Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taking the time to enjoy God's love

I was speaking with someone yesterday about Bill Johnson, a man who sees miracles and healings on a regular basis in the ministry he leads (and who's perspective on God and healing has recently begun to bend my brain!).  The person I was speaking with told me that even though Bill Johnson is a big believer in contending for things in prayer, Bill estimates that 75% of his devotional life with God is spent simply enjoying God's love.  Seventy-five percent!  So while many others -- like me -- feel as though the bulk of my prayer-time ought to be spent asking God for solutions to the many important situations I'm aware of, a man like Bill Johnson -- who sees a great many answers to many bold prayers -- chooses to spend a considerable percentage of his prayer-time receiving God's love for himself rather than asking God for things!

Why would he do that?  If he's anything like the average North American, perhaps he began such a practice to combat unbelief.  So many of us are prone to doubt God's love and goodness toward us -- especially if we need a miracle.  Too many disappointments.  Too many unanswered prayers.   So even if we know objectively that God loves us, perhaps it's wise for us to take time to seek His love until we're more convinced of it in our hearts -- until we can truly enjoy it!

And isn't it a relief that someone like Bill Johnson feels it's fine to spend that much of his prayer-time receiving without considering it selfish?  The reason it's not selfish is because this man is so eager to pass on to others what he has received from the Lord.  I'm sure that's a major reason why Bill Johnson prays so effectively for the miraculous.  He asks so boldly because he is completely convinced of God's love and affection for people -- including himself as the one doing the asking!

So then I wondered, what does it mean to spend extended amounts of time simply enjoying God's love in prayer? What does that look like?  As I considered that, my mind wandered to some familiar Bible passages that are full of rich assurances of God's love for us. And as I wondered about how to spend a greater percentage of my own prayer-time enjoying God's love -- and the God of love -- I realized that I could do so by praying these passages and soaking in these passages, thereby breaking down barriers of unbelief regarding them!  Enjoying God's love includes joyfully meditating on God's expressions of His love.

Of course, a complete list of what one could reflect on in prayer regarding God's love could never be written -- there's just too much to include in such a list!  And whatever I suggest in this brief posting will only scratch the surface.  But for people like me who have only just thought of expanding this part of our prayer life with God, a starter list would be helpful.  So here are just a few passages to revel in -- to joyfully declare! -- to thank God for! -- to patiently soak in the truth of! -- to pit against that nasty unbelieving insecurity in our souls! --if we want to take the time to simply enjoy God's love in prayer.
  • "But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  
  • And "If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?...[For] who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that [nothing] ...will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (see Romans 8:31-39).
  • "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.  In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:3-8).
  • "God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved -- and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:4-8).
  • "According to [God's] great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4).
  • Psalm 103:1-14, 145:1-21, 147:1-11 and so many other psalms also contain wonderful expressions of God's great love for us!
This is an extremely small sampling of passages that we can rehearse and rejoice in as we make more and more of our time spent with God about enjoying Him and His love.  I trust that any of us who do so will see the unbelief and doubts regarding the extravagance of God's love flee from our hearts, and that we will become a people who are excited to share the love that God has so generously shared with us!

© 2010 by Ken Peters

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