Christian Perfection Chapter – 29: Singing Our Prayers for Perfection
We all need to be singing our prayers for perfection.
By: Frank L. Hoffman
Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
(Wesley’s writings are in bold)
In the Eighteenth Part of A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, John Wesley again returns to the discussion of the words of Christian perfection contained in the hymns published by his brother, Charles. The following hymn excerpts present a joyous way of reaching out to God and for His gift of perfect peace and love, but the message should sink to the very depths of our soul.
In the year 1749, my brother printed two volumes of “Hymns and Sacred Poems.” As I did not see these before they were published, there were some things in them which I did not approve of. But I quite approved of the main of the hymns on this head • a few verses of which are subjoined:
Come, Lord, be manifested here,
And all the devil’s works destroy;
Now, without sin, in me appear,
And fill with everlasting joy:
Thy beatific face display;
Thy presence is the perfect day. (Vol. i, p. 208.)
I often wonder how many people who read and sing these words actually want them to come to pass. Do we truly want the Lord in our presence every moment of every day? Do we truly want every sinful thought removed from us? Or, do we want to keep a few to play with from time to time?
On the other hand we may not consider something we do, that obviously falls short of perfection, to be sinful: such as the subjugation and killing of animals for food, clothing and entertainment. Are we willing to give up these indulgences and have the Lord fill us with everlasting joy?
The key is that if we are truly willing, the Lord will take away our desire for the imperfect and present us with the perfect day, day after day, because we will be living in His presence, and singing our prayers.
Swift to my rescue come,
Thy own this moment seize;
Gather my wand’ring spirit home,
And keep in perfect peace.
Suffer’d no more to rove
O’er all the earth abroad,
Arrest the pris’ner of thy love,
And shut me up in God! (P. 247.)
Hymns are prayers and praise set to music, and that is the way we should offer them up to God. They should spring forth from the depths of our souls and be presented with the hope and assurance that God will bring answers to these sung prayers to pass. When we vocalize a hymn, we are singing forth our faith in God.
Thy pris’ners release. Vouchsafe us thy peace;
And our sorrows and sins in a moment shall cease.
That moment be now! Our petition allow,
Our present Redeemer and Comforter thou! (Vol. ii, p. 124.)
So much of what passes as “Christianity” is based upon fear. This was most evident during the Y2K situation, when we saw “Christians” arming themselves and hoarding food. In other times, there was fear of Communism. There was fear of government. There was fear because people allowed themselves to be made its prisoners. Being perfected in God’s perfect love breaks the chains and bars of fear and sets us free (1 John 4:18).
From this inbred sin deliver,
Let the yoke Now be broke;
Make me thine for ever.
Partner of thy perfect nature,
Let me be Now in thee
A new, sinless creature. (P. 156.)
Unscrupulous leaders, including religious ones, want people to follow them blindly. They want to yoke their followers to their carts of misinformation and fear and have them blindly pull them day after day without questioning anything. This is not the way of God. God wants to free us from these yokes of trusting in mankind more than in God (which is really a sin) for God is to be first in our lives, just as we are told in the greatest of all commandments (Deuteronomy 6:5):
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” NASU
One of the first things we must do in our journey to Christian Perfection is learn to trust in God, and bond ourselves, or yoke ourselves, to God’s perfect will and Spirit, which seems to become easier when were singing our prayers.
Turn me, Lord, and turn me now,
To thy yoke my spirit bow:
Grant me now the pearl to find
Of a meek and quiet mind.
Calm, O calm my troubled breast;
Let me gain that second rest;
From my works for ever cease,
Perfected in holiness. (P. 162.)
When we truly trust in God, He will lead us away from temptation and remove the troubling of our heart and soul, even in times of strife, and give us perfect peace. People can come up with many arguments and examples of this not working, but in the final analysis, we need to ask ourselves if we trust in the Lord even if it means to the point of death. Remember the final words He sent to the church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:10-11):
10. “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.”
Do we trust God to this extent? If we don’t, we should; because until we do, we will never know perfect peace and perfection.
Come in this accepted hour,
Bring thy heavenly kingdom in!
Fill us with the glorious power,
Rooting out the seeds of sin. (P. 168.)
Each of the hymn passages we have read, thus far, confirms our need to allow God to lead and direct our lives by placing our complete trust in Him and not in ourselves or in any other human being.
Come, thou dear Lamb, for sinners slain,
Bring in the cleansing flood:
Apply, to wash out every stain,
Thine efficacious blood.
O let it sink into our soul
Deep as the inbred sin:
Make every wounded spirit whole,
And every leper clean! (P. 171.)
There is no repented sin that God won’t forgive. He might not undo its consequences, but He will forgive us.
Pris’ners of hope, arise,
And see your Lord appear.
Lo! on the wings of love he flies,
And brings redemption near.
Redemption in his blood
He calls you to receive :
“Come unto me, the pardoning God:
Believe,” he cries, “believe!”
Jesus, to thee we look,
Till saved from sin’s remains,
Reject the inbred tyrant’s yoke,
And cast away his chains.
Our nature shall no more
O’er us dominion have;
By faith we apprehend the power
Which shall for ever save. ( P. 188. )
Satan has no power over us that we don’t allow him to have, for as we are told in 1 John 4:4:
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. NAS
Jesus, our life, in us appear,
Who daily die thy death:
Reveal thyself the finisher;
Thy quick’ning Spirit breathe!
Unfold the hidden mystery,
The second gift impart ;
Reveal thy glorious self in me,
In every waiting heart. (P. 195.)
When we are born again we should sense the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. We should sense the Lord walking with us. It is only when we forget our first love (God), that His presence seems to wane or disappear. He doesn’t leave us; it is we who leave Him.
In Him we have peace,
In Him we have powers!
Preserved by his grace
Throughout the dark hours.
In all our temptations
He keeps us to prove
His utmost salvation,
His fullness of love.
Pronounce the glad word,
And bid us be free!
Ah, hast thou not, Lord,
A blessing for me?
The peace thou hast given
This moment impart,
And open thy heaven,
O Love, in my heart! (P. 324.)
My prayer for all of us is that we truly gain this peace of mind, spirit, soul, and body both now and forever. Amen.
A second edition of these hymns was published in the year 1752, and that without any other alteration than that of a few literal mistakes.
I have been the more large in these extracts, because hence it appears, beyond all possibility of exception, that to this day both my brother and I maintained
(1) that Christian perfection is that love of God and our neighbor which implies deliverance from all sin;
(2) that this is received merely by faith;
(3) that it is given instantaneously, in one moment;
(4) that we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; that now is the accepted time, now is the day of this salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. NKJV
Let us sing our hearts to the Lord that we may have perfect peace and love, which is just another way of saying, we’re singing our prayers for perfection.