I invite you to consider this prayer today. It is a prayer of thanksgiving, one that follows Holy Communion.
We thank you for giving us this meal, shared in the Spirit, through which we have encountered the Real Presence of God once more. Grace our lives that we may learn to love others by giving ourselves to them and at the last come to share in the heavenly banquet of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Grace our lives that we may learn – With this statement, we invite Christ to enter our mind, body and soul, to grace our lives with His presence. God is patient, kind, and gentle. He offers us His love, but doesn’t force it on us. We must open our hearts to receive Him.
We give part of ourselves, in order to learn to love others. Think of the mother and her child. Think of the newly married couple. Think of the adult caring for their aging parent. Or the family with a newly adopted child. These are new relationships requiring each to learn to love the other. Self-sacrifice is required of us all when we earnestly seek to love another as Christ has loved us.
Think of that person in your life right now that you find difficult to love. We can all name at least one. It is in the giving of ourselves that we will learn to love them. Take a moment to embrace that truth.
Will it be hard? Yes. Will you want to quit? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!
We can and should learn to love another. What might we sacrifice in order to learn to love someone? A portion of our time? A portion of our energy? Effort? Sleep? Creativity? Money?
Harry Beckwith in “What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business” says this, Sacrifices tell people that you care, which makes them care more in return. Your sacrifice transforms the relationship. Now you no longer are a service. You are their service. While this is a book intended for business building, it aptly captures our role as disciples of Christ. We are in the business of building the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ!
Did you know that in learning to truly love someone else, you are being transformed more greatly into the image of Christ? Knowing this will flip all personal entitlement, “me-centered” thinking on its head.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
While we were and are still sinning, he died for us. It’s all grace. His love for us is freely given, no strings attached. Unconditional, pure love for you and me. We should be able to love others with the same unconditional love, but, it comes at a cost.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
Are you willing to sacrifice for another? He will grace you with his presence and show you how. Ask Him in. Ask Him to join you and help you to learn to love someone else by giving of yourself. You won’t regret it.
And, what is it all for? What is the point? Look above – it says it in the prayer:
“at the last come to share in the heavenly banquet of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”
That is the entire point! It is why we love sacrificially. We give ourselves to others in love because it brings us both closer to our final destination – eternal life in Christ.
I assure you it is worth the cost, the sacrifice, the yielding of our time, money, energy, and even sleep. (I am thinking of you sleep deprived mommas out there.)
This prayer may seem simple, but it will penetrate to your deepest most selfish parts. I invite you to ponder and sit with it for a while.