“Rejoice in the Lord always!”  The command can sound daunting, can’t it?  Yes, I want to be joyful at all times.  But there are so many hindrances to joy, so many challenges to overcome, so many disappointments to swallow.

What then?  Should I just put my chin up, bear it and grin?  How do I rejoice when I don’t feel like joy?

A while back, I came across this prayer.  Anselm (1033-1109) didn’t have the easiest life.  As a church leader, he opposed the English kings William II and Henry I, and as a result was exiled twice from his home and native land.  Yet during these hard times, Anselm continued to press on to know and love the Lord.  This prayer of joy from Anselm has become a personal favourite.  Take some time and make this prayer your own as you head into this weekend:

I pray, O God, that I may know you and love you,

so that I may rejoice in you.

And if I cannot do so fully in this life

may I progress gradually until it comes to fullness.

Let the knowledge of you grow in me here [on earth],

and there [in heaven] be made complete;

Let your love grow in me here

and there be made complete,

so that here my joy may be great in hope,

and there be complete in reality.

Lord, by your Son, you command, or rather, counsel us to ask

and you promise that we shall receive

so that our “joy may be complete.” [John 16:24].

I ask, Lord, as you counsel through our admirable Counselor.

May I receive what you promise through your truth so that my “joy may be complete” [John 16:24].

Until then let my mind meditate on it,

let my tongue speak of it,

let my heart love it,

let my mouth preach it.

Let my soul hunger for it,

let my flesh thirst for it,

my whole being desire it,

until I enter into the “joy of the Lord” [Matt. 25:21],

who is God, Three in One, “blessed forever.

Amen” [Rom. 1:25].

Praying with you for joy,

~Pastor Andrew

Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.