A prayer about loving

The end of all things is at hand and sober minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s very grace. 1 Peter 4. 7 – 10

Dear Jesus, may Peter’s words sink and settle deep into my heart. If I really believe the end of all things is at hand, if I really believe that your return could happen within my lifetime, it seems he would make a significant difference in how I live and love.

Whenever I attend a funeral, I always go away with a sense of my mortality and the fragility of life. At least for a few days, I hug loved ones a little tighter and linger little longer any conversations. But then it’s back to normal, and the same old harried pace takes over in the same old broken patterns and relationships resume.

Normal sinners go on loving as normal sinners do: rather than covering sins, we get irritated with one another’s sins; rather than welcoming one another without grumbling, we guard our own space with complaining; rather than using our gifts to serve each other, we hoard your grace to satisfy ourselves; rather than administering your multifaceted grace to one another, we withhold it from one another. Yet the end of all things is at hand. God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Jesus, please bring the gospel to bear in fresh and powerful ways in my way of relating to others. I don’t want to love by guilt but by grace. I don’t want to love my fear but by faith. I don’t want to love with the hearts of manipulation but with the heart of ministry. I don’t want to love with a view to another funeral but with the view of your second coming. I don’t want to love to get anything but because I’ve received everything in you.

Jesus, you are the one who loves us deeply. You’re the one who has covered not just the multitude but all our sins. You’re the one who always offers us hospitality without grumbling. You’re the one who’s always serving us and giving us more grace in all its forms. Live in us and love through us, whether you return in 15 minutes or 1500 years. We pray you and your faithful name. Amen

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A Prayer About Singing Mountains and Clapping Trees

by Scotty Smith

“My word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:11-12

Gracious Father, you know how much I love mountains, of all shapes and sizes. There’s just something about mountains that causes my heart to feel the greatness of your glory and grace—the weightiness of your majesty and the endlessness of your mercy. What a glorious creation… what a magnificent Creator you are.

It all started with excursions to the foothills of western North Carolina, and then onto exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains around Boone and Banner Elk, NC. And I’ll never forget my first sighting of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado… and bright yellow Aspen leaves dancing against the rich blue backdrop of a haze-free fall skyline.

But then there was the day I stepped off the train in the village of Interlaken, Switzerland, and got hammered with the holy wonder of three Alps, the Eiger, Monch and the Jungfrau. I can still see, smell, feel and taste the sensual overload of that day. Indeed, Father, the works of your hands declare your glory, loud and clear. For those who have ears to hear, there is no place in all creation where your loving and wooing voice cannot be heard singing your praise. (Psalm 19:1-6)

But, Father, these words of Isaiah envision a Day when the mountains themselves will burst into song—the new song of the new creation… the regenerating, renewing and restoring melody of the gospel. Though your glory is clearly revealed in the beauty of your creation, it is revealed ten thousand times more in the redemption that you freely give us in Jesus. Jesus is the Alps of your mercy, grace and love for us.

Because of Jesus, we, your redeemed people, will go out in joy and be led for into the peace—into the shalom—the perfect order, society, environment and world of the new heaven and new earth. You have spoken… you have promised… and so shall it be. Your Word will accomplish everything you decree and every one of your delights.  Hasten that Day, Father. Bring in on… make it happen, the sooner the better.

In light of the Day of singing mountains and clapping trees, we enter this day groaning inwardly and waiting expectantly… confident that your Word will not return empty (Romans 8:18-27). Joy is coming to the world because Jesus has come to the world, and is coming again. So very Amen, we pray, in His matchless and merciful name.

A prayer about guaranteed glory

Ephesians 1:13 – 14

Gracious Father, sometimes reading Paul’s letters is like standing in front of a gushing fire hydrant. It is hard to stand up to the rush of so much glory and grace. It is simply overwhelming.

For instance, as I read through Ephesians I am confronted with been loved before the foundation of the world, being chosen in Christ and called in life, being justified by faith and declared to be righteous, and being adopted by Abba, Father, betrothed to Jesus, and indwell by the Holy Spirit. I am shown that I have a completely forgiven past, a present stand in grace, and future of unimaginable wonder. You have given us staggering riches in Jesus.

But what really encourages me today is knowing that all of this is guaranteed. You have “sealed the deal” by the Holy Spirit. You have guaranteed our inheritance in Christ. You have given us a down payment, the firstfruits, the promise of a future beyond our wildest dreams and asking.

There is no possibility of “bait and switch” or “revoking the warranty.” Their are no factory recalls, no fine print are doublespeak, no possibility of bankruptcy or legal maneuverings. Nothing will sabotage or bring it to completion of the good work you have begun in us and in your entire cosmos!

Father, rip and grip our hearts with the gospel of your grace. Let us be up people who live to the praise of your glorious grace.

~ Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

God’s forgetfulness

Heavenly Father, what I heart-pounding joy it is to begin this day by remembering your forgetfulness. You promise never again to remember our sins and lawless acts against us. You will never again deal with us according to our sins or reward us according to our iniquities. For on the cross, you dealt with Jesus according to our sins and rewarded him according to our iniquities.

~ Scotty Smith

We are called

We are “called” to belong — not merely invited, but subpoenaed into eternal life of being wanted, desired, known, celebrated, and enjoyed. We are “called” to belong not own like a new car but connected like a new bride. Lord Jesus, you have purchased us with the price of your life, and your love for us, alone, it is better than life. We belong, now and forever, to you! Help me, help us, to become more fully alive to our “belongingness” in you, Jesus.

~ Scotty Smith

I need you today

I am a poor man in need of the Good News today, Jesus. I need you to proclaim freedom for my worn down, weary heart. I need you to open my eyes to see the gospel today as though I were seeing for the very first time.

~ Scotty Smith

True gospel living

Jesus, how I praise you or that life in the gospel is not a preoccupation with”Victorious Christian life” but a preoccupation with you, the victorious Christ! You are my loving Master, not my private masseuse, forgive me when my prayers reflect the greater commitment to my comfort then to your kingdom.

~ Scotty Smith