I’ve just started studying the life and ministry of John Newton (1725-1807), and came across this great hymn he wrote called a “Prayer for Ministers.” It is excellent; I’ve been meditating over it for about a week now.
Chief Shepherd of thy chosen sheep,
From death and sin set free!
May ev’ry under-shepherd keep
His eye intent on thee!
With plenteous grace their hearts prepare
To execute thy will;
Compassion, patience, love, and care,
And faithfulness and skill.
Inflame their minds with holy zeal,
Their flocks to feed and teach;
And let them live, and let them feel
The sacred truths they preach.
Oh! never let the sheep complain
That toys, which fools amuse,
Ambition, pleasure, praise, or gain
Debase the shepherd’s views.
He that for these forebears to feed
The souls whom Jesus loves,
Whate’er he may profess or plead,
An idol shepherd proves.
The sword of God shall break his arm,
A blast shall blind his eye;
His word shall have no power to warm,
His gifts shall all grow dry.
O Lord, avert this heavy woe,
Let all thy shepherds say!
And grace, and strength, on each bestow,
To labor while ’tis day.