My friend Matty posted a brief question regarding how we are to be in the world and not of the world, and I began writing a comment to encourage him but found the comment too long to encumber his site with…so I post my prayer here instead:
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours….I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world!
My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the Evil One. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is Truth!”
O Jesus, what does it mean to be protected from the Evil One? You pray for us that it should be so, according to the grace of our Father in heaven, and You present it as alternative to being brought out of the world. So while we are in it, I must believe we are as strangers, foreigners, aliens in this place with citizenship in a High Country, Your Country. Therefore, let me look on the world again with the eyes of a visitor, having nothing to do with its customs and practices, for I am not hoping to win a home here. This is not home; let me delight in and cry over those things which in their small way remind me of the Home You have prepared for me, and let me utterly detest and avoid any thing which does not so remind me. What has light to do with darkness? And we are the children of Your light, holy and unapproachable. Shall I touch the things of death, I who am alive by Your life? May it never be!
This I say, knowing that every day my feet, ankles, and trousers get sullied by the dust and grime of this world. I grieve, my God, that I should always be such a panderer toward You, a beggar whose feet need washing; and I shout with furious joy, Lord, that Your Word is true to the utmost, and can wash and wash again the muddied man who is in You. New every morning, Your grace is enough. And every day, may I learn from You, my Teacher, to walk by ways less filthy and crude, trudge less and less through the muck of this tiresome ungodly wilderness, until at last I walk the streets of purest gold.
O God, remind me of my Lord’s prayer for me! That I would be sanctified, made holy as You are holy…You promise to complete that good work! But let me think, as I daily choose this path or that, this activity for the next hour, that word spoken in the next moment, think upon the fact that You desire my sanctification. Open my eyes, that I may truly see how we, who with unveiled faces all reflect Your glory, are indeed being transformed into Your likeness from glory to glory! And let me test my activities by Your measure…
Even so, Lord.