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A couple of weeks after dad was elected Bishop (UMC), the church he was serving at the time – First UMC, Bartlesville, OK – honored him and my mother with a dinner. The church, family and friends from around the country were invited. Anyone interested in speaking words of support, love and prayer was encouraged to share.

During the words of support, dad scribbled the following poem on a dinner napkin. I ended up with the only copy. I commissioned a couple of friends – Dr. Randy Thompson and Brian French – to set it to music. I then gave the composition to dad one year for Christmas.

Every day, dad prayed Wesley’s Covenant Prayer as part of his daily devotion. He added this prayer to that daily routine and prayed them both.

“The Prayer of a Pastor”

Come, Lord Jesus stand by me.
Take my life and let it be
Wholly healed and blessed by Thee.
May ever your will be mine to seek.
Your redeeming Word my word to speak.

May your piercing eyes be mine to see
The famished souls a-hungry for thee.
May your vigilant ears be mine to hear
The muffled cries around me so near.

May your stilling voice be mine to soothe
The troubled, the discouraged who feel they lose.
May your inviting hand be mine to raise
Some stumbled pilgrim your Name to praise.

May your power of spirit be mine to share
With neighbor next door your sustaining care.
May your strength in me be mine to spend
In selfless service each day to lend.

May your proven Way be mine to walk
The straight, the narrow with Thee in thought.

May your kindly nature be mine to embrace
The least, the lost, the whole human race.

Finally Lord Jesus may your unmerited love be mine to give,
‘Til your life in me be my life to live.
Amen.

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