This is an adaptation of William E. Sangster’s 1952 Westminster Pamphlet, devised as an aid in the spiritual equivalent of a medical check-up. I have changed some of the wording and the order of the sections, but the emphasis remains the same
He recommended that one shouldn’t hurry through it, but to take it slowly, paying particular attention to the questions that make us most uneasy, giving about 2 hours to the whole exercise, or 30 minutes to a couple of sections over the course of a week. He closed with the warning:
“If you are too busy for this, you are too busy.”
This is still true.
IN THE WORLD
O God, it is strange that we may claim to walk in your way, yet wander so far from it;
that we keep different parts of our lives separate – sacred and secular, Sunday and Monday. Forgive me Father: I want to be one person – Your person through and through.
Help me, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.
Or has my commitment to him grown imperceptibly over the years
Or is my religious life a matter of habit and empty ritual?
Quiet listening to God?
in Bible study
in celebrating communion
Where I have not yet responded to your call,
or having once given myself to you, have drawn back from carrying the cross,
forgive me and restore me.
Teach me to love worshipping you, spending time in prayer and study of your word and sharing with others around your table
and (through them all) to love you more and more. Help me, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.
I am afraid that my life would not live up to my profession?
I am afraid of mockery as a Christian in the modern age?
I want to blend in with those around me?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.
Gracious Father, I am ashamed that I often “hang my halo in the hall” when I come home;
That I am guilty of discourtesy at home which would be unthinkable elsewhere, and that where I am loved most, I sometimes act worst. I mean to end all that.
To be a disciple in my domestic setting as elsewhere.
Help me, for Christ’s sake, Amen.
IN WORD AND THOUGHT
nourish an unforgiving spirit? harbour dislike of other people?
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless… the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire… All kinds of animals have been tamed by man, but no-one can tame the tongue… With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
James 1:26; 3:5-10
the outsider is welcome,
those absent are sought out,
the sinner can find forgiveness
the hurting find healing
and all can come to know and love God more and more?
forgive me the poverty of my worship and the selfishness of my service,
give me such a blinding glimpse of Thy glory that adoration may leap out of me,
and my heart be lost in wonder, love and praise. Help me, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.
know them intimately and at a depth: clear up misunderstandings with them quickly
and never criticize them to others?
Am I seeking first God’s Kingdom or my own?
Is it God’s will I want done, or my own?
0 Master, Before I knew myself well, I thought well of myself,
but now I know that all my motives are muddied
and that I need to be forgiven not only for my sins but for my soiled virtues Have mercy on your unprofitable servant. Help me, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.
not just my family not just my friends but others!
not just that they may join my church
not just that they may share my views
not just that they might admire and love me
but, as Christ would love them, for themselves alone?
Am I giving time to the young or old
the unwanted or wayward
the sick or sad?
or do I expect my actions to speak for me
or believe that “evangelism” isn’t my thing
or don’t know where to begin?
to extend God’s kingdom
to combat evil in all its forms
to promote unity among Christ’s body, the Church?
My Lord Jesus, I am shocked to find how engrossed I have been with myself.
I look back over the years and it has been mostly self, self, self.
I want to die to self: to my opinions and preferences, tastes and will.
I want to die to the world, its approval and blame, even to the approval and blame of my family, my friends and my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I seek only your approval; your righteousness and no sense of self-righteousness. I come again to the cross.
May I meet you there and may we walk on together.
For your name’s sake, Amen.
IN STEWARDSHIP OF MONEY
But have I? Let me add it up honestly:
food and drink in celebration
the cinema and theatre,
sport and other leisure pursuits
jewelry and beauty treatments,
day-trips and holidays
How much is this in relation to what I given to God?
0 Bountiful God, If what we give you is stored for us in heaven, how well-off in heaven will I be? Forgive me any meanness, and help me to give as you have given
using all your blessings to bless others. Help me, for Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen.
IN PASSING YEARS
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ANIV)
five years? twelve months?
Lead another person to Christ? Distinguish guidance from my own desires? Forgive those who wrong me? Look death in the face and be un-afraid? Really enjoy an hour of prayer?
a larger income?
a bigger car?
a better job?
a bigger house in a nicer area?
or more of grace and more of God?
Tell me, Father, how am I really getting on?
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
ALL FOR JESUS
Jesus, all for Jesus, All I am and have and ever hope to be. All of my ambitions, hopes and plans I surrender these into Your hands. For it’s only in Your will that I am free. Jesus, all for Jesus, All I am and have and ever hope to be.
Jennifer Atkinson & Robin Mark © 1991 Authentic Publishing