My husband, John, has gotten into the habit of listening to the Brandenburg concertos as he spends time with the Lord in the morning.
The other day we were sitting at Starbucks together and he said, “Did you know that a lot of people talk about how Bach put ‘SDG’ – ‘Sola Dei Gloria’ at the end of his compositions meaning ‘to God alone be the glory’.
But most people don’t know that he also put ‘JJ’ – ‘Jesu, Jusa’ – ‘Jesus, help me’, at the beginning of each composition.”
I thought, what a cool discipline. A reminder I need too.
Jesus help me.
I’m super visual, so this is the picture that comes to mind.
That’s a pretty natural prayer for most of us when we get in trouble or realize we’re out of control. The hard part for me is that I’m such a “doer”. I often opt for prayerless striving and neglect a posture of dependence until it’s absolutely necessary.
I’m more likely to shoot up a “Holy buckets, Lord I’m in a bit of a jam!” at the last minute, than to pray, “Lord please help me to love well today. Help me to forgive well today. Help me to speak truth. To serve with humility. Because without Your help I’ll default to my self-centered agenda.”
But the phrase Bach used at the end of his compositions is even harder for me.
To You alone be the glory.
One of the ways I’ve been challenged to really examine my life through the lens of glorifying God is to ask the“so that” question as I pray my “Jesus help me” prayers.
None of us will ever have completely pure motives, but I want to examine my heart. When I pray that my foot would be healed, is it “so that” I might finish a half-marathon to check that off a list of accomplishments? That’s not a bad thing in itself, but is it also “so that” others might see the power and joy of Jesus in me and be drawn to Him?
When I pray that I would hit a goal of raising $5,000 dollars for clean water for Zambia, is it because that accomplishment would validate me, or “so that” God’s kingdom would be furthered in a corner of the world and suffering would be alleviated?
Both of these prayers require a “smaller” me and a larger God. Can you relate?