My good friend Leann used to tell me, “Everything looks different in the light of eternity”. She was a missionary in Brazil, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. That was close to 20 years ago.
I’ve never forgotten those words. And I’ve repeated them to myself over the years. But then I came across a prayer… in a little, tiny unassuming book… that brought them to an even greater degree of light.
And it’s become my constant prayer for the last 10 years. It was written by John Baillie, a Scottish theologian born in the late 1800’s. It’s an excerpt from his 1936 publishing, A Diary of Private Prayer. It’s taken a deep root in my heart during this past decade… and has helped me through many a disappointment and unrealized dream. And though it has become part of my fabric… there is still much work to be done in my heart. Once again, I’m finding myself in need of this prayer, so I thought it a good time to share this rich and meaty invocation.
May it help you tweak your perspective, take a deep breath… and remember why we’re here.
O eternal God, though Thou art not such as I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, yet grant me this day a clear conviction of Thy reality and power. Let me not go forth to my work believing only in the world of sense and time, but give me grace to understand that the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all. My life today will be lived in time, but eternal issues will be concerned in it. The needs of my body will be clamant, but it is for the needs of my soul that I must care for most. My business will be with things material, but behind them let me be aware of things spiritual. Let me keep steadily in my mind that the things that matter most are not money or possessions, not houses or lands, not bodily comfort or bodily pleasure; but truth and honour and meekness and helpfulness and a pure love of Thyself.
I, a pilgrim of eternity, stand before Thee, O eternal One. Let me not seek to deaden or destroy the desire for Thee that disturbs my heart. Let me rather yield myself to its constraint and go where it leads me. Make me wise to see all things today under the form of eternity, and make me brave to face all the changes in my life which such a vision may entail: through the grace of Christ my Saviour. Amen.