Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 3, 2017
God’s Instrument, Alan Paton
Ah, the breadth and depth of this brief excerpt! I can just imagine how deeply touched Alan Paton was by his stirring experience of the almighty God.
The Rev. Alan Paton was a white South African Anglican clergyman who was also an outspoken opponent of apartheid. He had several spiritual mentors (including Dag Hammarskjöld), but his compassionate heart belonged with St. Francis of Assisi and the familiar prayer attributed to him.
“So majestic is [St. Francis’s] conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. This world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves.”  This is preamble, of sorts. This becomes the foundation on which the rest of the excerpt depends. “But in his prayer, [Francis] asks nothing for himself, or perhaps he asks everything, and that is that his whole life, all his gifts, his physical strength, shall be an instrument in God’s hand.” 
The example of Moses is brought to our attention. Yes, despite adverse conditions, Moses was chosen as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. He was also directed to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and around the Sinai region. “The [biblical passage] is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling…. Things might be dark but [believers] are to be the light of the world.” 
Yes, the present world may—indeed—be dark. The group at my area cluster meeting sometimes is in tears concerning the situation of our present world.
“To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to them. To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose….let me teach them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never-ending work of healing and redemption.”  Such a heartfelt, humble prayer! Such a marvelous feeling of joining together in peace and brotherhood. Dear Lord, may it be so, we pray.
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 Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 191.
 Ibid, 193.