A Prayer for Bringing Our Relationships to the Throne of Grace

     Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14

     Dear Lord Jesus, it happened again this year. The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve always seems to put a spotlight on the core issue of our lives—our relationships…everything we love about them, and everything difficult about them. And that’s just as it should be.

You came into our broken world to make all things new; and you came for broken people, to make us as beautiful as yourself. All of which to say, you’ve got a lot to work with, Jesus!

Our hope is great, for the outcome of your work is certain; but our hearts are vulnerable, for the process of renewal is necessarily messy. Like a melody we can’t get out of our minds, replay this truth over and over in our hearts: You give grace to the humble, but you resist the proud… you give grace to the humble, but you resist the proud…

We praise you for the outpouring of grace that brought us into rich relationship with yourself. Because of you, Jesus, we’ve been chosen, declared to be holy, and now we are dearly loved children of God.

The most enjoyable parts of our relationships give us a tiny symbol …

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A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Prov. 17:1

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.“ Luke10:41-42

     Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve—arguably, one of the most pressure-laden, detail-heavy, preparation-peaking, relationship-stressing, and traffic-snarly days of the year. We are so thankful that you are the Prince of Peace, and that you’ve come to make peace, in the chaos of our world and hearts.

As this day unfolds, grant us wisdom to discern the difference between the many Martha-like-details that really don’t matter; and the “one good thing” you commended in Mary. Jesus, be our treasure and pleasure; the focus of our gaze and the joy of our hearts; not just, the “reason-for-the-season”, but, the very center of our existence.

May your welcoming, kind, gracious heart be the most notable reality in our homes this Christmas. Bring your centering peace to bear in profound and sensate ways. Grant us copious amounts of your mercy for our prodigals; your grace for our brokenness; and your compassion, for one and all alike.

To the degree our traditions have become idols; our expectations have …

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A Prayer for Gospel-permeated, Grace-saturated Relationships

     Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12-14 

     Merciful Lord Jesus, this portion of your Word is brimming over with unparalleled encouragement and heart-smiting conviction. You’ve made us for deep intimacy and relational joy, first and foremost with yourself. And out of that relationship, we are to love others as you love us; but sin sure has done a number on how we relate to one another. I’m glad there’s grace and repentance for every soul-sucking, crazy-making, immaturity-showing relational dance we learn.
     Lord Jesus, as someone chosen in you before the world began, holy in you, and dearly loved by you, help me stay aware of how others experience me. Convict me when I come across as a minefield of irritability, a self-righteous porcupine, or a rigid control-meister. I don’t want to be the kind of person who makes others feel the need to tiptoe around or avoid me. Through the resources of the gospel, help me to see, own, and deal with the ways I love poorly.
     My need doesn’t stop there, Jesus. I’m also guilty of being on the other end of this broken style of relating—of treating others as too fragile …

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A Prayer for Even More Freedom in Jesus

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the morning of the 4th of July, and I’m very thankful to be living in the “land of the free.” But I’m still not as free as you intend, nor as joyful, for that matter. Though you’ve already freed me from trying to earn my salvation by anything I do or am; though you’ve already liberated me from the illusion that I can earn more of God’s love by doing more goodness and less foolishness; though the chains of condemnation have already been obliterated and the fears of death, judgment day, and the future have been sent packing by your perfect love—I’m still not as free as you intend.

As I read the Scriptures and reflect on my relationships, I feel very much like a babe—a neophyte, a raw rookie in so many gospel freedoms. Only the gospel helps us see and own our sin, brokenness and bondage. Only your grace keeps us from going to shame and self-contempt as we do so. Hear my prayers and bring more grace.

Jesus, please free me for loving others as you joyfully and relentlessly love us. There’s no freedom more central and powerful for revealing your glory. Help me return kindness for coldness, pursuit for avoidance; gospel for gossip. I want to be less irritated more often with fewer people. Help me to use fewer words and more listening when talking with others. Please unshackle me from the …

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A Prayer about Eggshell Walking Relationships

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:12–14

Merciful Jesus, I can’t think of a passage in any translation of the Bible that uses the image of “walking on eggshells” to describe one of the broken ways we often relate to one another. But I’m glad there’s grace and repentance for this, and the many other destructive relational dances we develop with one another. You’ve made us for honest, caring relationships and the richness of intimacy, but sin has pillaged and distorted your good plan. O, how we need the resources of the gospel and the power of your Spirit in all of our relationships.

Jesus, as a people chosen in you before the world began, holy in you, and dearly loved by you, help us realize when others experience us as a minefield of irritability, a self-righteous porcupine, or a rigid control-meister. We don’t want to be the kind of people who make others feel the need to tiptoe around us or avoid us. Help us see, own, and deal with the ways we make ourselves inaccessible, unapproachable and unteachable. Gentle and humble us by the gospel.

Our need doesn’t stop there, Jesus. We also need your grace when we’re …

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