A Prayer for Preparing to Love Well in 2016

     But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Tit. 3:4-6 (ESV)

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Rom. 2:4 (NASB)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for being so extraordinarily kind, gentle, and patient with us. You don’t love us to the degree we love others; you love us to the degree you’ve hidden our lives in Christ, which is completely. This good news is our peace, hope, and joy, as we begin the New Year. It’s also the basis and rocket fuel of our repentance, and the motivation and means for our obedience.

The only thing that’s going to count in 2016, (as in every other year), is “faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6). Don’t let us forget this, Father. Don’t let us congratulate ourselves about anything, if we fail to love well. Without love, we are nothing. Without love, all is “zilch”. Without love, we may live disciplined lives, but not as recognizable disciples of Jesus (John 13:34-35).

So, Father, as we reach into the closet of the gospel for the “garments of grace”—“compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” we’re going to trust you for desire and strength to love others as Jesus loves us. There are many people in our lives who are so easy to love; and then there are “others,” Father.

Help us love those who have hurt us, those who drain us, and those who will never acknowledge our kindness or return it. Help us love those who vote differently than us, and worship differently than us. Help us love our kids, spouses, and neighbors that make life enjoyable, and those who make us long for Jesus’ second coming.

Thank you, Father, thank you that the gospel is true. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and loving name.