“Pray therefore that God will awaken you, open your heart and anoint your eyes so that you can see the distress you are in and also grasp the help and the strength which He brings in His Word so that you can arise from sleep, and as one who is risen with Christ seek the things which are above. And as He heard the cry of the leper and came to the aid of the centurion, he will also in grace hear your cry and come to your aid – ‘come under your humble roof, and it shall yet become a blessed day’ – enter your poor heart with light and life and power. Seek Him then while He can be found and call upon Him while He is near. In this very hour He is near in the Word of faith which is preached. He even speaks to you and calls to you; your unbelief has not destroyed His faithfulness; He still wishes to come in to you and be with you and bless you. Grasp Him then in faith and beseech Him to preserve you through His Word so that you never lose Jesus from your heart until you see Him face to face in eternal life.
Yes, preserve us, dear Lord God, in the Word and faith until we die so that in the next world we can sit at the table with You in Your kingdom! Hear us for Your mercy’s sake! Amen.”
This excerpt is from a sermon by Rev. J. A. Ottesen, one of the lead theologians of the old Norwegian Synod. The sermon in its entirety can be found in the Lutheran Synod Quarterly, vol. 37 (December 1997) issue 4, pp. 47-50. It is also cited in our ELS pictorial history, Proclaim His Wonders by Rev. Craig Ferkenstad, p. 58.