Litany of the Love of God

Melanie, over at Joy Of Nine9 has blessed me yet again, this time with Litany of the Love of God.  It is so beautiful!  As I read, I found myself praying, in agreement with the words, and as I did, some of the words pierced through places in my spirit that I had been protecting from painful memories and past injuries.

It is challenging to say with complete honesty, that I allow my love to return to Him:

  • with all my heart (above the place that my husband, children, and grandchildren hold there);
  • with all my soul (that part of me that makes me who I am…including the masks I wear, the fortresses I’ve built around it for protection from pain, and the parts of it that have been robbed by fear, doubt, and unbelief);
  • with all my mind (above my own understanding and expectations of who God is, how He works, what He desires);
  • with all my strength (because I know the reserves I keep for the times when I don’t rely on His strength to do what He asks me to, or to do what I choose to do instead of what He’s asked me to do…I know well the areas of my being that are not surrendered to Him, and that I hold back).

Do I really mean it, when I tell Him, “Lord, I love you back, not for what you lavish me with, but just for who You are…”

  • above all possessions and honors,
  • above all pleasures and enjoyments
  • More than myself and all that belongs to me,
  • More than all my relatives and friends,
  • More than all men and angels,
  • Above all created things in heaven or on earth,

Oh!  I want to…but I know I fall short!  I am guilty of placing things above that love for Him.  How easily they get in the way, because I do love my things…my family…my friends…even myself and my accomplishments.  How sobering a reminder to keep all His riches that He shares with us in their proper perspective.  Of course, it’s right and expected for me to be thankful for all these blessings that He gives, with the knowledge that they are from His hand, and they are to given to me for His glory, not my own.

  • In wealth and in poverty,
  • In prosperity and in adversity,
  • In health and sickness,
  • In life and death,
  • In time and eternity (in what I know of in my now, and forever after)

I used to think it was easier to trust God and to love Him in the good times than it was in the hard times.  This notion has been tested and found to be untrue over the past ten years.  We’ve gone from employment and home ownership, to unemployment and homelessness (and back again); from having supportive family around us, to suffering fractured, painful dynamics; we’ve lost aged parents and welcomed grandbabies; and I can honestly say, through all of it, my love for God was strengthened in the days that I cried out for and received His comfort and consolations.  It was not easier to love God in the easy times, in fact, when times were easy, so was the ability to forget Him, and become complacent.

There is a hidden wisdom in the Lord’s prayer, when we ask for our daily bread.  I realized a rich dimension of thankfulness and awe in watching and waiting for daily provision, that was not present in our years of plenty, when I was buying groceries to stock a pantry for the month.  It’s not that I didn’t know where my help came from, but I was not reminded of it every day, and our blessing over the meal did not inspire awe then as it did when we did not know where our next meal would come from and were provided for on a daily basis.

I love the end of this litany…where I can unite the love I am returning to God with the love of all the saints and angels, even with the love of His own mother, and with His own infinite love.  Just in case mine falls short (and it does), it still returns to Him complete, because of the unity of His body.  What a beautiful picture of an answer to His prayer for us, that we be one, as He and the Father are one.

 

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Prayer Journal – Let Thy Kingdom Come

kingdom comeWhen Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus, and “found” him in the synagogue teaching the teachers, they asked why he would behave this way and cause them anxiety.  If we want to follow and imitate Him,  His answer should give us a clue to our mission.  He answered;  “didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2)

As His followers, we need to be about our Father’s business.  When we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are recognizing that His will in heaven is our business here on earth, and when we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are lining ourselves up with and agreeing with His will for His Kingdom.  If we are boldly praying for His Kingdom to come, it would behoove us to know what His kingdom looks like.  I think we get a great insight into this by the example Jesus set for us in His prayer  in John 17.

According to this passage, His will is:

  • …that He be glorified in me so that He can bring glory to the Father.
  • …that I know Him.  And as a result of knowing Him, I have eternal life in Him.
  • …that we (His followers) be one, as He and the Father are one…His will is unity in the Spirit.
  • …to have His joy made complete in me.
  • …that I would be sanctified in His word, that is truth.
  • …that the world will know God loves them and will believe Jesus was sent from God by looking at me, and seeing my relationship in Christ.
  • …that God’s love will be in me, and that Jesus Himself will be in me.

thy will

Here I wrote out my favorite answer to the question “What does God want me to do?  What is His will for me?”  I actually learned to sing this Scripture when I was young, and it has never left me.

You can read more of my thoughts on this here.

earth_heaven

I was meditating on this part of the verse as John 17’s words about unity and oneness with the Father, Son, and one another reverberated through my mind, mingled with parts of the Apostle’s creed.  His will (according to John 17) is that we be one…and according to this model of prayer that He gave us, we are to pray that His will be done on earth, as in heaven.  He has one body, and we are all part of one another, here on earth as well as in heaven.

This is a vivid picture of the communion of the saints that is taught and professed in the apostles creed.  Though they have gone from this life on earth to REAL life, eternal life in heaven, a departed saint is still part of the “body of Christ”.  Dying has not disconnected them from Christ’s body of believers, otherwise, where would they go?  Christ only has one body, and it is comprised of those here on earth, as well as those in heaven.

I believe they are part of that cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that is watching and cheering us on in our journey (the race), and they can and do continue to pray to the Father for us.  They haven’t left or been removed from His body, they are still active participants in His will at the feet of “our Father in heaven”, just as we are present in His body, the church, here on earth.  We are still one body, and we are held together, connected in purpose and spirit, by the Son, in whom we find unity one with another, as He prayed we would.

Our Father

Petitions