A Professor's Prayer from Matthew 23
May it never be that your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who is seated on heaven's throne, should look down upon me, teaching from my professor's chair, and tell others, "Listen to what he says, but do not follow his example" (v. 2-3).
Please keep me from calling others to Christian duty and gospel sacrifices that I am unwilling to make myself (v. 4).
Guard my heart from such things as quoting Scripture or preaching, or putting on fancy coat and tie or academic regalia, to impress men rather than to serve you, O Lord (v. 5).
Help me to sit lovingly with the lowly rather than angling to be seated proudly with the powerful (v. 6).
As I teach and preach, may my heart's true longing not be for people to put titles before my name or initials after it, but to know you as the only true Teacher, Father, and Lord (v. 7-10).
May any greatness be measured only on the scale of being a lowly, humble, thankful servant of my great Lord whose sacrifice gave me life and a place of service in his glorious kingdom (v. 11-12).
O, Lord, may I never hear you say of me that I closed the door of the kingdom to myself and others by such things as taking advantage of the widow to raise funds for the seminary or offering long, pretentious prayers to impress others rather than seek your favor (v. 13-14).
Help me to not travel far and wide for the mere aim of getting students and supporters for the seminary's glory rather than raising up gospel laborers and gospel partners for your glory (v. 15).
May I always, always care more for the true temple that is your church, the souls of the people who form it, and the blood you shed to purchase them than for their monetary pledges and having a beautiful building. Indeed, the Reformation started over this very issue (v. 16-22)!
Do not allow us in our teaching to push denominational distinctives so strongly that the centrality of the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is forsaken, in effect straining out gnat-sized lawlessness in order to swallow camel-sized legalism (v. 23-24).
How easy, Father, it can be to impress people with the clean outer cup of apparent sacrifice when inwardly I have let a position result in the dirtiness of a pampered lifestyle and self-indulgence. Please protect me from this temptation (v. 25-26).
Save me from the danger of the rotting, grave-like death of institutional hypocrisy that calls people to practice faithful ministry and yet I myself no longer do so (v. 27-28).
Let me not mention the names and share the quotes of famous saints, martyrs, and preachers without taking to heart their testimony for truth and the sacrifices they made for it. And may I honor, rather than being jealous of or even attacking, those believers who in my day live likewise. How you hate spitefulness among your people (v. 29-33).
O Lord, please help this teacher to always be a learner, a disciple who recognizes your kingdom provision in sending me those who can lead me further into your Word. May I never dishonor others you have raised up to proclaim your message (v. 35-36).
O merciful Father, please do not let me become a stumbling block to your living stones, tearing down the very kingdom you have called me through your Spirit's power to build (v. 37-39).
To You alone be the glory.