Humility (by Pete Portal)

Living in Manenberg is one of God’s great kindnesses to me. Living with gangsters and addicts has taught me to pray. Daily we are up against a fair amount of chaos, both external and internal, and so this steep learning curve has come by necessity more than anything else. We often encounter situations for which we have no solutions – as such, we have had to learn to pray. Prayer has become our first resource rather than a last resort. We have come to delight in our neediness, knowing that Father God ‘fills the hungry with good things.’ (Luke 1:53).

Whilst we see miracles in answer to our prayers – addicts getting (and sometimes staying!) clean, people being physically healed, financial provision at the precise moment of need – we also see our prayers seemingly fall on deaf ears. Whilst we know, despite not always seeing the ‘results’ we had hoped for, that the nature of our Father is that he is completely good – we cannot deny the heartache of watching friends destroy themselves again and again.

One of the great temptations I feel on a regular basis is either thinking too little of myself (self-condemnation), or thinking too highly of myself (pride). Neither are true, but both seem attractive at different times, and a significant part of my personal journey has been learning to detach my sense of worth from the opinions of others. I have found a prayer that I sometimes pray, called the Liturgy of Humility, particularly useful. It focusses on Jesus’ deliverance and grace – both of which I need in abundance.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus. (Repeat at end of each line).

From the desire of being loved...

From the desire of being extolled ...

From the desire of being honoured ...

From the desire of being praised ...

From the desire of being preferred to others...

From the desire of being consulted ...

From the desire of being approved ...

From the fear of being humiliated ...

From the fear of being despised...

From the fear of suffering rebukes ...

From the fear of being calumniated ...

From the fear of being forgotten ...

From the fear of being ridiculed ...

From the fear of being wronged ...

From the fear of being suspected ...

 

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (Repeat at end of each line).

That others may be esteemed more than I ...

That, in the opinion of the world,

others may increase and I may decrease ...

That others may be chosen and I set aside ...

That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...

That others may be preferred to me in everything...

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should

Pete attended ST camps, led youth on our family events and remains connected to many within this 'family'. He and his wife, Sarah, now lead an amazing but challenging ministry, living and witnessing among the gangs of the South African township of Manenberg. Pete's book No neutral ground about his walk with Jesus in Manenberg will be published this May.

Compassion lives in his heart and eyes! We're blessed to know him.