A Prayer for Relishing God’s Favor and Loving Difficult People
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19
Dear Lord Jesus, I know this passage very well, but today I feel my need for these truths to come alive in my heart in a fresh and transforming way. I’m zeroing in on the promise of God’s favor, which you offer to all of us who trust in you—to every prisoner who receives the liberation you freely give. The world, the flesh and the devil, mount an unrelenting assault against this good news. They conspire to make us feel like the banner flying over our heads isn’t love (Song of Sol. 2:4) but failure, clueless, powerless and shame.
You’ve taught me in the past about the importance of stewarding my emotions—that is, about not reacting to difficult people with fear and anger, but responding to them with listening and grace. Jesus, all of that just flew out the window yesterday, and I’m coming to you, now, acknowledging that I committed heart homicide—that I became the elder brother standing in condescending judgment of others; that I completely ignored the log in my own eye; that I enjoyed resentment and bitterness a little too much.
Some people are just more difficult to love than others. That’s my issue, not theirs. Some people and situations can “push my buttons”—buttons I need you to fix or replace. Indeed, the last thing I want to do is to settle comfortably down into a pity party and blame fest.
I’m a poor man in need of the good news today, Jesus. I need you to proclaim freedom to my trigger happy heart. I need you to open my eyes to see the gospel today as though I was seeing it for the very first time. I need release from the oppression of my introspection and the condemnation of Satan.
Lord Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor to my heart today, in this moment. I can explain this great truth to others, but right now I need to know it for myself. My theology is not in doubt, but my doxology is sucking wind. Wrap the good news of my justification and adoption, around my heart all over again. The favor of people was never enough, and it never will be. Bring me the peace of knowing God’s favor is resting on me, only because of you. I want to love others as you love me, Jesus. You never said that would be easy, though. So very Amen I pray, in your most loving and freeing name.