Hand it to the Puritans.
They knew how to go for the spiritual jugular.
Introspective overstatement or not, I resonate with this so-very-different prayer of pastors on so many levels. It is a fitting prayer, in my estimation, for anyone ordained to gospel ministry. If Jesus did not pitch a tent of grace in my weakness, I would have closed down my version of pastoral ministry and became a Walmart greeter long ago.
I know that I often do thy work
without thy power,
and sin by my dead, heartless, blind service,
my lack of inward light, love, delight,
my mind, heart, tongue moving
without thy help.
I see sin in my heart in seeking the approbation
this is my vileness, to make men’s opinion
my rule, whereas
I should see what good I have done,
and give thee glory,
consider what sin I have committed
and mourn for that.
It is my deceit to preach, and pray,
and to stir up others’ spiritual affections
in order to beget commendations,
whereas my rule should be daily
to consider myself more vile than any man
in my own eyes.
But thou does show thy power by my frailty,
so that the more feeble I am,
the more fit to be used,
for thou dost pitch a tent of grace
in my weakness.
Help me to rejoice in my infirmities
and give thee praise,
to acknowledge my deficiencies before others
and not be discouraged by them,
that they may see thy glory more clearly.
Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural,
whereby I can attempt things above my strength,
and bear evils beyond my strength,
acting for Christ in all,
and have his superior power to help me.
Let me learn of Paul
whose presence was mean,
his weakness great,
his utterance contemptible,
yet thou didst account him faithful and blessed.
Lord, let me lean on thee as he did,
and find my ministry thine.
For more prayers of substance like this, consult The Valley of Vision: a Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.