D. V.—An Old Way to Start Closing Your Letters



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 18:18–23

Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.


Have you crossed over yet? You know, made the big switch? Has the center in your center of gravity shifted?

How would you know? This is not a question of whether you believe in God or whether you are a Christian or not. Neither is it a question of how committed you are. It’s not about how many times you’ve read through the Bible or how many people you’ve helped or mission trips you’ve gone on or financial gifts you’ve given. All of those things are excellent, but they can cloak the bigger issue.  

The question: Have you given over control of your life to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have you abandoned your life to the will of God? We get a glimpse of what that looks like in today’s text:  

When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.”  

I will come back if it is God’s will.

And he made it a promise.

In his hard-hitting letter, James would put it like this,  

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (4:13–15)

The phrase, “If it is the Lord’s will,” rendered in Latin is Deo Volente. Though they weren’t speaking in Latin, this was the battle cry of these first-generation followers of Jesus.  

Deo Volente! It’s the strategic planning ethic of the people of God throughout the centuries. Make plans and even make promises but follow them with Deo Volente! If the Lord wills. At times in the past, the people of God would close their letters and correspondences to one another with the two letters: “D.V.”  

How about we bring that back? But we have to mean it. We have to cross over . . . you know . . . make the big switch. We need to see a shifting of the center of gravity from the sovereignty of our own will and plans to an abandonment of ourselves to the will of God.  

John Wesley led the movement called Methodism into this way of life through the regular engagement of the following prayer. I commend it to you. Say it until you can pray it. And teach it to your kids.  

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.



“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”1


Have you experienced this shifting of the center of gravity in your life? Would you like to? It’s not about trying harder, but letting go. Have you noticed how your life tends to follow your prayers? What kinds of prayers are you praying these days? Most of the prayers I hear are about keeping us safe. When will we start praying to God to make us dangerous—to darkness and evil and all the things that threaten our safety? 


Today we will sing “My Jesus, I Love Thee,” (hymn 117) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt


  1. Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956, 1958), 79.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Paul “traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.” He was a personal trainer. Paul coached Christian groups and individuals to help people get in spiritual shape. He trained them to be led by God’s Spirit.

    Paul explained his calling to coach Christ-followers in Ephesians 4: “Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

    In the 21st century God wants to once again give the body of Christ personal trainers, men and women who will “equip His people” so they can attain “to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.” The body of Christ needs personal coaches who will train and disciple Christians to be continually and spontaneously led by the Spirit.

    Every time a Christ-follower listens to and obeys the risen Jesus they take a giant step in faith. “Christ in you” really is “the hope of glory.”

  2. This all goes back to Jesus’s invitation to follow Him on the road to eternal salvation. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him. But, Jesus also said, “If anyone wants to follow me, let them deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Currently, in many churches, this truth is simply not being stressed. The result is obvious; a weak and ineffective form of religiosity that fails to accomplish the expansion of the Kingdom of God. We desperately need another Great Awakening. D.V.

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