THE WORD IS
Eph. 5:1 "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."
Dear Savior, I, a wretched and unworthy sinner, come before You trusting in Your promise that the one who comes to You, You will not cast out (John 6:37). Again during the time past I have added to the burden of sin that You once carried, I have pressed the crown of thorns deeper into Your brow, stirred up God's wrath against You. Almost two thousand years have elapsed since the great day of atonement, but yet on that day because of me the wrath against You increased.
What am I that You, the Lamb of God, remember me, a fallen and delinquent child? You left the glory of heaven and the hymns of praise that the seraphim and cherubim were singing. You, the Lord of the Law, came to earth to be my Substitute, and fulfilled the demands of the Law in my stead. You were nailed to the Cross and slain, so that I, who was cursed, might be blessed. The atonement of my sins demanded Your holy precious blood and Your life. Oh, the enormity of my sin!
But I can also say: Oh, the magnitude of my salvation! I have been absolved of my sin, I am God's child, an heir of heaven. How dear You are to me, dear Savior! It is good for me to be near You. I have received a rich and abundant life from You. But when You called me, I searched for excuses and asked many foolish questions. I was afraid that in Your company I might lose my life, my friends and my honor. You, the Son of God, called me. I, a sinner, was ashamed of You. But You admonished me for my sins and drew me to You by Your goodness. You persuaded me and I was persuaded. You strengthened me with Your grace and carried me with Your everlasting arms. You renewed my strength and I ran and did not tire or succumb. You carried my cross, You went ahead and showed me the way.
Traveling with You was easy. I thought I'd be able to follow You wherever You led me. But pride had gained a foothold in my heart. I trusted in my own strength, although Your mercy and the strength of Your arms alone had sustained me. But still, You did not forsake me, but rather gave me new tribulations, and asked me again: Will you follow Me? How reluctant I was to follow You, although I didn't fully comprehend it at the time. True, I didn't want to leave You and thought I was following You, although I myself wanted to choose the way I would go, to prescribe the weight of my cross, and I had forgotten Your Word. How selfish I was! But how patient You were, and how great was Your love toward me! Your grace is new every morning. Again You won me over to follow You. And I too was a winner - I, a wretched worm unworthy to be called a man, won a richer life in following You.
Again You ask me: Do you love Me? How I wish that I were able to answer you openly and ardently, dear Savior. But when I remember my stubborness and weakness, I cannot look up at You. Only when I remember Your love, I gain the courage to look in Your eyes and plead for forgiveness. You know all things, You know that I love You. Where could I go from Your presence? You have the word of eternal life.
You have set before me the road I am to travel. The wilderness looks bleak, the road looks narrow. Only a few are traveling it; so many are on the broad road that leads to destruction. Oh, Jesus, let me follow in Your footsteps. Let me be weak, so that Your strength can be effective in me. Gird the loins of my mind, permit me to follow where You in Your mercy lead me.
One thing more I would ask of You: Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Amen.