John 17:25-26 (NIV)
In college, I went through a season of life where I felt spiritually washed up. I still believed in Jesus and I knew that He loved me, but I wasn’t willing to put any time, prayer, or effort into my faith. I was sick of quiet times, bible studies, and I didn’t even want to go to church. I still wanted to love and experience Him, but I didn’t want it to require any effort. I just wanted God to wake me up each morning and speak directly to my heart.
I was sharing my heart with my mentor in college and explaining that I loved God and wanted to love Him more, but I’m just tired of everything. It was almost like I was running a marathon and I knew that I wanted to finish, but I wanted to stop running and find another way to get to the end that didn’t involve running. I was tired of running.
Lainie was so gracious and understanding. She didn’t make me feel like a bad person and she showered me with prayer and encouragement. One day she read me John 17:25-26 and told me that if I can’t do anything else, begin praying this prayer every day.
In John 17, Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and the future believers. In verse 26 He prays that the love God has for Jesus will be in us—the love that the Father has for His Son, the Love that the God of the Universe has for the Savior of the world, the “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” kind of love (Matthew 17:5).
I let that verse sink in for a bit and Lainie asked, “do you think that’s even possible?” To which I think I replied, “I’m not really sure.” She looked at me filled with excitement and said, “Of course it is! Jesus wouldn’t have prayed if it wasn’t true.”
She then told me that even if I couldn’t do anything else, to wake up every day and ask God to fill my heart with the same love that He has for His Son. Just one simple sentence and God would be quick to respond.
I began praying one sentence. Little by little, I saw God transform my heart. Spending time with Him, resting with Him, and experiencing Him wasn’t something I felt like I had to “work for”, but it was something that my heart longed for. Each week, I would meet with Lainie a little bit more excited about how God was transforming my heart and a little bit more encouraged.
I know that we all go through dry patches where it’s harder to experience God. I know that sometimes we can get so consumed with spiritual disciplines that we forget to actually “be still and know that He is God”…we’re too busy trying to do things and we forget to rest in Him. I also know that there is tremendous power in prayer. Wherever our hearts are at spiritually, I pray that as we continue in this journey, God will fill each of our hearts with the same love that He has for His Son.
Lord, I long to love you. Thank you for so many promises in your word. Thank you that when we pray to you, you hear us, and you respond. Lord, I ask that today, you will fill my heart with the same love that you have for your Son. What an incredible promise! As I read this verse, I get so excited, because I want that love. I want to love Jesus with the same love that you love Him. I ask that you will transform my heart. Today, with all that I am, I want to love you.