Years ago, God asked me to say four short prayers as often as I thought of them: ‘open my eyes,’ ‘enlarge my heart,’ ‘use me’ and ‘rescue me.’ I have prayed them literally thousands of times as I go through my day, while sitting in planning meetings, counseling leaders or congregants, and even while teaching. Though short and simple, God has used each of the four prayers to help guide and grow me as a leader. In this series of posts, I’m writing in depth about each prayer. I encourage you to pick up God’s challenge to me by committing to pray each new prayer as often as you think of it.  Today we will dig into the third: use me.

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Use me

With open eyes and large hearts, we are ready to be used by God. With our eyes open, we see the depth of need in this world. With our hearts enlarged, we cannot turn away. It only makes sense to pray next, ‘God use me to help others live with open eyes and enlarged hearts.’

Use me in this moment.

God is looking for people to use as He builds  His Kingdom. We see this in His call to Isaiah:

Isaiah 6:8 — Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

As we do the ongoing work of leadership, there are moments when God wants to break through and pour out, and He looks for a vessel to use. When we pray ‘use me,’ we declare our availability as a vessel. We are saying with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!” Very often God doesn’t use the most gifted person or the most capable but the most willing.

Use me in your own way.

As we pray ‘use me’ we relinquish control over the specifics. God’s call to Isaiah required surrender:

Isaiah 6:9-10 — He said, “Go and tell this people: “ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

This was not likely Isaiah’s desired calling, but we don’t get to choose how God uses us. Praying ‘use me’ submits our leadership to the authority of Christ.  Our part is obedience, God’s part is outcome.

Use me in spite of my weakness.

We do not ask God to use us because our strength is great; we ask God to use us because the need is great. God best displays his strength in our weakness – then there is no confusion about who gets the glory. When we are aware of our weaknesses and still pray ‘use me,’ we are affirming that we are merely conduits for the power of God.

 

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