Finishing well – a personal prayer

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:6–7, HCSB)

As many times as I have read these words of the Apostle Paul, they leaped off the page to me this week. The great Apostle is about to die. He knows his time is short and as he writes to the young pastor Timothy here is Paul’s one sentence description of his life and ministry: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Simple, yet profound.   He did not fight every battle, but he had fought the right battles – “the good fight.”  He viewed his life as a race to finish rather than a means to an end. He kept the faith, that is he stayed true to the Word of God and the gospel even when it cost him dearly.  He was faithful.  After over almost 20 years of marriage, almost 15 years of fatherhood, and 21 years of full-time ministry, that is increasingly the #1 goal I have: to finish well.  While I pray that I will have many more years to preach and serve the Lord, one day I want to be able to sum up my life and ministry in the same way the Apostle Paul did. I offer this prayer from my heart…

“Lord, with a humble heart and a recognition of how needy I am,  I ask you for wisdom to fight the good fight.  Help me to spend my time and energy on things that really matter.  Help me keep the faith by a deep walk with you and an increasing knowledge of your Word. Help me keep the faith by faithfully preaching your Word, no matter the cost or the outward results.  Help me finish the race of life and ministry faithfully. If I do nothing else for you, help me to remain a faithful husband to my wife and a faithful father to my sons.  Help me to succeed by dying faithful to you, faithful to my wife and sons, and faithful to my church. Amen.”

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