A Prayer for Weeping and Dancing, in Response to the Gospel
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thess. 5:23-24
Holy and loving Father, as I continue to pray and read my way through Lent, it’s portions of your Word like this one that make me want to weep and dance at the same time. I feel like weeping over the years I spent in gospel-ignorance—a stranger to the ways of grace. As a young believer, I was certain my guilt was gone, but clueless about how you actually change your sons and daughters. I suffered much under the hands of bad theologies, man-centered remedies, and Christ-less formulas.
But this one passage alone tells me that you not only called me to life in Jesus, but that you’re also transforming me into the image of Jesus, and that you’ll keep me blameless until the Day Jesus returns to finish making all things new. From beginning to the end, salvation is by you and for your glory. How freeing, how encouraging, how joy-making! The God of peace you are, indeed! Where else can such peace, joy, and assurance be found?
Father, how did I miss the really good news of the gospel for so long? Why was I such an easy target for performance-based spirituality? Why wasn’t I able to recognize corruptions of the gospel sooner?
I lament the years I spent in seeing Jesus more as my perfect model than as my perfect Righteousness. Instead of savoring a life of union and communion with Jesus, I was in a perpetual cycle of rededicating my life to Jesus; trying to make him Lord of all things; holding out for the next great work of the Spirit in my life to finally set me free. How did I miss so much of the good news of your grace for so very long?
Enough of looking back in sadness. I choose to look up in gladness, for you’ve turned my mourning into dancing, Father. You’ve removed the sackcloth of my self-righteousness and have clothed me with the wedding garments of the Lamb. With the music of the great banquet already emanating from heaven, my prayer is simply this: More and more, and through and through, make me more like Jesus.
By your grace and for your glory, reveal more of Jesus’ beauty to me and through me. You are faithful, and you will do it, Father. So very Amen I pray, with profound gratitude and humble assurance, in Jesus’ holy name.