, absolutely nothing grows. This includes our service to God. If we have been able to serve and come thus far, it is because of God’s grace that He has given us the opportunity to take part in His kingdom work. If our ministries have grown, it is also because He has given us growth.

One of the greatest musicians who lived during the Baroque period is the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. He who wrote many beautiful and complex music that reflected his mastery in different forms of music. At the end of all his compositions, he would inscribe these letters ‘SDG’. It stands for Soli Deo Gloria which means “For the Glory of God alone”.

Today our Offertory Hymn is “Before You I Kneel” (Also known as A Worker’s Prayer) written by Keith & Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend and Jeffrey J Taylor. They were inspired after attending ‘The Holy Ordination to Daily Work’ conducted annually at Harvard University by Intervarsity. The writers of the hymn reflected on Bach’s aim to glorify God through his music as they were writing this hymn. The introduction captures the tune of Bach’s timeless melody ‘Wachet Auf’ translated as ‘Sleepers Awake’ and sets the tone and posture of the prayer that is to become every worker’s prayer.

Before You I Kneel

Verse 1

Before You I kneel my Master and Maker
To offer the work of my hands
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe
For each skill Your grace has given me
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great name

Verse 2

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands
For patience and peace to shape all my labor
Your grace for thorns in my path
Flow within me like a living stream
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown

Verse 3

Before You we kneel our Master and Maker
Establish the work of our hands
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task
May we live the gospel of Your grace
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your great name
And all glory to Your great name

Jeffrey J. Taylor | Keith Getty | Kristyn Getty | Stuart Townend
Getty Music Publishing (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

May the words of the song truly be our prayer. As we embark on another year of service unto the Lord, may we order our steps to seek first His kingdom so that God will bless the work of our hands to the glory of His name alone.

Pr Loliro Sani

January 16, 2022