Monday, June 03, 2013

True Prayer Breeds Compassion for Others (Prayer Summer)

Sterling State Park - Monroe, Michigan

I have hated other Christians, even while being as a Jesus-follower. The problem with this is, at the point of my hatred, I am not following Jesus. To worship Jesus as Lord on Sunday morning and hate people is just acting, and hypocritical. A Jesus-follower who hates others is a contradiction. Because "God so loved the world," right?

The antidote to a hate-filled heart is a Spirit-transformed, Jesus-shaped heart. Personally, I am praying for a heart of love. I want to look at others with the same compassion Jesus had. I want to love and forgive others from the heart as Jesus did when he hung on the cross. I want the freedom Jesus had from a spirit of victimization.

How can this happen? One way is in the act of praying for others. True prayer breeds compassion. And togetherness.

In his book Life Together Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:

"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others." (86)

Pray for me, and I'll pray for you
Pray that we will keep the common ground
Won't you pray for me and I'll pray for you
And one day love will bring us back around
- Michael W. Smith ("Pray for Me")