As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9

Lord Jesus, how can it be? How can it possibly be that you love us as much as the Father loves you? Everything in our culture, world, and experience tells us we get what we deserve and earn. But there’s no way we could ever earn such an everything-changing relationship with you. We believe; help our unbelief.

As trout explore the expanse of the Smith River, and as whales dive the depths of the Pacific Ocean, so we will seek to make your love our dwelling place. Teach us how to slow down and linger in your inexhaustible affection for us.

We live distraction-filled, stimulation-needing, production-affirming lives. Free us. Forgive us. Help us break the destructive cycle of “muchness” and “many-ness”—of living “driven” lives, rather than “called” lives. We want heart-richness, not simply more riches to spend in retirement. By your Spirit and the truth of the gospel, take us further in and further up into the multi-dimensional riches of your love (Eph. 3:18-19).

And since you love us this much, it means we can/must stop looking to people to fill the primary relational longings of our hearts. People make lousy, ineffective saviors. We know this is true, but we keep forgetting. Continue to free us from looking to our friends, kids, and spouses to fill us up, make us proud, validate us, or define us. That’s your domain and delight, Jesus.

As we lean into the demands, surprises, and pains of this July Friday, may your prayers for our joy and sovereignty over all things free us to love others as you love us. What a Savior you are, Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your magnificent and merciful name.