For my dad, Frank Ewert, the two lonely years after my mother’s death in January of 1994 were really difficult. He lived alone in their small house in Langdon, ND. He was missing a leg due to diabetes, and he continually battled with ‘ole Slewfoot, i.e. the Devil. In the temptation to feel useless and to be disappointed in the way his life had turned out, he wrote the first part of the prayer copied below.
A few months before his death in August of 1996, he gave me the copy of this prayer that he had written out on a card and kept by the easy chair where he did so much business with the Lord Jesus Christ. It instantly became my prayer too, as I too was truly growing toward complete surrender to the pure goodness and sovereign grace of our Lord.
That year of 1996 was a “firestorm” year at New Hope Church. We lost 27% of our congregation to conflict and confusion. I was hugely disappointed with the way life was going. But then, the Lord began to heal us.
Tyrone Spenst, my nephew (with his new wife Pauline) came for two years to serve as an associate pastor in the areas of worship, youth and prayer. In the spring of 1998, his mother (my sister) Pauline was really close to death due to complications from a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Before going to ND to see her, Tyrone struggled to believe God in prayer for her healing (or at least survival for a season). He could not pray she would be healed, for fear that she would not. He did not see how that his faith in God could survive that disappointment. But then, God gave him an overcoming faith – in the form of a short prayer he took back with him to ND.
In the kitchen at New Hope Church, he and I prayed together for his mom, and for his peace in going home – possibly to attend to her death. As he prayed, he said words like these, “Lord, I will risk disappointment in You, but I can never risk disbelief. Help me to trust You.”
That prayer resonated deeply in my spirit and so I added the sentence to Grandpa’s prayer, “O Lord, I will risk disappointment, but never disbelief.”
The following two years took us through the Solemn Assembly of Christians in the Winston area (at the end of October, 1999), with much loved evangelists Bob Cryder and Dave Cetti helping us. And our world moved through the millennial Y2 scares into 2000. I turned 50.
The Solemn Assembly was a fierce battle with fleshly passions in which we all were learning to tread softly in God’s presence and not to hurt the Body of Christ. As the new century dawned fears were magnified over many things and hopelessness took a firm grip on the culture of Douglas County. So, during those years the remaining lines were added to the prayer.
Since that time, I have prayed this prayer many times to our wonderful Lord Jesus. Always I’m reminded that my life is about bringing glory to Him, not about bringing comfort and control to me. I’m reminded that He is truly preeminent and sovereign over all things, and that the more I exult Him to first place in my heart regarding everything touching on my life, the greater the measure I carry of contentment and assurance of His undying love and perfect, good will toward me.
So, today I pass the following prayer on to you. It is your turn to take the legacy and make it your own.
O Lord, may I live in YOUR adequacy today, not simply my potential.
Don’t just help me Lord! Hold me close and use me as You will.
You are more than adequate,
and it is in You I am more than a conqueror!
Everything about You shouts for me to believe this!
O Lord, I will risk disappointment, but never disbelief.
I will serve You, not my fears. I will serve You, not my fleshly passions.
Thank You for the baptism of the Spirit. Help me daily to consent to Your Lordship, and to act courageously in view of Your resurrection and ascension to the Father.