Excerpted from Three Prayer Mistakes of Well-Meaning Believers
A believer may pray, “Lord, give me more love for this person,” when encountering difficulties in a relationship or situations in life. That request assumes that the Lord has not yet provided sufficient love for a believer to deal with “problem people.” However, the Lord has already given more than an adequate supply of divine love for believers to respond in a Christ-like manner to any person or in any situation. Notice the emphasized portion of the following passage.
Romans 5:1-5, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [Emphasis added]
As the Apostle Paul stated in the opening verses of Romans 5, God has poured His love into our hearts. Our challenge as believers is not to “get more love from God” but, instead, is to rely on His strength and respond to the love that God has already granted us in Christ by loving others.
1 John 4:7-12, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (Emphasis added)
1 John 4:19, We love because he first loved us.
Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Ephesians 5:1-2, Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
When we respond to God’s love in this manner, we demonstrate that “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14) and that we are being rooted and grounded in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Ephesians 3:16-19, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Believers pray mistakenly about “getting more love from God in order to love others” because the definition of God’s love is linked to “pleasant emotions” that are personally experienced. God’s love, however, is not self-oriented and is, instead, a sacrificial love which desires and will act on what is in the best interest of others, regardless of feelings. Many aspects of divine love are listed in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
When a believer understands how God’s love can be expressed to others, then a more appropriate prayer could be, “Dear God, I realize I am unworthy of your gracious love provided through the gift of your Son, Jesus. In response to your love for me, I want to demonstrate practical aspects of Christ-honoring love to others. By your grace, allow more of your love to be seen through me.”
Everyone makes mistakes, even in our prayers. The antidote to misstated prayers is for believers to grow in their understanding and application of biblical truth. While growing in Christ, believers can be assured that God knows the heart motivation behind the words of all prayers, including those that are not stated in a biblically accurate manner.
Romans 8:26-27, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Continue to pray, continue to grow in Christ by obeying God’s Word, continue to mature in expressing biblical truth in your prayers, and continue to expect answers to prayers that are in accordance with God’s will.
Need More Love or Use the Love You Have? © 2011 WordTruth, Inc—http://www.wordtruth.net
Verses from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001Version by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers