God does not command purposeless things, and God commands prayer.
When I pray for the saints, from the heart and in faith, a number of things can happen. My heart can be transformed to love God more than television or my SmartPhone. Also, my mind and will and soul can be reshaped to love the people of God more, the people whom Abba Father had so much affection for He did not spare His only Son from them but put Him forth as their sacrificial offering. And besides putting one more nail in the coffin of my own flesh, the greatest gift of prayer is simply the possibility that God might give you what you’re praying for.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy… And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and discernment.”
Paul, praying that the Christians of the church in Philippi would increase in love in Philippians 1
When was the last time you thanked God for another saint, or prayed that his love for Jesus would grow?
I need to hear this on the days or nights when I’m locked in selfishness: There is no such thing as self-centered Christianity.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
Our Savior to His disciples, in John 15
Our Jesus bore the wrath of God in order to ransom and redeem the people of God. He would not stop and He will not stop until each one is presented to His Father and raised to eternal life. Of course Satan hates that and will rail against it, but Satan will see a wedding feast from the other side of Hell that will prove to him that you can’t fight the grace of the Messiah and win. If you hate Jesus, you will find that He is simply too big a Cornerstone for you not to trip over. And when all the revilers and the mockers have been silenced and all the knees are bowed, we will see the One they claimed was simply the son of a carpenter raising from their graves all the men and women He’s purchased and washed and cleansed, giving them to their adopted Father. That is the fearless and flawless love and mercy of Jesus, the undeserved and unfathomable grace He bleeds over those who were covered in sin. And just as He loved to death, God has commanded His people to love and feed and preach to and guard and pray for the sheep His death will gather. Jesus told His disciples that His commandment was self-sacrificing love, and then a few hours later on a hill called the Place of the Skull, He showed them what love could look and sound and smell like.
Jesus said that, that “love one another” command, to men whose feet He had just washed. As the sovereign Creator of galaxies and angels and ocean depths, and as the King who will return and throw death and Satan into a lake of eternal fire, He had washed their feet, would later that night pray for their well-being alone in a garden, and then when the sun came up would be stripped, slandered, and slain for them. He commanded these busted and imperfect men to love as One knowing what love is and knowing what love costs.
These apostles had seen with their eyes and felt on their skin the unimaginable love of God. Just a few more days and the resurrection would seal in their souls that they had been given the affection of Someone whose love was infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying. And then from that place of being rescued by sheer, relentless grace they were commanded to love their adopted brothers and sisters.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Paul, to Christians he had never met in Colosse
If we have been adopted by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then we have received the greatest gift imaginable. We are adored by the only One whose love has the power to resurrect and to rescue. So let’s pray like as though the Gospel is true. Let’s pray like ones whose feet have been washed by the Author of the universe.
Let’s pray like we have much love to give, because there is much love we have been given.
*Note: This post was adapted from an e-mail I sent to our church.