My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
Richard of Chichester (1197–1253), also known as Richard de Wych, was an English pastor. His dying prayer was adapted for the song “Day by Day” in the musical “Godspell” in 1971. Here is a modernized version of Richard’s prayer:
Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus for all the benefits you have given me, For all the pains and insults you have borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, of you three things I pray: To see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day.
Let’s consider the last sentence of the prayer in more detail:
Pray to See Christ More Clearly (Christian Doctrine)
People wonder, “Is there a God? What is He like? Is He wise, loving, and strong? Does He care? Does He hear me when I pray? Can I know Him?” Jesus’ disciples wondered the same. Philip said: “Lord, show us the Father.” Christ replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:8–9) When we desire to see God, we should look at Jesus. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation….All things have been created by Him and for Him.” (Col 1:15-16)
Remember, Christ’s greatest miracle is His incarnation. God’s Son freely left His throne above. Nothing was subtracted, but He added on human nature. He is equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, but Christ didn’t cling to His privileges. He freely came down to save us. Let’s pray to know Christ more clearly and read through the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books are God-breathed and trustworthy witnesses to Christ. We can stake our lives and our never-dying souls on all they tell and show.
Pray to Love Christ More Dearly (Christian Devotion)
A human heart is roughly the size of a large fist. It weighs about 10 to 12 ounces in men and 8 to 10 ounces in women. The heart beats about 100,000 times per day (about 3 billion beats in a lifetime) and pumps about 6 quarts of blood throughout the body. By God’s design, a healthy heart does amazing things, but if it stops working our whole body shuts down.
In the Bible, the spiritual heart is the command center of our life, the center of our mind, emotions, and decision making. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Our love for Christ expands as we increasingly appreciate His prior love for us: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins….We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:10,19) Let’s pray to love Christ more dearly and study His sacrificial death for us in the latter chapters of the Four Gospels and prophesied in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, centuries in advance. Love so amazing, so divine, demands our soul, our life, our all! Hasn’t Jesus earned our trust and obedience? Surely He has.
Pray to Follow Christ More Nearly (Christian Duty)
The Four Gospels show us that Jesus is looking for full-time followers, not a fan club. Not just people who believe the right truths, but people who pattern their lives after Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was always calling people to follow Him for the long haul. (Matt 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 10:38; 16:24; 19:21; John 1:43; 8:12, 21:19, and more). J. Gresham Machen said, “Jesus is a Brother to us as well as a Savior—an Elder Brother whose steps we must follow. Imitating Christ is a key part of the Christian life; He is our supreme and only perfect Example.”
When I pray, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me imitate Jesus’ love, joy, and peace; Jesus’ patience, kindness, and goodness; Jesus’ faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I ask God to empower me to show Christ’s virtues in concrete ways to people He sends into my life. The Lord Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38). I ask God to help me do good and do no harm. I can’t heal anyone, but I can ask Christ the Great Healer to give others physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and wholeness. Praying that way for people and following up with Christ-like acts of mercy toward them is what Christian living is all about.
Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
Here is Richard’s prayer again. Please pray it with me:
Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ for all the benefits you have given me, For all the pains and insults you have borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, of you three things I pray: To see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day.