We began this journey on love before the winter snows came, and so far we’ve looked at nine of ten suggested ways to love. Here they are:
- Listen without interrupting Proverbs 18
- Speak without accusing James 1:19
- Answer without arguing Proverbs 17:1
- Share without pretending Ephesians 4: 15
- Give without sparing Proverbs 21: 26
- Enjoy without complaint Philippians 2:14-15
- Trust without wavering 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7
- Forgive without punishing Colossians 3: 13
- Promise without forgetting Proverbs 13: 12
Last month we concluded with a reference to the Greatest Love Story ever, and earlier this month, we celebrated God’s promise made true.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV).
Now let’s take a look at the tenth way; and as the old saying goes, it may be the last, but it is certainly not the least!
Pray without ceasing!
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” Colossians 1:9 (NIV).
Over the past several weeks, we have been experiencing an incredible love story within our own congregation. It not only has been a wonderful illustration of the love shared between two people - two people putting into practice every one of the ways to love we have shared since before Christmas – but it has been a demonstration of the power of prayer and why we should pray without ceasing.
When faced with a life-altering circumstance you can whine and complain, or you can get down on your knees and pray. Pray for strength, pray for understanding, pray for deliverance. They and the congregation have chosen to pray and what an effect it has had. Not just on our brother and sister who are facing this challenge, but on the hospital staff and every one of us. Even as things are beginning to move in a positive direction, quietly led by our own angel of mercy, we continue to pray with both thanksgiving and petition.
When prayer moves from the head to the heart things really begin to happen. We usually pray for others, but there is nothing wrong in praying for yourself and ask God to help you. After all, you may know what you want, but only God knows what you need.
Many of you have heard the Hazelwood story. While it is a story of salvation, it is also a story of love. In the summer of 1997, I found myself at the end of my rope. The path in front of me was straight up and I doubted my ability to carry on. I fell to my knees and prayed. I prayed like my life depended on it.
“I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry. From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. Love lifted me. Love lifted me. When nothing else could help, Love lifted me!”
God heard my prayer and he answered. “Love lifted me. Love lifted even me. When no one else would help, love lifted me.”
Jesus came; he lifted me out of the pit I had dug and set me on a new path. Love lifted me and it can lift you too. Jesus is love. Come to Jesus and live!