God loved man more than all His creation. He formed man in His own image and breathed His breath of life into him. He created man to have relationship with Him. God wanted man to choose to love Him even as He loved man. He tested man’s love because nothing ever truly loved that wasn’t given the choice to hate.
The Depth of God’s Love and Man’s Failure
The love of Jesus reflects the love of God. He suffered harsh tortures at the hand of those who hated Him so that we could have our rightful place before God. The true depth of such love that would make anyone subject himself to the kind of rejection, torture, and abuse that Jesus suffered for us is almost hard to grasp. Yet, this is the kind of love with which God loves man, and it is the kind of love He wants man to show.
Most believers, if they were truly honest, would not be willing to suffer as Jesus did for the sake of a stranger. Few would suffer such horrors for the sake of fellow church goers, let alone those outside their church. Fewer still would undergo such tortures for someone they don’t like or who doesn’t like them.
Love for One Another
Believers have forgotten what it is to love enough to suffer for others. Perhaps people can learn to love enough to pray for and with each other. Love is a command; prayer for others is part of keeping that command.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
All Christians, regardless of denomination, are brothers and sisters in Christ, disciples of Jesus. Jesus commands that His disciples love each other as He has loved them. It is love that tells the world who belongs to Him. Prayer for each other is the start of that love.
Love Your Enemies
Jesus’ love for the world caused Him to suffer not only for those who not only didn’t know Him but for those who hated Him as well. His disciples are called to love as He loved. His love was deep enough that He not only died for those who hated Him, but He also forgave them as He hung in terrible pain on the cross. Christians must find enough compassion to pray for those who don’t know Jesus and for those who hate them.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Jesus loved the righteous and the unrighteous. He ate with the worst of sinners and with the greatest of Pharisees. He prayed for those who loved Him and for those who hated Him. Christians should be willing to do the same.
Prayer is Love and Power, Not Doctrine
Prayer is based on love for the Lord, which translates into love for His creation, all of it. It isn’t about changing denominations or doctrines; it’s about loving as He loves. Prayer is about obeying the Lord because of His deep love for His people. Prayer doesn’t require anyone to change their beliefs; it only requires love and a willing obedience to pray for others.
When Christians pray with and for others, they show a physical desire to love the Lord as He has loved them. When people unite in prayer, the spiritual power of Christians is physically represented. It is love and spiritual power that separates Christians from others. Unfortunately, too many denominations aren’t willing to pray with each other, and the unity and power of the Church is destroyed because of this unwillingness.
The love that pulls Christians together despite differences and is willing to deeply love those who hate cannot be defeated by the world. This is the kind of love Jesus showed. It’s the kind of love God has for His people. It’s the kind of love Christians are expected to show.
It’s Enough To Be Like Him
Prayer isn’t such a deep and physical suffering as Jesus endured, but it is a moment of time given out of love for others. Taking the time to pray with and for others is an act of love and obedience in this busy life. Doing so is, at least to some extent, showing the same love that Jesus has shown.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.
God loved so much that He gave man choice, something no animal or angel has. Jesus loved so much that He suffered greatly and died for all mankind. God asks nothing but love from His people. Prayer for others is one way Christians can show that love.
Pray for others because you love Him. Love because He loves you. Prayer is, after all, a love thing.