The alarm went off at 5:59 a.m. We listened to a couple of minutes of news and noted the weather. Barry slipped his arm around me, drew me close, and began to pray.
I loved to hear him pray.
He thanked God for His goodness and His blessings. He prayed for each daughter by name, mentioning their specific needs. He prayed for our grandchildren. He asked for wisdom with reliance on a Heavenly Father who cares for us, one day at a time.
And he often, with some variation, repeated the same phrases. I never knew where these words came from until after he passed away. Tucked into the books next to his side of the bed, I discovered a half sheet of paper, photocopied from an unknown book. I've bolded the words I heard most often.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The day begins for [John] Stott* at 5:a.m. He swings his legs over the side of his bed and starts the day in prayer:
Good morning, Heavenly Father; good morning, Lord Jesus; good morning, Holy Spirit. Heavenly Father, I worship you as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world. Holy Spirit, I worship you, Sanctifier of the people of God. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more. Lord, Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you. Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me. Amen.
For decades, Stott has begun each day with a version of this Trinitarian prayer.That's all the paper held . . . until I carefully, almost reverently, turned it over. In Barry's familiar handwriting I found this addition: "That I might live a continual life of repentance, being transformed into the glory of God through the gospel of Christ by the work of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I will always treasure the memory of Barry's morning prayers, prayers filled with worship, humility, and a deep desire that his children walk in truth.