Events in recent months have taken me back to that most gracious and terrifying invitation of Jesus, ‘Follow me’.

That’s where it all starts, isn’t it? It was the summons to his original disciples and it continues to be his compelling call to us all. The Wild Messiah urges us to step into an adventure with him. As Walter Brueggemann reminds us, the one we follow is ‘wild, dangerous, unfettered, and free’[1]. If we are tempted to think of Christian living as safe and predictable, we need to remember how Jesus lived his life and hear again his words ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you’[2]. Like the Twelve, we are called to ‘be with’ Jesus and to ‘be sent’[3]. Like them, we need to be willing to ‘leave our nets’ and prepared for profound change.

Twenty-two times we hear ‘follow me’ in the Gospels. It is directed to all kinds of people and always has far-reaching implications. ‘Follow me’ is where our journey begins but also a recurring call. The focus is always the same (‘follow me’), but the implications are unique for each person and develop over time.

After fifteen years of fulfilling stability, last autumn I went on a retreat and began to pray a dangerous prayer. The outcome was a challenge to leave the familiar and be open to … well, anything! I had prayed previously about the possibility of change but always discerned a call to remain, to be faithful in what I was doing.

There isn’t room here to explain all that occurred on my retreat, but I left determined to offer myself afresh in wholehearted surrender and, within a few days, I knew I needed to resign from my much-loved job.

And I began to pray a hazardous prayer. Shortly after resigning, I discovered a prayer from our Celtic heritage, from some forebears in faith who dared to say a ‘yes’ to Jesus. This is the ‘dangerous’ prayer I referred to above. Praying with sincerity these words attributed to Brendan should come with a health warning! ‘Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You. Christ of the mysteries, I trust You to be stronger than each storm within me. I will trust in the darkness and know that my times, even now, are in Your hand. Tune my spirit to the music of heaven, and somehow, make my obedience count for You.’

Through the ages, the world has been transformed and the church built by communities who ventured to offer prayers of courageous consecration. Every mission movement has at its heart, a renewed spirituality, reflected in its prayers. Think of the eighteenth-century move of the Spirit that became Methodism and the prayer at its heart, known as their ‘covenant prayer’. It begins, ‘I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal …’.

Praying is a risky business. Who knows where it will lead? The call ‘follow me’ is a radical alternative to a life of unconsidered momentum and these prayers offer us ways to rededicate our lives and articulate our yearning to say yes to the call, ‘follow me’.

By Steve Aisthorpe



Bio: Steve Aisthorpe leads Kilmalieu, a place of Christian retreat and environmental restoration on the Ardgour peninsular. He was previously a Mission Development Worker for the Church of Scotland and is the author of The Invisible Church (SAP, 2016) and Rewilding the Church (SAP, 2020).


[1] Brueggemann, W., 1998, A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming, Grand Rapids: MI, Eerdmans, p. 138.

[2] John 20:21

[3] Mark 3:14