Prayer, spiritual development, personal growth, faith, exploration, wholeness,

The way of love

A few days ago I woke up speaking aloud. I was explaining to someone what following God’s way of love involves, like this:

Following God’s way of love means loving, and caring for, all people, all creatures, and all creation.

It means loving everyone we see, hear about, and come into contact with, however briefly – in person, by phone, online, in letters, whilst passing them in the street, or seeing them drive by, reading about them in newspapers, or watching them on TV.

It means genuinely expressing this love through everything we think, and say, and do.

It means responding to all that happens to us as wisely, truthfully, and lovingly as we can, no matter how hurt, offended, angry, or afraid we feel.

It means working to forgive those who have hurt us, loving them, and praying for them each day.

It means never judging or condemning others, and it especially means a total absence of prejudice, discrimination, scapegoating, or hatred of others just for being different from ourselves. 

These qualities take years to learn, because they can only be developed through personal learning, inner change, and deep spiritual growth. This process depends on years of prayer, and of listening to God, as we struggle towards maturity, until we can always speak the truth in love – to ourselves, to God, and to others, as Jesus did.

His example of walking the way of love in both life and death helps us with every step along the path, for he asks us to face nothing he hasn’t already faced himself. Our goal, therefore, is to become more and more like him.

So here is today’s prayer:

Jesus, 

May we learn from you,
Our Lord, in heaven above,

Until our daily way of life
Becomes God’s way of love.

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Bible quotations

Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2; NIV).

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21; NIV).

Commit everything you do to the Lord (Psalm 37:5; NLT).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT). 

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Prayer

Maturity

You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food (Hebrews 5:12; NLT).

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity (Hebrews 6:1; NIV).

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding (Hebrews 6:1; NLT).

Let us press on to know the LORD (Hosea 6:3; ESV).

Lord,
When we cling to
Our elementary teachings
And beliefs,

Keeping them unquestioned
And unchallenged
For too long,

We arrest our spiritual development,
Preventing ourselves
From pressing on

To develop
A more mature relationship
With you.

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Life

Teach us to realise the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12; NLT).

“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40; NLT).

Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11; NLT).

 

Lord,
You are so very good
To me:

You give me life,
A precious, short-term gift,

So I can learn
From all its challenges.

Help me to use my time
Both well and wisely,

By seeing you
In everyone I meet,

And growing in maturity
Each year.

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GIVE THANKS

Give thanks

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20; NLT).

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28; NIV).

Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding (Hebrews 6:1; NLT).


Lord,
You don’t make
Things happen to us,
Good or bad.

But if we love you,
And face with thankfulness
All that life brings,
You work for our good,
Helping us to learn
From each experience,
So we can grow
In wisdom
And maturity.

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WISDOM

Wisdom

And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too (Luke 13:4-5; NLT).

Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NLT).

If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit (Proverbs 9:12; NLT).

Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding (Hebrews 6:1; NLT).

Our purpose is to please God, not people (1 Thessalonians 2:4; NLT).


Lord,
The good things
That come to us in life
Are not rewards;
Nor are the bad things
Punishments.

Stuff happens,
Either randomly,
Or caused by us,
Or other people –
You don’t make things happen,
Either way.

May we thank you
In all circumstances,
Good and bad,
Asking you to help us face
And come to terms
With what life brings.

Then we will grow
In wisdom,
Understanding,
And maturity –
In keeping with your purpose
For our lives.

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Rewards and punishments?

Rewards and punishments? 

About this time, Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee”? Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all!” (Luke 13:1-3; NLT).

The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD (Job 1:21; NLT).

Should we accept only good from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction (Job 36:15; NIV).

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4; NIV).

Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NLT).


Father,
We don’t deserve
The good things
That happen to us –
For they are not rewards;

Nor do we deserve
The bad ones –
For they are not punishments.

Instead,
You speak to us through both,
Giving us the opportunities we need
To reach maturity.

Lord,
Thank you for everything
That happens to us –
Good and bad.
May we always be prepared
To learn from both.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

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Give thanks

Give thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-3; NRSV).

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity (Hebrews 6:1; NIV).

Father,
Please help me
To give thanks to you
In all circumstances.

It’s easy to be grateful
When life is going well,
But much harder
When I face suffering.

Yet there is so much to learn
From every challenge:
Love, joy and peace,
Patience, kindness and generosity,
Faithfulness, gentleness
And self-control.

These are the qualities
I need to develop,
If I am to become
A mature Christian,
And they grow through
How I handle hardship,
Not through enjoying
An easy life.

Lord,
Thank you for my trials.
Help me to learn all I can
Through facing them,
So I will slowly become
Just a little more
Like your dear Son.

I ask this in his precious name,
Amen.

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