My Faith and My Utmost for His Highest

My Utmost for His Highest caused my faith to grow ever since I picked up the devotional in 1999.

I’d been a Christian many years by that point, but I never used a devotional before.

I’ve not used any other devotional since.

Oswald Chambers‘ masterpiece–compiled by his wife Biddy–is enough for me.

Faith and My Utmost for His Highest, what's the good of prayer, how has Utmost affected me? Mrs. Oswald Chambers, conviction, Elisabeth ElliotHere are five ways My Utmost for His Highest affected my faith.

Pinned me to the wall

Of course my blue paperback copy didn’t pin me to the wall, but the words I read there certainly did.


With a clear, pointed message that did not allow me to squirm out of my understanding.

What’s the point of prayer, Oswald asked one day.

My question exactly, I hated what had happened as a result of my prayers.

(For the full story see my essay in this fall’s Utmost Ongoing: Reflections on the Legacy of Oswald Chambers).

His answer: “It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me.” (August 28)

Even if I didn’t want to be changed.

Reminded of prayer’s importance

Prayer is one of Oswald’s key concepts–the importance of prayer.

Martin Luther once said if he had a busy day, he spent the first three hours in prayer.

I often get into such a hurry to get things done, I do a perfunctory pass through the pressing prayer requests and move on.

Oswald called me on it:

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work.  . . . we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. . . . Prayer is the battle.” (October 17)

Pointed out God’s will is the purpose

All through My Utmost for His Highest, we see an appeal to bow our knee to the will of God.Faith and My Utmost for His Highest, what's the good of prayer, how has Utmost affected me? Mrs. Oswald Chambers, conviction, Elisabeth Elliot

It doesn’t matter if we understand or if what He indicates makes sense (see above on obedience).

My life is in God’s hands, whatever He determines to do with it (See November 15, What is that to you?)

Oswald explains the concept clearly on August 4:

“As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all—we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same.”

That’s helpful to remember.

Called me–over and over again–to obedience

A Scripture I think of often comes from 1 Samuel 15:22: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.”

God has laid out his precepts and how we need to obey them. Sometimes they don’t make sense.

Faith and My Utmost for His Highest, what's the good of prayer, how has Utmost affected me? Mrs. Oswald Chambers, conviction, Elisabeth ElliotOswald provides an answer to that confusion:

“If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey.” (July 27)


Well, that gives me a starting point when I’m uncertain: what do I not want to do?

Told me how to think about the past–and the future

One of my favorite quotes is from December 31–I end both my Chambers-related books with it:

“Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.

“Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

This passage helps me set aside the “what ifs?” of the past, along with the guilt that often can dog my regrets.

It reminds me the past, as well as the future, rests securely in the hands of the God who loves me, you and all his saints.

As a genealogist, a recovering–thanks to Oswald and Biddy–worrier, and a mother, these words always feel like a benediction.

They encourage my faith.


Five ways My Utmost for His Highest strengthens faith. Click to Tweet

Conviction, obedience, prayer and God’s will: My Utmost for His Highest in my life. Click to Tweet

How reading My Utmost for His Highest affected my faith. Click to Tweet


Every month in 2017, I’ll be telling the stories about God’s leading and my blessed–and astonished–reactions while writing Mrs. Oswald ChambersOswald Chambers' Bible, Wheaton College Special Collections Library, what Bible did Oswald Chambers use? Lecture outlines in the Bible

The next newsletter comes out September 13: Emotional upheaval, an Aussie walkabout, and a Hong Kong surprise

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