What do you pray about on a daily basis? It’s probably common to most Christians to pray for God to guide them, protect them, and help them be successful in their endeavors and activities of the day. However, in the verses above from John 14, the aim of prayers that Jesus answers is to magnify the name of Jesus. This expresses Psalm 70:4. “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.’”
In last month’s blog, I presented the first part of the Live to Love prayer. “Father, thank You for another day of life to know and love You and live to love with Jesus.” If we wish to glorify God and make much of Jesus, we recognize that our lives comes from Him and that knowing and loving Him is our purpose in life. The remainder of the Live to Love prayer recognizes what it means to love Him and to make His name great. We need and want His presence and power so He can get the glory. Please join with me in considering the rest of the Live to Love prayer so you can form your own prayer in His name.
Anoint and fill me with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust You …
Starting each day with a heart of gratitude for who God is and what He is doing in our lives, focuses our hearts. As we acknowledge our purpose to know Him and our calling to live to love with Jesus, we place ourselves in a position for God to work powerfully in and through us and to bring Himself glory. We can expect the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in our pursuit to know God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and to love like Jesus loves. The Spirit is the one from whom freedom, joy, and satisfaction come. Paul wrote that where and when the Spirit is Lord, there is freedom and joy. Thanking God for another day of life to know Him and love with Him, we water and nourish the Live to Love seed, and expect the Holy Spirit to cause the seed to sprout, grow, and bear fruit.
We can’t hear this enough: God is with us in Jesus Christ to help us love. We live to love with Jesus, not for Jesus. The apostle Paul clearly declared that it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us; and the life that we now live, we live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). Love flows from Christ’s life in us. Expecting the power and presence of Jesus Himself to love through us is tremendously motivating!
… and love those You put in my path today …
Recognizing that God is sovereign over the affairs of our lives, demonstrates an attitude of faith and trust in God and His love for us. My friends had no idea on the morning of the flood what God had planned for them. Their house was not in the flood zone, so they thought they were out of danger. Being in their senior years and having no flood insurance, you can imagine the temptation they felt to be anxious and fearful as the financial and logistical implications of their loss became evident.
As Jerry continued to respond to the Lord during this trial, other questions came to his mind from the Lord. Do I truly believe my Heavenly Father has planned my path in love? Am I contented with the path my Father has appointed for me to walk? Do I want to learn obedience through suffering like my Lord Jesus did? Is the Lord Jesus really what I treasure most? Is there ever a time, place, or circumstance when Jesus is not more than enough for what I encounter? Am I pleasing my Lord by faithfully trusting Him moment by moment?
Throughout the process of recovery, rebuilding, refurnishing, and replacing lost property, Jerry viewed each new development or encounter with people as having been prepared by the Lord. God provided many opportunities for them to witness for Christ, to love others who had experienced greater loss than they had suffered, and to receive God’s outpouring of love and grace. My point is that my friends considered each circumstance and person who entered their lives to have been sent from God to give them opportunities to know Him more intimately, trust Him more faithfully, and express His love to people in His name.
My friends didn’t have this attitude in their hearts because they prayed the Live to Love prayer, but I don’t doubt that it was the natural outflow of their understanding of these foundational truths about God and His purpose and presence in their lives. The love of Christ gushed out of them because these truths were ingrained in their lives.
We need to have the truths expressed in the Live to Love prayer planted and growing in our hearts before things happen. Almost certainly, if we have not practiced thinking like this before trials or tragedies come, we will not be able to do so while they are unfolding, nor probably after they’ve passed. I’m recommending that you use this prayer as a means of grace until the love and compassion of Christ for others is rooted deep within your soul. Once it is securely implanted there, the Holy Spirit will take His truth and apply it when you need it. These daily reflections create a safeguard against reacting to circumstances and events in ways that dishonor the Lord.
We can take great comfort and peace from the understanding that “we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). There are people you’ll meet each day whom God has prepared for you to love. Sometimes they are easy to love, and sometimes they are not. Regardless of their spiritual or emotional state, you can know that God has put them in your path so you and they can experience the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Here’s an example of how the Holy Spirit works in this way. As my friends went to purchase a new car, they were served by a young man who had lost his home and family members in the flood. As they all sat in the car together, the compassion and love of Jesus moved through Jerry and Gerrie to comfort, pray for, and encourage the man. Loving him was simply the overflow of the love of Jesus that they have experienced. God will do the same thing for and in you as you thank Him ahead of time for the people He is going to bring to you so that you might love them for His glory.
… for Your glory.
The reason we live to know God and to love with Jesus is not primarily for our own happiness and satisfaction, although we certainly receive those benefits. The main reason is for God’s glory. Jesus loved us even to the point of death to glorify His Father. Through His obedience, Jesus used His authority to give us eternal life, which He defined as knowing God. So Jesus gives us life, and through that life, we know our Father, just as Jesus knows Him. Then we follow Jesus in loving others, and we do it to glorify our Father. It’s a grand view of unity, camaraderie, peace, and joy with God. This is the life that truly satisfies.
The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened with power by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus would dwell in them and they would comprehend the dimensions of the love of God. He knew that once they experienced the love of God in Christ, they would be filled up with all the fullness of God, and His love would pour through them. In short, he prayed for them to know God and to live to love with Jesus. He then concluded, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-20). Did you notice what the motivation is for knowing God and loving with Jesus? It is the glory of God!
I pray you are seeing the incredible delight and satisfaction that come from living for God’s glory! What could be more satisfying than experiencing the love of God and then expressing His life and love to others? The glory of God is what we are inviting people into when we sow the Live to Love seed. We call them to walk with us and then to call others to walk with them in lives that are actively looking for God’s glory. I hope the anticipation of being loved by God and sharing His love with others is intensifying your motivation to pray this prayer every day.
Obviously, this prayer is a morning prayer. From your first waking moment, it fosters an attitude of thankfulness, faith, hope, and love. You begin the day with the expectation of freedom and joy that increases as you walk in love with Jesus. Every day you’re reminded that each person in your life has tremendous value in God’s eyes, and that reminder helps you to value them highly, as well. Since you have already asked the Lord for grace to love, you can expect Him to give what’s needed to express His love and care because you are asking in His name that He might be glorified.