One Prayer 1

Just [ONE] Prayer? Life Church, (one of the most innovative churches in the country), is partnering with hundreds of local churches globally to do a message/talk/sermon series simultaneously called: ONE Prayer. The premise of the series is, "If God would answer only 'ONE prayer' for the church at large, what would you pray?"

Let me explain it this way. You're walking down the street and something shiny catches the corner of your eye. You go towards it and you see a beautiful, but dirty glass. This is not just any ordinary bottle, because you've never seen anything quite like it before. You think...hey, this bottle just may be worth something. So you quickly pick it up, hide it under your jacket and hurry home with your newfound treasurer. As you get home and begin to wipe the dirt off of your new find suddenly, a genie appears from out of the bottle (I know, this is kind of weird but use your imagination here). The genie promises you as its new master ONE wish (sure it's usually three but we're in hard times wishes are expensive). 

What do you wish for? It's easy when you have three wishes but only ONE. It's hard to come up with just ONE wish. What if you blow it and wish for the wrong thing--there are no do-overs. With ONE wish you've got to think through the pros and cons of your wish. 

Let me see should I wish for? Maybe millions of dollars... the intelligence of Albert Einstein... the most beautiful spouse in the world (got her). OK, all of those seem shallow so let me use my ONE wish for something a little more humanitarian... a cure for cancer or AIDS... maybe I should wish for an end to world hunger or poverty.

This ONE wish thing is harder then it seems. I think you get the point. Having to choose ONE prayer is something like only getting ONE wish without the genie and the bottle.

There are so many concerns for the Church--so many ways that we fall short of being the spotless bride of Christ. 

So what should I pray for... faith... love... power... purity... relevancy... authenticity... selflessness... audaciousness... passion... effectiveness... courage... unity... urgency... revolution...boldness?

So many choices and only ONE prayer.

My ONE prayer for the faith community that I journey with is this: that we discover and or re-discover that Jesus really loves us. I know we learned this when we were little... 

I still know the words by heart—Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tell me so.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-18 TM

Here's the deal, we may know that Jesus loves us in a mental, aspirational, surface kind of way, But, I'm convinced that most of us don't really believe it when it counts. 

Most of us, have no problem believing that Jesus loves us when we're good little boys and girls but what about when we mess up? God answers that question for the children of Israel right in the middle of their screw-ups…

God told them,  I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! Jeremiah 31:3 TM

Here’s the real question that most of us want answered…

Does Jesus love us in the gutter of our lives--when we've purposely turned our backs on him--when we've done what any REAL Christian would never do?

What about when we--skip church, our devotions, prayer and giving? Does He keep on loving us when we-- won't forgive,  hate those who hurt, and live different in the night then we live in the day?

He [Jesus] presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8 (TM)

All our lives we've been loved with conditions. There's been a price to pay for love. Sometimes it's meant meeting someone's expectations. While other times it’s cost us what we really didn't have to give. We've experienced… love that last as long as we reciprocate…love that had a price tag to costly to pay and too painful to keep.

So it's no wonder we hear about Jesus loving us and think sure...OK. Love or the lack there of from… parents, friends, acquaintances or even the playground crew at school has shaped our view of 

God… as a Task Master, good luck charm, and/or fear monger

Others… are to be used, degraded and/or disposed of

Ourselves… as looser, worthless, and/or better then others

You see why it's so important that we get that Jesus love us. My ONE prayer for the faith community that I journey with is that we understand at a visceral level that:

Jesus loves us no matter __________(WHAT –U- fill in the blank). The apostle Paul fills in the blank with these words...TROUBLE... HARD TIMES... HATRED... HUNGER.... HOMELESSNESS... BULLYING THREATS... BACKSTABBING...THE WORST SINS LISTED IN THE BIBLE... (WOW)

Are you getting it? Jesus LOVES U(S)!

At the very end of his time on earth he fully demonstrates his love at a final dinner meal.

Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. John 13:1 TM

Here are some more words to fill in the blank... LIVING... DEAD... ANGELIC.... DEMONIC... TODAY... TOMORROW... HIGH... LOW... THINKABLE... UNTHINKABLE.

I think there's ONE word that sums up Jesus' view on what can separate us from his love...the ONE word is NOTHING! In fact Paul prayed the same prayer for his Church plant in Ephesus listen…

And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 TM

My ONE prayer for our faith community is that we would realize that... WE-R-LOVED…by the ONE who is love! How's that for ONE prayer? -jfhey-ii

*Scripture unless identified is from (from Romans 8:35-39 TM)

 

Posted by James Heyward at 7:55 PM