A Prayer about the Joy of Getting Smaller
They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:26-30
Dear Lord Jesus, I’m not sure about a wardrobe of camel’s hair clothing, and a diet of locusts and wild honey (Matt. 3:4); but I am sure I want more of John the Baptist’s joy—the joy of you becoming greater, while I become less. Indeed, John leapt for joy at the very thought of you even before he was born (Luke 1:39-41). By your grace, and for your glory, please generate more of that same doxological delight deep in my bones.
I’d love to be so “smitten” with you that hearing your name exalted would put a bigger smile on my heart than hearing my name mentioned. I’d love to be more glad when you’re being magnified, than sad when I’m being marginalized. That would free me from my insecurities, self-preoccupation, and fear of man.
Like John, I’d love to be more inclined to listen for your voice than insistent that my voice be heard. That would free from my “need” to be understood and my efforts to get the last word in. I’d be less seduced by men’s praise, and undone by men’s disdain. That would strike a fatal blow to my idol of people-approval.
I’d love to experience greater grief when people don’t “get” you, than when they don’t “get” me. That would mean I’m more comfortable with being irrelevant, misunderstood and smaller in my world’s eye. That would be clear evidence of the power of the gospel at work in my life.
I’d love to be able to say with John, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven” (John 3:27) and really, really mean it. That would mean I’d be quicker to accept “the giving and the taking away’s” of your hand, equally, as sovereign appointments from your throne of grace. I’d be freer to love and serve you, no matter what. My joy would be more bound up with you than with my circumstances.
Lord Jesus, most kind and beautiful Bridegroom, bring more of this joy and freedom to my expectant heart. So very Amen I pray, in your priceless and peerless name.