We thank you for the privilege of being together
at this time and in this place.
As your people, we pray that your love
will unite us into a fellowship of discovery.
Cleanse us of everything that would
sap our strength for togetherness.
Unravel the knots in our spirits.
Cleanse the error of our minds.
Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations.
Break down the barriers that sometimes keep us apart
and cause us to drift along without a dream.
As we go from here – Explode in us new possibilities for service.
Kindle within us the fires of your compassion
so that we may not wait too long
to learn to love.
May we be a people with loving purposes –
Reaching out …
Breaking walls …
Building bridges …
Let us be your alleluia in a joyless, fragmented world.
In the name of our Lord, we pray. Amen.
— Champ Traylor
This was the opening prayer at a ladies retreat I attended. Isn’t it beautiful? If you skipped it or read it quickly, let your eyes and your heart drift over it again. Unravel the knots in our spirits . . . . Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations . . .Kindle compassion . . . learn to love . . . be your alleluia.
How appropriate for this Easter season that we would encounter a prayer petitioning God for an urgent desire to learn to love – right now, with the Cross of Good Friday directly in our sight lines and the greatest demonstration of Love the world has ever witnessed just over the horizon. How fitting that the words we read appear to describe the full and abundant life, the life of purpose, that Love reached across death and rose to offer us. Reaching out . . . Breaking walls . . . Building bridges . . . be your alleluia.
Yes Sweet One, Love burst forth from the tomb – He reached beyond the grave and would not be walled in. Love bridged the chasm of sin between the Creator and the created – He would not leave us isolated, hopeless and alone. And He has breathed life into our souls so that we might yearn to live and to love like Him, to truly be His alleluia in the joyless, fragmented world all around us. Is that not what Love living in us will look like if we will but surrender and choose it?
Is that not the very thing the Messiah came for? Not to simply speak love or speak about love, but to demonstrate to us and for us the breadth, the depth and the length of a heart purposed to be Love. A heart purposed to have no discrepancy between word and deed—committed to look on the helpless and the harassed and offer hope. A heart purposed to see with eyes of grace –steadfast in reaching out with the hand of Truth. Oh Beloved, His love knew no limits—it would not be contained that Easter morning and it will not be contained today.
Yet, too often I find that the knots in my spirit choke out the love in my heart and the error of my mind obscures my vision of the truth. The bondage from my vain imagination chains me to fear, uncertainty, and isolation. And I am sapped of my strength to do life by my Sister’s side, by my husband’s side, by my child’s side. I am ineffective as an encourager, a prayer warrior, or a joy deliverer because I am consumed with “the everything” of this temporal life. Sister, I need this prayer– in this season of life and in this time – and may I be so bold as to suggest that you consider your own need as well?
Not only do we need to say this prayer with sincere and believing hearts, but I believe with everything I am that the hurting ones, those who are doing life in the joyless and fragmented world, they need us to say this prayer with genuine desire. They need me, they need you, to ache to be filled with Love so that we will have the tenacity it takes to reach beyond ourselves and grab their hands in the midst of their circumstances. It is urgent for them that we break down the walls and emerge from behind the barriers with hearts full of grace and a renewed purpose to love. And it is essential for them that you and I long to be bridge builders of integrity who long to love the same way Jesus does—with extravagance.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2, The MSG
Girlfriend, if the day is not today to Love like that, then when?
If this is not the season to be the alleluia, what season will be?
Every day and every season is our day . . .our day to LOVE.
If the Father has called us to His side and we know Jesus as our Savior then the Spirit, who is Love, beats within us. He is our promise that until we see Grace face-to-face, until we look Love in the eyes – He will empower us to live beyond our limited, cautious love. See, Sister, no matter what life circumstance we face, no matter what hurt we have endured, no matter how certain we are that our well has run dry He is our guarantee that Love is surely alive and well within us.
We may run out of energy to love others—He does not.
We may not have what it takes to reach out—He does.
We may have come to our limit—He never will.
Oh Beloved, we need to shout the alleluia at the end of each one of those statements, fall to our knees and praise Him that there is an end to us! Because when we arrive at the end of ourselves – that’s when Love truly lives.
And, our Jesus, the One and Only – who perfectly lived, died, and rose to Love –desires not only to give love to us, He longs to give love through us. See, Sweet One, when He rescues us from death . . .
we become His living love story.
We leave our knotted spirits in the hands of the One who loves us.
We follow His lead, leaving our negative imaginations behind.
We hang on His every Word,
watch His every move,
so that we can learn to love extravagantly.
And every day, every moment, every season brings us closer to our happy ending . . .
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God,
And the best of the three is love.
LOVE LIKE THAT