When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. (John 18:1-3)
Father, you have met me in so many places in my life, and yet when I return to those places, I so often betray you. I so foolishly fight your will after witnessing your goodness and grace. Lord, I want to stop running from you. Thank you for always calling out to me. At this time, I call out to you so that you would show me marvelous things I would not know on my own. Please give me wisdom on how to spend the rest of my evening for you glory.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:6-11)
Thank you so much, Father, for beginning a good work and me and for the assurance that you will bring it to completion. In your grace, you have delivered me from my own sinful desires and redeemed my life. Please cause your love to abound in me more and more. May my mind be renewed by the knowledge of you, and give me wisdom to discern your ways. Give me a heart that longs for what is good that I might produce a fruit of righteousness. Please guide me today in my interactions with my coworkers, friends, family and anyone else you put in my path.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:22-26)
Father, I long to be in perfect union with you. Thank you for giving me yourself and for making yourself known to me. I want to be where you are to behold your glory. Until then, please use me an an instrument of your will. Unite my heart that I would desire You. Instill in me a love for your commandments and purposes in this world. As you make yourself known to me, help me to make You known to others. I am still in desperate need of your redemption and restoration. Thank you for loving me and saving me from myself.
A few days ago, I asked God to show me what it means to bring glory to Him. Though I had a vague understanding of what that looks like, I wanted to know exactly what it means. The sermon at church yesterday was about being unified with God and how that is the central doctrine of the gospel. Since the glory of God is His magnificent and awesome being, to bring glory to Him is to be unified with him that His being may be in us! Consequently, we become representatives of God not merely through emulation, but through perfect identification! As Dallas Willard explains, we must pursue communication, communion, and ultimately union with God. The tragic result of this union is that when we sin, we implicate Christ in our sin. Thanks be to God that we are being transformed from glory to glory by the Spirit of God!
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (Psalm 86:11-12)
Father, your love for me is steadfast and never changing. You have saved me from my sin, and you are renewing my mind with the knowledge of you. god I want to know your way and I want to walk in your truth. My heart is so divided. I want to be made whole. To be made whole is to be joined with you. Only then can I see through your eyes and love you through perfect obedience. Please continue to teach me and cause me to glorify your name. I am still learning what that means, but I trust that you will cause your truth to come alive in my life. Thank you for inviting me to spend time with you once again. May your name be praised!
After king Hezekiah was healed by God of a deathly sickness, he recorded a prayer including this portion:
Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise you; those who go down to the pit do not hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness. The LORD will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the LORD.
I am so thankful for the grace of God that is healing me of this deathly sinful nature. In His love, He has delivered me from the pit of destruction and cast all my sins behind His back. This is the amazing news of the gospel: Christ in us, the hope of glory. He desires to have a living relationship with me. He has invited me to commune with Him in this life and the one to come, and I will forever praise His name. But I am only able to declare His name to others on this side of heaven. Only in this life can I proclaim His greatness to those who have not seen or heard. I am reminded and challenged to make use of every opportunity to bring glory to God’s name as long as I have breath.
There is a ironic paradox that is created when we exercise our free will in submission to the will of God. With any given list of options, one could imagine that they might be sorted in order from best to worst. Let us presume that some criterion exists which perfectly distinguishes any option as better or worse than any other. We often make choices based on what seems best in the moment or based on emotions or peer pressure or convenience, but seldom do we make the best choice because we can only see so far. In every decision, it would be ideal to pick the best option according to that perfect criterion. There are two ways to progress towards that ultimate state: 1) that the decision maker becomes familiar with that perfect criterion and selects the best option through reason or 2) that the list of options is narrowed by removing the inferior selections until only the best remains. If both of these happen simultaneously, then the decision maker fully embraces the best and only option. But does he really have a choice anymore? Do you have to have more than one option in order to make a choice? This paradox that can be really confusing in Christianity. As God transforms us into His likeness, we become familiar with what is best for us. We exercise our free will by choosing to submit to His will. This submission removes all other options so that the only choice left is God. You could argue that at this point, you have lost your ability to choose. In reality, this is choice brought to perfection.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. (Psalm 17:8,15)
Father, it is overwhelming to know that you consider me the apple of your eye. You desire to have a relationship with me. You shower me with love and grace. You gave everything for me, even Your very life. Thank you for forming me and calling me as your own. I come to you for comfort, protection and salvation. Never let me run away from you. Awaken my desire to see you face to face. I want to treasure you more than my own life. Nothing in this world can satisfy what I need and desire apart from you.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:2,7,11)
Father, you are reminding me that I have nothing good apart from You. I like to think that the successes I have are my own, but You are the own who has provided everything for me. You have given me the wisdom, strength, favor, and everything else that I need for my job, my relationships, and my ministry. Thank you for instructing me in Your ways. Help me to heed Your voice and be obedient to Your calling on my life. My own plans will ultimately lead to my own demise, but You lead me to abundant life. My joy is found in Your salvation. All of the pleasures of this world are only temporary, but Your eternal presence is overwhelming. Thank you for inviting me to spend time with You. I want to know you more and grow to be more like You every day. Please guide my steps today and reveal Your purposes for my life.