I was doing some research for a message this week, and I encountered a prayer-hymn. It struck me to the point I thought it would be worth sharing with you.
It was written by Richard Baxter, a 17th-century Puritan clergyman who wrote widely and deeply about Christian faith. His seminal work is called The Reformed Pastor, which is worth reading even if you’re neither Reformed nor a pastor! (Truth be told, he wrote it in response to The Country Parson, Anglican cleric George Herbert’s work on pastoral care.)
Background aside, I think you will find this a prayer worthy of your lips. If you’d prefer to sing it, it’s set in Common Meter (126.96.36.199).
Lord, it belongs not to my care
whether I die or live:
to love and serve thee is my share,
and this thy grace must give.
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
than he went through before;
he that into God’s kingdom comes
must enter by this door.
Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
thy blessed face to see;
for if thy work on earth be sweet,
what will thy glory be!
Then shall I end my sad complaints
and weary, sinful days,
and join with the triumphant saints
that sing my Saviour’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
the eye of faith is dim;
but ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
and I shall be with him.
“So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” (Psalm 90.12, NRSV).