Dear Children

Letters From A Father's Heart

Pray That Jesus Would Be Your Center

Dear Children,

Your father loves songs that are prayers. One such song is an old hymn called “Be Thou My Vision.” If the abundance and affluence that has accompanied your father’s existence continues also for you, then you will find that one of the inner battles you will face is the distractions that come with comfort and plenty. Personal peace and affluence are nice, but they compete powerfully for our hearts and minds, and they can and do steal our loyalties. Indeed they have stolen mine.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is from Hebrews 11 where we are told that Abraham, by faith, sojourned in the land of promise looking “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” A few verses later we are admonished to “[Look] unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… .” Jesus is our hope unto eternal life. Our only hope is that we are hidden in him from God’s wrath against all unrighteousness. We must pray that He would not be merely one thing among many in our daily lives, but that he would be our all in all.

But how much is this really true for us? You will find that the glow of our hearts will wax and wane as we meander through the joys, trials, and distractions of our own sojourn. Prayer will be a necessary element in your lives, as you petition your Lord to uphold your spirit, mind, and body along the paths He has laid out for you. But sometimes prayer will not come easy. Yes, indeed, it might be difficult more often than it is natural. With that in mind consider this hymn, Be Thou My Vision. You’ll notice that it is a prayer as much as it is a song. And so you can pray as you sing, and sing as you pray. Think about the words as you send them up in petition. Read them. Sing them as a prayer from your own heart:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;

Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;

Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:

Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor Man’s empty praise,

Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

In this sung prayer we are asking for our Father in Heaven to draw our hearts and minds to himself, come what may. We pray that our vision would be fixed upon him. We pray that we would not confuse this world’s folly with godly wisdom. We pray that he would be the center in times of war when the battle is raging hot between our spirit and our flesh, or between this evil world and Jesus’ righteousness in us. We pray that we would not be taken captive by the securities, lusts, and comforts of this world. And we pray that we would set not our eyes on things that are seen for a moment, but rather on the things that are unseen and eternal. 

When you sing this song, and other prayers like it, let it guide your hearts into prayer. Dare not sing such songs mindlessly. Sing them instead unto your Lord as a prayer from your heart to His that perhaps He would grant you himself as your foundation, your center, your wisdom, and your shield, for unless He grants it, it will not be so.

I pray that you, my children, would stand on my shoulders, low to the ground though they may be, and glorify our God… your God. Amen.

Your father

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3 thoughts on “Pray That Jesus Would Be Your Center

  1. These posts are such a blessing for your children. Sharing your heart and what you have learned will be a treasure.
    I really like old hymns too and singing them as a prayer is a wonderful idea.

  2. I don’t think I’d ever see all the words to this hymn before. Beautiful and powerful words and content.

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