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 fourth: rescue me.
Matthew 8:23–25 –Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
As leaders, we face moments (and days and seasons) when we have the same sense of sinking: a meeting begins to go sideways, the finances falter, a relationship sours. In these sinking moments, we have a Rescuer who loves to be called upon.
Rescue me from sin
s of all kinds
In the book Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon begs God to spare him from a myriad of different sins as he reflects on Matthew 1:21.
“He shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
Lord, save me from my sins. By the name of Jesus I am encouraged thus to pray. Save me from my past sins, that the habit of them may not hold me captive. Save me from my constitutional sins, that I may not be the slave of my own weaknesses. Save me from the sins which are continually under my eye that I may not lose my horror of them. Save me from secret sins; sins unperceived by me from my want of light. Save me from sudden and surprising sins: let me not be carried off my feet by a rush of temptation. Save me, Lord, from every sin. Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Thou alone canst do this. I cannot snap my own chains or slay my own enemies. Thou knowest temptation, for Thou wast tempted. Thou knowest sin, for Thou didst bear the weight of it. Thou knowest how to succor me in my hour of conflict; Thou canst save me from sinning and save me when I have sinned. It is promised in Thy very name that Thou wilt do this, and I pray Thee let me this day verify the prophecy. Let me not give way to temper, or pride, or despondency, or any form of evil; but do Thou save me unto holiness of life, that the name of Jesus may be glorified in me abundantly.
Spurgeon recognizes both the power of temptation and the power of prayer; by praying so strategically, he invites God’s authority and protection into every vulnerable area of his life.
Rescue me from my fear
“Do not fear” is a familiar refrain of scripture — and often we respond to this commandment with a skewed sense of self-dependency, working to muster up courage or will away our fear. But Psalm 46 gives us the only true and reliable path out of our anxiety. David begins this Psalm with the foundation of our rescue:
Psalm 46:1 — God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
When we ask God to rescue us, He’s already with us, ready to be our refuge and strength. We are not orphans abandoned to navigate life on our own — we are treasured children, with a loving and attentive Father. This truth unlocks the rest of the Psalm:
Psalm 46:2-3 — Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:10 — He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we pray ‘rescue me,’ we usher in the deep and abiding peace that’s born from dependency on our available and powerful God.