A Prayer for Not Being First

     I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. 3 John 9-10

     Dear Lord Jesus, I certainly don’t begin this day throwing stones at Diotrephes—chronicled as a very selfish man. Indeed, please convict me and free me from the ways, I too, love to be first; and I praise you that there’s grace for that.

     In my marriage—when my zeal to be right and win the argument is more notorious than my commitment to listen and understand my spouse; when I pout more than I pursue my spouse; when my “to do list” is more important than my “to love list”.

     In my friendships—when my “need” to be remembered and appreciated is more pronounced than my commitment to stay in touch and serve my friends.

     In my vocation—when the people who work with me feel like I’m far more taken up with my reputation and success, than I’m committed to love and serve as a member of a team.

     In the grocery store or roadways—when I shop and drive competitively—to be first to the checkout line or through the intersection.

     In my memory—when I have better recall of how people have disappointed and hurt me than I remember the ways you love me so faithfully and passionately.

     Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. You didn’t consider your equality with God something to be held onto selfishly. You didn’t love to be first. Rather, you emptied yourself by taking the very nature of a man—a servant man, a man who served me by fulfilling all the demands of the law for me and by exhausting God’s judgment against all my sin on the cross. Now you ever live to serve me as our advocate, intercessor, and Bridegroom.

     I am convicted and humbled afresh by your lavish and selfless love. 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 matchless and merciful name.