Dear Heavenly Father, on behalf of our church family, I come to you.
You are the one who has loved us so undeservedly, so deeply in Christ’s shocking, humiliating condescension. And, you are the one who will complete the journey to joy you have begun in us. When Christ returns you promise to fully deliver us from our deserved humiliation and transform us, soul and body, into the glorious likeness of your Son.
Even now, as we await the fulfillment of all you have promised, you are moving us more deeply into satisfaction and delight. You richly, constantly empower us in Christ. By the supply of your Spirit we are able to become everything that you yearn for us to be today. We are able to do everything that you yearn for us to do today. There is no situation capable of forcing us away from your good purposes in and through us. We can continue to love you, one another, and the world as you have loved us in Christ. Whether we are in times of lack or in times of plenty. Whether we are enduring suffering or caring for the suffering. Whether we are being loved by one another or whether we are being neglected, or even attacked by another. Whether we are near one another or following you in different places or in different ways. Whether we are giving/receiving praise or bringing/being rebuke(d). Teach us the secret of satisfaction, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
With adoration and thanksgiving we ask for your enabling to excel in our love for one another. We want to become people who yearn for one another what you yearn for us. We want to love one another in ways that more and more reflect the astounding way we have been loved by you in Christ. May we be more secure and satisfied in your love for us. We want to free our relationships from the burden of expectations that they cannot bear. May we be more directed by your passions and priorities in our love for one another. Please free us from seeking our own glory, from competing or comparing, from any resentment at the successes or blessings enjoyed by each other. May we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Please free us from evaluating our relationships merely on the basis of what we receive. Rather, help us to evaluate them based more on whether we have loved others in a manner consistent with your love for us and in a manner fitting for those empowered by Christ.
We want to love one another excellently. We want to selflessly love as Christ has loved us so that we might maximize God’s saving work in and through one another. We want to become people who are constrained by your love to be delighted to take the lesser for us—awkwardness, rejection, weariness, ingratitude, mockery, etc.--so that we might promote the greater in each other and those who don’t know Christ. We want to love one another so that we individually and collectively will shine like brilliant lights in the midst of the many whose lives are darkened and distorted by sin in a use or be used world. We want our common delight in Christ and our common desire to move one another more fully into that delight to be what we are known for.
Ultimately, we want to love one another so that we can look forward to standing blemish-free and righteousness-full on the “day of Christ”. We know this is the goal of your gracious gift of righteousness in Christ that was ours when we believed the gospel. May we increasingly reflect God’s glorious, delight-filled purposes for us as individuals, as a family and as families. And may we increasingly become a people whose lives are “a sweet aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, a delight” to you. In the name of the One who perfectly delighted in your gracious and merciful saving purposes toward rebellious, broken sinners that he willingly became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, Amen