Today’s blog is based on one of my favourite and most frequently-used prayers. I came across it many years ago in a book called “Pocket prayers for pilgrims” (Compiled by John Pritchard, Church House Publishing, 2011). For me, its anonymous author summarises the whole spirit of the Gospel in just a few words:
Whoever you bring into our path today,
May we see Christ in them,
And may they see Christ in us,
For your love’s sake.
Over the years, I have personalised this prayer and slowly come to understand the force and breadth of its intention more deeply. This, in turn, has strongly influenced the way I try to live each day. I’ll briefly set out what it has taught me.
A. At an early stage, I changed “our” to “my”, and “we” to “I”, making its message much more directly personal.
B. I have come to understand its challenge as going far beyond how I speak to, and behave towards, those I meet. Now, I see those God “brings into my path” as including:
- All who are around me wherever I am (e.g. in the street, hospital, public transport, shops etc).
- People I hear about online or from others (whether or not I come into contact with them).
- Those I read about in the newspaper.
- People I see on television.
C. Even though I don’t know these people, and they don’t know me, I see my task as being to love and pray for them, because Christ is within them all, just as the Bible teaches:
- Everyone, without exception, reflects God’s divine image (Genesis 1:27; TIB).
- Everyone is the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).
- Christ lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).
- Everyone is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).
Using this little prayer daily for many years has brought about profound changes in how I express my faith, especially in terms of how I behave towards others, no matter how I encounter them along my pilgrim way through life.
Saint Luke expresses my approach perfectly when he describes how “Their eyes were opened, and they recognised him” (Luke 24:31; NIV; my emphasis). Thus, my task is to recognise Christ in all, loving and praying for them, and remembering that we are all one (Galatians 3:28; NKJV). In this way, I try to follow Jesus’ teaching: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40; NIV).
May you have a blessed day. I continue to pray for everyone who reads these blogs, those who reject them, those who never read, or say, a prayer, and those who don’t want anything to do with God.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God (Ephesians 3:19; NLT).
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT).
Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24; NLT).
The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).
My dear friends, now we are God’s children, but it has not been revealed what we are to become in the future. We know that when it comes to light we will be like God, for we will see God as God really is (1 John 3:2; TIB).
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).