Throughout the Scriptures, we are admonished to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit. This means that throughout the day, as we realize that our own sinfulness or the sin of this world has quenched the Spirit within us, we need to create the opportunity to once again invite his Spirit to fill us. An opportunity available to many of us, especially graduate students and faculty, is that of not being tied to our offices every hour of the day. Whether we close and lock our office doors, or walk to a chapel or other quiet place on campus, our potential to bear fruit worthy of the Kingdom is dependent on our willingness to be renewed in him throughout the entire day.
For this reason, most mornings I offer up a prayer of surrender to our Lord. In essence, I submit myself to him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). In so doing, I spend time offering all the parts of myself to God, from my mind to my feet, as instruments of righteousness to him (Romans 6:12-13). As I am led by the Spirit, this prayer of surrender often sounds something like this:
Lord, I surrender all that I am to you this morning. My deepest desire is to be a living sacrifice for you, by offering every member of my body as an instrument of righteousness, so that you can use me to grow your Kingdom here on earth.
I give you my mind. Keep my mind from being conformed to the way that this world thinks, but rather, transform my mind by your Word and by your Holy Spirit. Cause my thoughts to become more and more like your thoughts. Fill me with your perfect and holy wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Be a shield around my mind, to block the fiery darts of the enemy who would try to gain a foothold in my thoughts. Give me the ability to gird up the loins of my mind and to take every thought captive to your Truth. In my work today, guide me in using my mind for your glory and honor.
I give you my eyes. Let me see people like you see them. Help me to see past the faces, names, and professional titles. Cause me to see into the broken places in people’s lives, those places where they need your healing, your hope, your peace, your love, and your joy. For those students, faculty, and staff who are lost, let me see them as sheep without a shepherd, just as you see them that way. Open my eyes to see the doors of opportunity that you open before me as I spend my day at work. And, Lord, help me to see what you are doing in and around my life and on campus. Give me eyes to see into the spiritual realm. I ask for you to cause me to see just a glimpse of what you can do on campus as your Holy Spirit moves and works in the lives of believers and unbelievers. Your Word says that without a vision, the people perish. Lord, give me a vision; give me your vision. Let me see my life and the world around me through your eyes. And, Lord, fix my eyes upon you today. Let my focus remain on you rather than on the concerns of this world.
I give you my ears. Open my ears to hear your still, small voice throughout the course of this day. Whisper your words of Truth into my ears. In the midst of all of the other voices in the wind, let me recognize your voice. Speak to me, and I will obey you.
I give you my mouth. Lord, restrain my tongue. Give me the self-control needed to be slow to speak. And as I do speak, let your words roll off of my tongue as the Holy Spirit guides my speech. Let my words bring hope, peace, joy, love, and healing to those who need your touch, whether they be students, faculty, or staff. I pray that my words would be life-giving and not words that cause destruction. Let my words be spoken with grace, seasoned with salt, so that they may bring life to the hearers.
I give you my hands. Bless the work of my hands, Lord. Bless my teaching, research, and service today. As I prepare for and teach classes, let your divine influence be upon me. As I work on my research today, Lord, let your wisdom flow from my mind to my hands. And, Lord, guide my interactions with others today as I spend time doing committee work and advising students. Let them see your life in me, as I do my work, and let them know that you are alive and active.
I give you my heart. Lord, soften my heart. Keep it pliable so that you can mold it throughout the day. Let the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you. Reveal to me any areas of darkness that I have allowed to remain in my heart, oh Lord, so that I may hand those areas over to you for your cleansing. Create in me a clean heart. Heal the broken places of my heart, and clean out and bind up the wounds that remain. Let my emotions, desires, and passions reflect yours, Lord. Cause my heart to break for the things that break your heart, and prompt me to rejoice for the things that bring you joy. Perfect your love in me, as I strive to obey you. Let my love for others be unconditional and selfless. Help me to love you and to love others with your holy love, regardless of the cost. Develop within me a genuine love for the students, faculty, and staff with whom I regularly interact, because I cannot create that love on my own.
I give you my feet. Order my steps today, Lord. Lead me in the path of righteousness for your name’s sake. Keep me on the straight and narrow path, neither straying to the right nor to the left. Lead me in the very center of your will and purposes for my life. Cause my path to cross the paths of those who need a touch from you.
And, Holy Spirit, fall fresh on me this morning! I need you in this dry and weary land where there is no water. Fill me to overflowing with your life. Let your rivers of living water flow through the cracks and holes in this earthen vessel. Saturate me, Holy Spirit, so that your life flows out of me and brings life to others. Let there be a non-stop flow of your life in and through me throughout the day. Let me be a bright light in the darkness today. Let me be salt, causing others to thirst to know you. I can do nothing without you; I need you. Have your way in my life today. I surrender all that I am to you. Amen.
Truly, a paradox exists. In an effort to maintain our spiritual fervor, we need to continually surrender and offer every part of our selves as instruments of righteousness for him. Let us cry out to the Holy Spirit to flow through us like rivers of living water, as we give our lives for him on our campuses. As we do, let us remain expectant for what he will do in and through us for the sake of his Kingdom!