John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was a man of God. So many times, I think of his sermons and letters, his concern for the poor and needy or his design for small groups and accountability. But lately I have come across prayers he wrote and have found them to be quite a treasure. One of his prayers is a prayer to live at the heart of things.
This particular prayer is one that I believe Christians ought to pray on a regular basis:
"O God, Infinite Goodness, confirm your past mercies to me by empowering me for the rest of my life to act more faithfully than I have in the past. For the time I have left on earth, let me satisfy your command to love you totally. Don't let me live under delusion. Do not let me rest in my outward devotion. Do not let me trust in works, sighs or tears. Do activate love for you. Do grace me with awareness of loving you with all my heart. Amen."
This prayer reminds us of the importance of avoiding complacency. We do not want to be people who are content where we are in our relationships with the Lord. We need refreshment from Him, challenge from His Word, and courage to live out our lives "more faithfully than we have in the past."
The Christian life is about being molded and shaped daily by God's Holy Spirit and His Word in order that we might show our love for God with all our hearts the way that we are commanded to in Scripture.
The thing that speaks to me most in this prayer is Wesley's desire to obey the command to love God totally, with all our hearts.
It is difficult to give to God our hearts completely. It is easy get caught up in the cares of the world and lists of things to do. People hesitate to trust anyone completely.
We are people who have been hurt, who are suspicious of others, who are skeptical about anything that requires such a complete and total trust.
As Christians, we are reminded by God's Word that he is worthy of our trust. Psalm 100:5 says, "For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Jesus has commanded us to love God with everything that we have and are. He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment." God's Word is replete with examples of His worthiness and faithfulness. We can entrust our hearts to Him. Only when we do this can we truly be empowered for the rest of our lives to "act more faithfully than we have in the past." May we truly be people who are unwavering in our commitment to God and our love for Him, demonstrating that in our lives more every day as He works in and through our hearts.
Laura Skiba is pastor of North Star United Methodist Church at Mile 25.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski. Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m. and worship is at 11 a.m. For more information, call 776-8732.
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