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A Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Great Shepherd
By: Emily Rose Massey

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

Recently, I was asked, “So, Emily… how long have you known the Lord?”

I wanted to be as concise as possible but also transparent. I explained that I have been coming to grips recently that I was most likely a false convert when I was a teen into my early 20s and didn’t truly start following Christ until around 2008, the summer after I graduated college. It’s the only way I can seem to make sense of the mess. I lived in for six years after my profession of faith, after responding to an alter call at a youth conference.

As I walked the aisle at that church, I responded to the news that Jesus died for my sins to be forgiven then eventually ran right back into the same ditch like a dumb sheep thinking I could rely on my own works and not Christ’s finished work of the cross, and God allowed me to fail, fall, and create a home in my pit of self-righteousness and sin for six years. But thanks be to God, that wasn’t the end of my story- the Lord didn’t leave me in that pit because one day, I was rescued.

We must remember that we cannot rescue ourselves out of a pit of sin- Jesus is the Great Shepherd who rescues His sheep. It is God who begins the work in our hearts, turning them from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. As God’s creation, we are either sheep or we are goats. One day Jesus will separate people into those two categories (Matthew 25:32-33).

Goats can never become sheep. If you’re a sheep, you’ll always be one. One day lost, and in a moment, you will be found and rescued and spiritually healed if you are His. God chose the day I would join His fold; Apart from God’s Spirit, I cannot choose Him. My salvation was determined before the foundation of the world; Jesus rescued me from the pit, regardless of when I fully know the moment it happened or not.

I don’t believe all our testimonies of coming to faith in Christ can be packaged up into a nice little box with a bow. It’s because we aren’t the author of the story- our Sovereign Lord is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Scripture tells us that He is faithful to complete that work that He began in us:

 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

Philippians 1:6, inspirational image

You may also have a messy and complicated testimony and cannot fully explain all of what you think the Lord was doing in your heart and when, but I can tell you that even when you have been faithless, God has been incredibly faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). Even when I’m extremely dumb, hard-headed, and rebellious, He is wise, patient, and perfect on my behalf. Cling to Him, beloved sheep, you are His!

Heavenly Father, 

I rest in the finished work of the cross, not my own works. I trust that you are the only One who can save me from my sins. I will never be able to earn your forgiveness, so I receive the gift of grace and thank You for the gift of faith in Christ alone for my salvation. Because of this, I know that You are my Great Shepherd, and I am Your sheep whom You have rescued from the pit of destruction. I praise You and thank You for Your faithfulness in my life. I ask that You give me an opportunity to praise You by sharing my testimony of how You have rescued me and changed me. 

Thank You Jesus for not letting me stay in that pit!

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


Emily Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20s, and published her first book in 2015. She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Believing she has been forgiven much, she loves much and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power, especially by sharing truth found in God’s written word. If you would like to connect with Emily, you can visit www.wewouldratherhavejesus.com


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