Let me share with you a personal experience of mine which demonstrated my weakness and dependence. It was Sunday morning, 20th August, 2006, and I was due to preach in All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. I was putting away some clean laundry when I tripped over the protruding feet of a swivel chair and fell between my bed and a bookcase. I knew at once that I had broken or dislocated my hip, for I could not move, let alone get up. I was able, however, to push the panic button I was wearing and kind friends immediately came to my rescue.

Hugh Palmer, rector of All Souls, found my sermon notes and somehow managed to preach my sermon. Only later did I note its appropriateness. For I had prepared an exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. It consists of six petitions: three expressing our passion for the glory of God (his name, kingdom and will), followed by three expressing our dependence on his grace (for our daily bread, forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from evil). It had long seemed to me that the second half of the Lord’s Prayer is a summary of our discipleship—our concern for God’s glory and our dependence on his mercy. Dependence is a fundamental attitude for all of us whenever we say the Lord’s Prayer.

Even while the sermon on dependence was being preached, it was at least being partially illustrated. Within an amazingly short time I had been moved, inert, from floor to stretcher, from stretcher to ambulance, from ambulance to hospital bed, from hospital bed to operating theatre. I woke up to find myself gratefully supplied with a replacement hip, and in due course I have been rehabilitated.

So as this chapter progresses please do not forget my earlier experiences, spreadeagled on the floor, completely dependent on others. For this is where, from time to time, the radical disciple needs to be. I believe that the dependence involved in these experiences can be used by God to bring about greater maturity in us.

John Stott, The Radical Disciple: Wholehearted Christian Living (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 19–21.

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