Lord most sovereign, God of all nations, shepherd of your people, you have given me the privilege, responsibility and pleasure of being your fellow-worker upon this earth. You have appointed me to care for the people of St Mary’s Presbyterian Church, and the local area of St Mary’s and St Clair. They are yours: you created them; you gave your son for them; you have already brought some to faith and new life in him; and you will bring others also.
Father God, make me an under-shepherd worthy of your name. Continue, by your Holy Spirit, to make me grow more and more like your Son. Give me love for you, love for sinners, and skill with your Scriptures. Save me from the sins of laziness, workaholism, pride, false humility, lust, gluttony, asceticism, anger, conflict avoidance, indifference, anxiety, and everything else with which the Devil will assail me to try and hinder your kingdom from advancing.
Father, I have had eight years formal training for this moment. St Mary’s Presbyterian is a already a great church, with functioning Sunday School, Bible studies, pastoral care, and a desire to reach out. And yet I feel overwhelmed by the task. How could I, frail as I am, be a worthy worker for Almighty God?
But I go not in my own name, or my own strength. I go in the name of the risen Christ, who is at your right hand, above all earthly and heavenly powers. I go in the strength of your Spirit, with your Word in my hand, your powerful Gospel in my mouth, and shoulder-to-shoulder with your people. Take me and use me, to draw many to you, and strengthen them in love and knowledge of you. Amen.