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a liturgy for those fearing failure

Below is another borrowed prayer, this one an excerpt from the book Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey. All of us likely at times have experiences in which we are afraid of failing. May these words encourage us whenever we find ourselves in this place.

CHRISTIAN: I come to You, O Christ,

in dismay, fearing I might fail

in what is now before me.


if you would truly serve your Maker, in whatever capacity or vocation,

is it not necessary for your own good, and for the good of the kingdom of God, that you would sometimes be met with such fear and dismay?

But how could such a besetting fear be for my good, or the good of God's eternal kingdom?

Under the Spirit's tutelage, such fears might become messengers of grace, revealing to you only what was true all along: in yourself you do not have the strength or the wisdom or the ability to accomplish the task to which you are called.

Apart from the Spirit of God breathing life into your incomplete and sin-tainted efforts, apart from the Father blessing and multiplying your inadequate offerings, apart from your Lord meeting you in your stumbling attempts at faithfulness, no good work will come to fruition, no achievement will endure, no lasting benefit will come of your labors.

And so you must come repeatedly to the end of trust in your own strength, child, that you might avail yourself again and again of his strength.

Then let my failure drive me, O Lord, to collapse here upon your strong shoulders, and here to rest, reminded again that I and all of your children are always utterly dependent upon you to bring to completion, in and through us, the good works which you have prepared beforehand for us to do. It is not my own work that is before me now, but Yours!

Indeed Christian, take heart in this revelation! The outcomes of your labors were never in your hands, but in God's. You have but one task: to be faithful.

The success of your endeavors is not yours to judge. He works in ways that you cannot comprehend. And in his economy, there will be no waste. Even what you judge as failure, God will tool to greater purpose.

If this is true, what greater end could He intend to work from my failings?

Who can discern? But consider now: Might your tender Father use even your failures and weaknesses to make you more humble and more sympathetic to the failures and failings of others, thereby shaping your heart into a nearer likeness of the heart of Christ?

If your greatest good is to bear in fuller measure the image of your Lord, then might not His greatest and most holy good to you come cloaked in guise of defeat and dismay?

And if that is your Lord's sacred intention, then who is to say how great a success even your failures might be, when read aright at last in the chronicles of eternity?

So relinquish now all vain attempts to parse the mysteries of God's intent. You cannot think His thoughts. You cannot reckon His deep purposes. It is enough to know that all He does is done in love for you.

Amen. Use then, O Lord, even my failures, and my fears of failing, to advance Your purposes is my heart and in Your kingdom and in this world. My confidence is only in You.



Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at

~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator

Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory

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