Shepard’s Prayer

“Please, dear God, don’t let me screw up.”

This is the prayer that Astronaut Alan B. Shepard is famous for praying On May 5, 1961, in the Freedom 7 spacecraft, shortly before launch.

Sometimes I can relate.

Sometimes as a minister, that is the only prayer that seems to sum up what I’m feeling.
When you are dealing with people, their heart, emotions, egos, or eternal destinations…the only prayer that seems appropriate is “Oh God, please don’t let me screw up”.

I try to remind myself everytime before I step out on stage to do my thing, “this is a matter of life and death for these people”. What I do may directly impact their eternal destination. Oh God, please don’t let me screw up!

When dealing with my staff or ministry volunteers, my actions, inactions, or reactions, may have an eternal affect on their lives and/or ministries. Oh God, please don’t let me screw up!

When I am dealing with an un-believer in any facet, what I do or say can affect their outlook on Christianity, or more importantly, on Christ Himself. Oh God, please don’t let me screw up!

It’s not so much fear or doubt, but a deep sense that what I do as a minister, in any aspect of my life, can affect the eternal destination of those around me. If my actions or words cause someone to believe wrongly, reject the gospel, or loose faith in God, I have directly affected their eternal destination. When people look at me, I want them to see Jesus, and Him glorfied.

What we do as Pastors, Church Planters, Christians…is a matter of life…and death!

Oh God, Please don’t let me screw up!


About Jimmy Eldridge

I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother and most of all, a follower of our most gracious savior Christ Jesus. Who are you following?

10 thoughts on “Shepard’s Prayer

  1. Today I have had this overwhelming “fear” or something that I am screwing up. This is my prayer – God – please dont let me screw up! I needed to read this.

  2. If I thought that way, I would be paralyzed. Where’s the Spirit and grace in this? If God doesn’t go with me I’m lost, if he is with me, what have I to fear? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but this sounds like way too much attention on me and not enough on God.

  3. SLW,

    I depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide and I am always counting on Gods grace in any and every situation.

    I take what I do as a minister very serious…but we all make mistakes…take mis-steps..and even possibly make bad decisions. Realizing this fact and also realizing that what I do as a minister may impact someones eternal destiny makes me to totally put my trust in God and say “I’m Yours…I am doing what you have called me to do…where you called me to do it…Lord help me to do it right”…In other words…Oh God, please don’t let me screw up!

  4. Changing history and taking liberties with someone’s speech is improper. The vulgarity I am sure is forgiven by the Lord, but Shpard’s Prayer was:

    Shepard said “Please, dear God, don’t let me @#$% up.”

    ^ Wolfe, Tom, The Right Stuff. Ch.10 P.245 (hardcover). Farrar-Straus-Giroux, New York. 1979. ISBN 0374250332.

  5. Dan…I edited the vulgarity out…hence the reason for the italics on the word ‘screw’ and the link to the story where someone can read the prayer in it’s entirety if they so choose.

    Give me a break.

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