The Empowered Life

Read: St. John 15:4-7

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

An elderly pastor was asked how he had managed to change so much since the days of his youth. In his younger years, especially those following immediately upon his graduation from the seminary, he was a proud self-reliant and impetuous man. But as the years wore on, he had become a man of endless patience and deep humility.

“It was this way,” he answered. “Many years ago, when I was on the verge of losing my temper one day, I stopped in my tracks and uttered the prayer, “Lord Jesus, give me Your patience.” Well, I caught myself in time and Jesus did give me patience.”

“From that time on, I made it a practice of going right to Jesus whenever I saw temptation coming. If it was a temptation to impurity, I cried within myself, ‘Your purity, O Lord!’ If it was a temptation to pride, self-righteousness, or arrogance, I cried within myself ‘Your humility, O Lord!’ No matter what the temptation, I always turned to Christ, and pleaded for the grace which would lead me in the opposite direction from that in which the devil was trying to lead me.”

St. Paul had found a similar power in his own life. From the first dramatic turn around on the Damascus road (Read Acts 9) throughout the rest of his life he did “all things through Christ” who strengthened him. In Christ he had found power to resist temptation, to endure affliction, and to live a victorious life. In Christ that power is available to all of us today. In His power alone we, too, shall conquer.

Thou seest my feebleness, Jesus, be Thou my Power,
My Help and Refuge in distress, My Fortress and my Tower. Amen.

How has prayer helped you? How does your personal prayer time and communal prayer time in worship inform and feed you? Look for more stories of prayer in next week’s Monday Meditation.