Some number of months ago, maybe even a year now, I was speaking at an event in which Buddy Green and Jeff Taylor were the guest musicians. (Buddy wrote the incredible song “Mary Did You Know?” and Jeff has recorded with more cool musicians than I can begin to name. They are a wonderful pair, and getting to know them – even briefly – was a major highlight of the weekend.) I was speaking on the issues of faith, work, and vocation, and Jeff said, “We’ve got to sing this song that my friend Keith put together.” I responded, “Keith who?” And he said, “Keith Getty.” Oh yeah, right – he hangs out with great musicians whose music I only cover…
Jeff then proceeded to introduce me to a lovely arrangement of a beautiful lyric. The Gettys wrote about this song on their Facebook page:
“Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer)” is a hymn for the working day, a prayer for each task we are given. The spark for the song came from our good friend, Jeff Barneson, who introduced us to a special service called “The Holy Ordination to Daily Work” that Intervarsity conducts annually at Harvard University. As Keith and one of our new Nashville friends, Jeff Taylor, put the melody together, they reflected on JS Bach who finished his working day of writing for the church by inscribing SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) at the bottom of the manuscript page. It became the hook that we built both the song and this particular arrangement on where we hear Bach’s timeless melody, “Wachet Auf,” played on folk instruments.”
Since that weekend, this lyric has been a prayer at the start of every workday for me, and I offer it to you for yours:
Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,To offer the work of my hands.For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;I will rejoice and be gladFor the strength I have to live and breathe,For each skill Your grace has given me,For the needs and opportunitiesThat will glorify Your great name.Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodnessTo cover the work of my hands.For patience and peace to shape all my labor,Your grace for thorns in my path.Flow within me like a living stream,Wear away the stones of pride and greed‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in meAnd a harvest of life is grown.Before You we kneel, our Master and Maker;Establish the work of our hands.And order our steps to seek first Your kingdomIn every small and great task.May we live the gospel of Your grace,Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,Then our lives will bring eternal praiseAnd all glory to Your great name.
Bill (editor, Missio)
Thumbnail Photo: FreeImages.com/Jon Wisbey