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Thank you Scotty Smith for this much needed prayer today (from today’s entry at Scotty’s blog “Heavenward”).

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. 3 John 9-10

Dear Lord Jesus, to have one’s name recorded in the Bible is one thing. But to be chronicled there as someone who loved to be first isn’t a very attractive proposition at all. I have no clue what was going on in Diotrephes’ life that made him disrespectful of the apostle John and so divisive in the community. But his story certainly invites me to look at mine.

Jesus, please free me from the ways I, too, love to be first.

In my marriage—when being right and winning the argument is more important than listening and understanding my spouse… when I angle for the biggest cookie or control of the TV remote… when my obsession to be on time outweighs my commitment to kindness and patience.

In my friendships—when my delight in being remembered and appreciated is more pronounced than my record of staying in touch and serving my friends.

In my vocation—when the people with whom I work experience me as someone more preoccupied with my reputation and success than knowing and caring for each member of the whole team.

In the general population—when I navigate through life with little eye contact and a short memory for names of neighbors… when I push my shopping-cart around like I’m driving in the Daytona 500—racing up and down the aisles, grabbing items and speeding-up to get to the shortest check-out line first.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. You’ve never loved to be first. In fact, you didn’t consider equality with God something to be held onto selfishly. Rather, you emptied yourself by becoming man and servant extraordinaire. You served me by fulfilling all the demands of God’s law as my substitute and you exhausted God’s judgment against me as you died in my place on the cross. Now, you ever live to serve me, as my advocate, intercessor and bridegroom.

I am convicted and humbled, afresh, by your unselfishness and servanthood. Restore my first love for you, that my love for being first will decrease and die a thousand deaths. So very Amen, I pray, in your merciful and matchless name.