A Prayer Prompted by John 15

Dear Lord Jesus,

We submit ourselves to you as our Savior, our Redeemer and our Lord. As the branches need the vine, we understand that our spiritual life depends completely on you.  Without you we can do nothing.

We ask you to produce fruit in our lives by means of the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Let that fruit transform our personalities so that we become more and more like you.

Help us to be strong and faithful witnesses for you in the face of the world’s hatred. And let us experience your joy regardless of what we face here on earth.

In your name we pray,

Amen

A Prayer Prompted by Luke 19

Dear Father in Heaven,

Your Son Jesus Christ deserves all the devotion, all the praise and all the commitment that we can possibly give. He is worthy of even more.

He has said that you have given him all authority in heaven and on earth. We need to willingly give him all authority over every part of our lives.

We willingly offer you our talents, relationship, treasure, the truth as much as we know it, and our time. All that we have is from you, so we offer it back to you as yours for us to use in your service.

As stewards we want to be faithful.

And we wait for your Son to return from heaven and begin his earthly rule as King.

So we pray in his name,

Amen

 

Faith that overcomes – 1 John 5:4-5

The truest kind of faith thrives in situations where it looks like it is losing.  The Christian martyrs of old, and for that matter, of the present day, die passively.  They may anger and irritate their attackers, but they clearly do not oppress them.  They are and look like victims.  One might imagine they were defeated souls who were finally giving up, and in a way that is true.  There is a sense in which faith is a form of surrender, not to the bully, but to Christ.  It is evidenced by taking up our cross and following him.

The Apostle John wrote the following after all of his fellow apostles had already met untimely deaths at the hands of their persecutors.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Faith lives while imprisoned, exiled and sometimes put to death.  If we think an overcoming faith needs to look victorious on the outside we get it wrong.  It doesn’t have to look like anything in particular.  Paul knew this when he said, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7).  Faith may be inspiring, but it is not intimidating.  

The important thing about faith is that it just keeps going no matter what happens to it.  Consider that the words faith, faithful and faithfulness are all related in the languages of the Bible as they are English.  At times, in fact, the word translated in the Bible as “faith” needs to be translated as “faithfulness.”  For example, in Romans 3:3, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?”

So a wavering, sometimes uncertain faith can still be real.  The faith of the underdog may be more authentic than the faith of the perpetual champion.  The champion is certainly more tempted to trust completely in himself and his abilities.  The faith that is baffled by circumstances, but nonetheless rises to meet its next challenge, may be the greatest faith of all.  G. K. Chesterton summed it up nicely.

Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all its conquerors.*

 

* Chesterton, G. K.. The G. K. Chesterton Collection [50 Books] . Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition, location 87385

A Prayer Prompted by Luke 7

Dear Father in heaven,

We come before you in humility knowing that in ourselves there is nothing that would make us worthy to have you listen to our prayers.  We truly have nothing to offer but our faith in Christ.  We know that he came to proclaim forgiveness to sinners like ourselves, so we ask you to cleanse us of our sins.

We ask you to make us faithful intercessors, much like the centurion, with respect to those we love. Please hear the prayers that we offer up for others.

Help us to remain faithful in the midst of our own trials, even as John had to remain faithful in prison.

And as we recognize how great your forgiveness has been toward us, make us people who would show you great love.

In Christ,

Amen.