When I was a young guy, I always seemed to have the words I needed for public prayer. These days, the feelings stirring within me are so deep I can’t even find the words for private prayer, much less public.
Romans 8:26-27 tells me the Holy Spirit prays for me when I can’t find the words. As if that wasn’t wonderful enough, the verses also tell me that the Father and the Spirit already know my heart, and that when I don’t even know where to begin, the Spirit goes ahead and prays for me in harmony with God’s own will!
So when I pray for my son … my daughter and her family … my precious parents … my sweet bride … our family members and wonderful friends — when words won’t come, I don’t struggle for them. I just let the feelings well up and pour out. I quiet myself before the One who knows what I want to say, even when I don’t.
Your Father doesn’t need to hear you speak. He understands what your tears are saying.
When Moses delivered God’s law to Israel, he directly connected the people’s love for the Almighty to obediently walking in his ways. (Deuteronomy 30) Yet obedience is more than a reflection of our love for God. Our obedience also keeps us living in God’s love. Jesus went so far as to say that he “remained” in God’s love because of his obedience, and he told us that if we keep his commands, we will remain in his love. (John 15)
Our obedience both reflects our love for God and affects our relationship with him – as does our disobedience. Moses put it starkly: “Today I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so you and your descendants may live.”
Loving God isn’t about feeling a certain way toward him, nor about legalistically following rules. We can’t obey our way into God’s favor. But my true love for Jesus is like my true love for my wife and children: Nothing I am called to do for them would be too great a sacrifice.
As we obey Jesus – whatever the cost – we experience abundant life and discover who God created us to be.