Recently I was asked to lead a Soul Shepherding group for a team of pastors to facilitate their intimacy with Jesus. What do they need learn and experience? What would God want me to share with them? I listened for the Lord’s wisdom.
I knew the culture of this church well and I’ve led spiritual formation and soul care groups for pastors and others for ten years so I had many ideas. But the only thing I had peace about was to keep praying for them, which eventually led me to write out a prayer inspired by key Biblical concepts that have shaped my life and our Soul Shepherding ministry to pastors and leaders.
A Prayer of Consecration
The prayer I wrote is a prayer of consecration for dedicating ourselves to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts. Except we see the goodness and beauty of Jesus and devote ourselves to him alone we have nothing of value! As Ray Ortlund Sr. implored me again and again, “Be all and only for Jesus!” With Paul let’s count all things a loss — even as garbage! — that we and everyone we touch might know Jesus as the “surpassing greatness” of life (Philippians 3:8).
I prayed the prayer of consecration over and over for this group of pastors. Also for myself, my family, and others. I invite you to pray it with me now and discover the power of looking only to the smile of Christ in your life and ministry!
My Prayer of Consecration: See the Risen Christ and Be Transformed
I pray to God, our Father, that with me you would see the risen Christ smiling over you and with his arms open to you, inviting you to live in intimacy with him in the Kingdom of the Heavens today and forever. 1 He is the Son of God and Son of Man, our Savior and our Shepherd, our Creator and our King, our Lord and our Lover, our Teacher and our Friend, the Word of God and Bread of Life that we hunger for, and the Fountainhead of Living Waters that we thirst for. 2
O Spirit of Grace, ravish us with unquenchable longing for Jesus! Show us that Jesus’ Abba is our Abba. 3 Yes! Thank you Lord! We want to be all and only for you, Jesus. Help us to organize our daily lives around being your apprentice in the Kingdom of God, immersed in the Trinitarian presence, and learning to obey all that you teach us to do — loving God, with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. 4
Father, when we don’t rely on Jesus, or are overcome with stress or pain, I pray that as soul friends we’d go to the cross of Christ and trust in your mercies that are new every morning, follow Jesus with greater humility, wisdom, and strength, and would be open to you leading us to share with others something of how you’ve met us in our personal struggles, being vulnerable with concrete examples, so that they also may be encouraged and guided on the path of life with Jesus. 5
My prayer, Lord, is that we would have have a rich, satisfying life, overflowing with your joy and power! Then obedience to you will be easy and routine, the fruit of your Spirit will be natural and plentiful, and our work (all the good that we do) will be abundant in supernatural results. 6 May the loving presence of Christ in our lives, and in our death, be so radiant and magnetic that it continually draws more and more people of all kinds — loved ones and acquaintances, the down and out and the up and in, those who bless us and those who curse us — to love and serve Jesus Christ with us. 7
Praying and Sharing From Your Heart
This Biblical prayer of consecration to Jesus Christ is meant to be prayed slowly, from your heart, over and over. In our pastors’ group we prayed it twice, pausing many times, and leaving a two or three minutes of silence after offering the prayer. The second time we through the prayer we each listened for a phrase that we especially resonated with and then after the silence each of us took turns praying out loud just that one phrase.
Then we huddled with a partner and shared with each other our response to the question: “What hinders your intimacy with Jesus?” And we prayed for each other.
Here are some Scripture verse references for each part of the consecration prayer:
1 Matthew 11:28-30, 19:13-15, 28:5-9; Mark 10:21
2 John 1:1, 14, 10:11,14; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 17:14, 19:16; John 3:2, 15:15; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:39; John 6:58, 7:38
3 Hebrews 10:29; Romans 8:15; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Mark 10:46-52; 1 John 3:1; Psalm 63:1, 73:25-26, 84:1-2, 143:6
4 Matthew 4:17, 28:19-20; Mark 12:30-31
5 John 19:25; Lamentations 3:22-23; John 21:19, 22; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Matthew 7:14; 1 Timothy 6:19
6 John 15:11; Philippians 1:26; Romans 15:13; John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23
7 Psalm 18:8-11; Acts 6:5,8,15, 7:54-60, 16:2-34; 1 Peter 3:15; Luke 6:27-31