Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Psalm 31:5
It occurs to me, there are two prayers which every church leader (and most especially every pastor) really must learn if he/she is to survive the daunting and often painful responsibility of shepherding God’s people. The first one is, “Lord, not my will but thine.” The second is, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” Jesus demonstrated the very different circumstances for each.
Jesus prayed, “Not my will but thine” in Gethsemane. There was still much for him to do. There were still “discussable” options available to him. His own choices were still in play and there was still plenty of discernment and judgment to be exercised on his part. He made it clear what he wanted and he was exploring options, because there were options. But he also made it clear that he wanted the option his Father wanted. This is what we pray when there are critical leadership decisions to be made and we want guidance. We may be in pain, we may feel in the dark, we may be frightened of the path we are on and of the direction it is headed. We are stressed, to be sure, but we can legitimately see more than one option and we do not necessarily trust our own judgment in the matter. We know what we want (we think), but we suspect God may have something else in mind. We can say to God, “Seems to me it would be a good thing for this certain thing to happen…do this for me, unless you’ve got something else in mind.”
But do you see, my leader friend, that the second prayer (“Into thy hands I commit my spirit”) may be along the same lines, but is altogether different? Jesus (and David) prayed this prayer at the frazzled end of their respective ropes. The very, very end. There were no options to explore. There was no judgment to make. They were stripped bare of options or judgment. They were done. There was nothing to do…nothing to even think about doing. They prayed this prayer at times and under circumstances when simply giving up and falling into the Father’s hands was, quite literally, all that was left.
This second prayer comes well after the “not my will but thine” prayer. It comes around the same time as “It is finished.” It comes at the end. But it does come. Mark my words…it does come.
I believe somebody out there reading this needs to know this prayer today. I believe you need the encouragement of knowing that there are indeed some worthy hands into which you can fall…hands which know well your pain and your exhaustion and your feeling “finished”…hands which will catch you, hold you, and which are capable of redemption…even resurrection. Those hands are there, my friend. You need only rest in them. On this day, in this hour of your life…those hands are for you. Pray the prayer. And rest.