Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Need to be More Loving

Almighty God,
I know so little of what love in its fullness can be.
My love is marred by jealousy,
    scarred by envy,
        limited by selfishness.
I withhold love at the slightest provocation,
and withdraw myself from involvement with others
    for fear of being hurt.

Still, I know something of what love can be like.
I can remember being forgiven generously and freely
    by someone I had wronged.
I can remember being comforted and cared for
    when, bruised and battered, I crept home.
I can remember being made strong
    by the realization that someone cared.
I am grateful for such experiences,
    for they tell me what love is about.
And if the Lord Jesus be right,
    to know what love is like
  is to know what you are like.

If we humans can manifest unselfishness and concern,
is it not because such experiences are of the very
    nature of that which is most important?
For out of the heart of the Lord Jesus
    came the evidences of his love
        for all kinds of people
    and his refusal to give up on any of us.
I am grateful for that love and for that refusal,
    for in him I have hope.
I can even hope
    that I may catch more of his Spirit in my life.
Will you help me to be more outgoing,
    less sensitive to slights,
    and more alert to the feelings of others?
Will you help me to be less quick to judge
    and less righteous in my indignation?
Will you help me to be more open to life
    and to other people?
Will you give me confidence enough to be less
    defensive and less ready to react to rebuffs?
Give me steadiness and firmness
    and true commitment to the life of faith. Amen.

—From A Book of Uncommon Prayer by Kenneth G. Phifer