The past two months I have encouraged my readers to make praying the Live to Love Prayer a morning habit. Two of the most important reasons for daily praying to live to love with Jesus are how it heightens your awareness of the people God puts in your path and gives you an opportunity for authentic evangelism.
Heightened awareness of people God puts in your path
Before I made the Live to Love Prayer a daily habit in my morning devotions, my days were agenda-driven. I approached each day with a “get-my-to-do-list-done” mentality. Consequently, I missed many people that God put in my path. For instance, I didn’t notice, much less care and pray for, the people in the park where we walk most days. I was there to get my two miles in so I could get to the next thing. That was true for trips to the store, barber, church, or restaurant.
Once I started praying this prayer daily, my awareness of people heightened. I wanted to meet the people God placed in my life each day. Each day is now an adventure.
Father, thank You for another day of life to know and love You and live to love with Jesus. Anoint and fill me with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust You and love those You put in my path today, for Your glory.
Praying the Live to Love Prayer changed Alma’s and my walks in the park. As we walk in one direction around the park, others are walking in the opposite direction. I believe that God moves those people and us to walk at the same time and in a specific direction so He can love them through us. That idea never crossed my mind previously, so I wasn’t even looking for them.
As I began to think this way, I wondered how I might know whether I was to engage them or not. In the gospels, we learn that Jesus did what He saw His Father doing. How did Jesus know what the Father was doing? He knew the Father was at work if faith was operating in the hearts of people, so He was on the lookout for those who engaged Him and who were in need. He simply received who the Father gave Him as they were put in His path. Sometimes He tested people to see if the Father was at work. He asked questions or made a comment. I thought I would do the same. I smile and greet my fellow walkers kindly, but keep on walking. If they return the greeting with a friendly smile or greeting, I determine to stop them the next time around and introduce ourselves. After meeting them, I put their name in my Notes app on my phone. There are 40 names of new friends (and even some of their dogs’ names) on my phone just from walking in the park. The same plan works when I’m eating at a restaurant, shopping at a store, or going to church. Praying the prayer has heightened my awareness of God’s work in my life as He moves people into my path. You can experience the same thing in your life. God is at work every day, all the time. How aware are you of what He is doing and who He wants to love through you? Would you like to get in on God’s adventure? If so, I hope you’ll start praying the Live to Love Prayer each day.
Opportunities for authentic evangelism
When I meet new people, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in the conversation. Usually, we exchange names and discover a little about each other. If the encounter seems warm, I usually say something like this. “I’m excited to meet you because I prayed for you this morning.” They usually are pleasantly surprised by that statement, so I continue. “Every morning I pray this prayer. ‘Father, thank You for another day of life to know and love You and live to love with Jesus. Anoint and fill me with the Holy Spirit, the presence and power of Christ, so that I can love and trust You and love those You put in my path today, for Your glory.’ So today I’m grateful to meet you since I prayed for you, but just didn’t know who you were. Is there something we can pray about for you? God knows and cares for you, and so do we.” Sometimes, depending on the response, I might also ask, “Do you know Jesus?” All of this seems so natural to me now, because it’s true! I don’t feel that I have to do anything more than love with Jesus as He works in all of our lives. It’s authentic and not forced or contrived.
More often than not, most people do give us something to pray about and they are more than willing to pray right then. The prayer is short and sweet, but clearly expresses my intimacy with the Father and with Jesus. In those brief moments in the presence of the Lord, God can work wonders. Then as we each go our way, we pray for them to experience the presence of the Lord and be drawn to Him.
Some of the people we have met have become our “park” friends. We see them often, and the relationships have grown. Others have been one-time encounters that we trust occurred for the glory of God. The same is true for others we have met in various places in the community. Each day is an adventure as we live to love with Jesus by beginning the day with a grateful prayer to the Father. We are grateful for the eternal life He has given us and the privilege we have to live with Jesus and love those He puts in our paths, for His glory.
Next month, I plan to share “Jesus stories” to encourage your hearts that God can do amazing things in our lives if we will live our lives to love God and others. If you have been praying the Live to Love Prayer and have some “Jesus stories”, I would love to hear them. Please email them to me at [email protected]. If you haven’t started praying like this, I hope you’ll fashion your own Live to Love Prayer and begin to make it a daily habit. Then be on the lookout for God to work in you and the lives of many of the people you meet.
I am reading through the gospel of John. As I go, I write down any observation that the Lord gives encouraging us to love with Him.
If you would like to track with me through John, you can follow the podcast here on iTunes/Apple or Spotify.
Please pray for safety as I travel and minister in South Africa through June 14.