On June 26, 1947 the Chaplain of the United States Senate, Reverend Peter Marshall, prayed the following prayer on the Senate floor.Image

 Our Father, we are beginning to understand at last that the things that are wrong with our world are the sum total of all the things that are wrong with us as individuals. Thou hast made us after Thine image, and our hearts can find no rest until they rest in Thee.

We are too Christian really to enjoy sinning and too fond of sinning really to enjoy Christianity. Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it. Thy help is our only hope. Make us want to do what is right, and give us the ability to do it.

In the name of Christ our Lord, AMEN.

In his prayer Rev. Marshall articulated the reality that we stand between two opposing forces with wavering allegiance. As a result we can enjoy neither side fully. If we are to enjoy sinning, we must give up Christianity. And if we are to enjoy Christianity, we must give up sinning. Perhaps this situation is worse even than giving oneself completely over to sin.

I seem to consistently find myself somewhere between these two forces. In my heart I want to live a sanctified life; pure and holy and pleasing to God. In my heart I want to live a worldly life; flawed and ordinary and pleasing to myself. Some days I lean one direction, but other days I lean the opposite direction. The truth is I don’t yet completely hate sinning. This is the human dilemma.

It is useless for me to try to change this about me. Better men than I have tried and failed. I am not disciplined enough. I’m not focused enough. I’m not determined enough. I’m simply not good enough to be the man God has designed me to be. If I could do it I would, I really would, but I simply find myself at a loss for improving my lot. Here I stand a pawn between two forces, desiring them both and finding no pleasure in either. This is beyond me.

And so I throw myself upon the mercy of my Jesus, for where else shall I find refuge from this despicable existence? His truly is my only hope. His is my only power. His is my only choice. Only he can make me want to do what is right. Only he can give me the ability to choose him completely. Only he can help me. And surely my heart will never know rest outside of him.

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