FOCUS QUESTION: Why are prayer and surrender so important?
Prayer and surrender are the most important aspects of loving deeply. Apart from God, there is nothing good about us. In Romans 7:18, Paul confesses, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
It’s not our first instinct to be fully present, display a Christlike attitude, or serve others. For example, our first instinct tells us to:
- look at our phone while eating dinner with a friend to see who texted us and text them back
- keep walking past the trash lying on the ground
- let the door close behind us because we’re in a hurry
- express anger or frustration when the restaurant doesn’t have what we want
- focus on our own needs instead of the needs of others
Prayer and surrender enable us to push past our tendency to act on impulse and act in a way that imitates Christ instead.
In Mark 9:50, Jesus tells us, “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth” because salt is what preserves food and gives it its taste. As Christians, we have this incredible opportunity to add flavor to this world and allow others to get a taste of Jesus by choosing to love each other deeply at all times and in all ways.
The opportunity to love deeply is always there. However, we cannot do holy work without prayer and surrender to the Holy One because it is ONLY through the work of the Holy Spirit we are able to love each other deeply.
John Piper said, “There is a knowledge that only comes through tasting.”
Nonbelievers have to experience Jesus through their interaction with us to see if a relationship with Him is something they want to pursue.
Prayer and surrender realign our hearts with His, thus keeping us from acting on impulse. This enables us to love in a way that is unlike the rest of the world…in a way that restores the broken and heals the wounded.
In regards to surrender, C.S. Lewis noted, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
Every interaction is a chance to reflect the love of Christ. Therefore, we have to daily let go and let God work.
We must pray for opportunities and ask God to help us see those opportunities. This will enable us to see and take advantage of opportunities we would typically overlook.
In order to outwardly live for Christ, we must inwardly die to self. By nature, we are not good, but by God’s nurturing, we are able to do good for His glory.
Through prayer and surrender, we are able to love each other deeply by:
- setting aside our own selfish desires and time and focusing our attention on others instead
- putting the life of another person before our own
- displaying a Christlike attitude even when our circumstances aren’t ideal
- humbling ourselves before others and putting their needs before our own
- knowing what God is calling us to do and then doing it without question
- looking past our pride and choosing to be non-selective with our love
- pushing past our tendency to act on impulse and acting in a way that imitates Christ instead
Don’t overlook the people God has placed right in front of you.
Make sure a person’s interaction with you is the one that sticks out the most when they get home and reflect on their day.
Humble yourself before others and put their needs ahead of your own for the sake of the Gospel, no strings attached.
Push past your tendency to act on impulse and act in a way that imitates Christ instead.
And above all else, love each other deeply.
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