A Prayer for a Greater Love
by Joseph Franks
My friends and I need a fresh touching or influencing from you today. Our love-lives are messed up.
We know we are to love you with all our hearts, souls, minds, and actions. There are to be no close seconds. You are to be our consuming passion for whom we constantly yearn. Never are you to be far from our mind. Never are we to cease communing with you in worshipful, intimate, prayer.
We know we are to love those created in your image as you have loved us. This is true for our spouses, children, parents, relatives, church members, coworkers, neighbors, foreigners, and even our enemies. Out of love, we are to consider others better than ourselves.
We also know we are to love your inspired Word. It is within the scriptures that we find godly, wise, relevant, and unchanging truth. It is to be read, heard, meditated upon, memorized, and applied. It is our daily food and we are to be fascinated by it.
We are aware we should love your Law, both the spirit and the letter. From your Commands we find that which is righteous, pure, holy, and best. Your principles and rules for pleasurable and acceptable worship are found therein, and these precepts should light us up because we are hungry to glorify you whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do.
We should love your Gospel. Your performance for lost sinners like us should set us ablaze. Never should we cease preaching this to ourselves, our families, our church, and our world.
We should also love your church. She is your beloved daughter, the one you purchased with your Son. She is your beloved bride and you redeemed her with your blood. The church has always been and forever will be on your mind. It should constantly be on ours as well.
In addition, we know we are not to love the world or anything in the world. Materialism and hedonism are descriptive of most around us, but these terms are not to be true of us. We have greater things to love. We are to have a higher love.
But Lord, as we have already acknowledged, today, our love-lives are messed up. Like our car tires, our love-lives needs realignment. Like guitar strings, we are horribly out of tune. We confess we love ourselves much more than you or any of our neighbors. We do not love your Word as we ought, and this is proven by our inattention to the reading and hearing of it. In addition, we slander you and your Law by treating it as foolish, narrow, and unnecessarily tight; it is not beautiful to us. Consistently, we forget to preach the Gospel to ourselves and our dearest friends. We neglect to offer it to our enemies, and too often we are guilty of hiding your Good News under a bushel. And your church, she is not greatly adored by us. You may love her, but we tolerate her, neglect her, dismiss her, judge her, manipulate her, harm her, speak ill of her, divide her, and treat her like a middle-school fling as we jump from one girlfriend to another and then to another. Yes, our love-lives are askew. We love too much those things we ought not, and we love too little those things which are wonderful in your sight.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we cannot help ourselves. We cannot seem to make ourselves love the world less, and neither can we make ourselves love more that which is righteous. Oh, we can say we love the right things. We can pretend we love rightly. However, we find ourselves loving what we love and we cannot fix ourselves. We wish there were a magic pill. If you gave it to us, we would swallow it quickly; we might even take two. However, we know of no such magic medicine, and we find ourselves today wanting and loving wrongly.
We see our sin. We deny it not. We confess it, and for some reason we are hungry to repent! Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
We see our Savior, and we know our messed up love-lives were paid for completely by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. We also see his righteousness that has become our own. It makes us smile to know that when you look at us, you see the love-life of Jesus. He loved you perfectly, and because we are clothed in his substitutionary holiness, we are without blemish in your sight. Thank you for casting our fallen love-life into the Sea of Forgetfulness. Thank you for pouring love into our hearts. We sabbath in your undeserved love and relish in the fact that we do not have to love you properly in order to receive your love for us. Yes, it is fantastic to again preach the Gospel to ourselves today, right now. What wondrous love is this!
Therefore, we respond, not out of debt but out of doxology. We honor and worship you now by presenting our requests, and here they are:
You tell us we love you because you first loved us. Would you love us in an extra-special way today by inflaming our love for you? (1 John 4:19)
We want the love of Christ to control us. Will you inflame the controlling passion in our breast? (2 Corinthians 5:14)
We want to love your more so we want to keep your commandments more. Will you help us with our affection that will help us with our attention to duty? (John 14:15)
We understand your loving grace is that which trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and enables us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. Well Lord, would you step up the gracious training a bit more? Would you train us like you do the professionals? Would you kick it up a notch? (Titus 2:12)
We are walking in the Spirit. Whatever our human responsibility, we are seeking to do it now. Therefore, will your Holy Spirit please fall fresh on us and fruit us with his love? (Galatians 5:16-22)
O God, do not these requests sound good, legitimate, holy, and honorable? Are not these supplications in accordance with your holy and revealed will. We think so.
O God, is not our prayer instigated and perfected by your loving Holy Spirit?
O God, is not our prayer similar to that being offered around the throne by our Heavenly Priest and Mediating Pastor?
Therefore, we have confidence that you will give us that for which we and our Savior are asking. Doing our part, we lay it in your hands. Sanctify us O Lord. Pour out your love upon us. We promise that as you love us, we will love you in return. Our hope is in you, the Lover of our Souls.
With great love,
Your Bride, Your Church, Your Beloved, Your Friends