February 11th, 2019

dangerous job

Something for Scout leaders

Years ago, I took three new Scouts to camp for the first time. They were excited, jumping around me like puppies, asking me questions (What's that? Can we do that? When's this?). They looked up to me with shining eyes full of trust: I was the Scoutmaster, and I had all the answers.

It scared the bejeezus out of me. Who was I, to be looked up to by these boys in that way? (If I'd said, "Let's all walk off this cliff," they'd've done it.) After I finally got them all quieted down for the night, I lay in my tent wide awake for a long time. For the first time, the weight of my responsibility really got to me. So, I turned to God. I prayed that I would never, ever disappoint these kids. And I prayed for each of my Scouts by name, both those on this trip and those who couldn't come this time. Only then could I let go and sleep. That became my practice for many years thereafter.

With that in mind, I wrote this prayer for inclusion in My Lord Knows the Way Through the Wilderness, the worship book for UM Scouting Ministry we published back in 2002. On this Scout Anniversary Month, I offer it to you for your personal use.

A leader's prayer

Lord, you have placed these youth in my charge.
The task is too big for me; I am not worthy.
But no task is too big for you,
who alone are worthy to receive their trust and mine.
Deliver me from the snares of pride and jealousy;
clothe me with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Grant me the strength, and the patience, and the love,
and the wisdom to lead these youth in your Way;
and let not a one of them be taken from your hand.
In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.