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A Prayer On Imitating Christ

December 2004


O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-38).  Thus, you have instructed us to follow you, to imitate your life, to make your habits our habits. 

Lord Jesus, our reason for being, our purpose for existing, is to study your life.  Your teaching is more excellent than all human advice.  When we have your Spirit, we have a hidden manna.

Lord, sometimes in our human weakness, when we hear the gospel so often, we become indifferent to it.  “We know all that,” we say and turn away.  Renew your spirit in us, and help us to receive again your word as if we were hearing for the first time.  And hearing again, Lord Jesus, we come again to you determined to pattern our whole life on you. 

It does us no good to know the Bible, to know the doctrines, to know the confession—unless all that knowledge is applied in some real and practical way.  It does us no good to know about God if we are lacking in love and so are displeasing to God.  

Remind us, O Lord, that it is not saying the right words that makes us holy, but living the right life.  It is better to feel love and apply love than to preach a great sermon on love.  How does it help us to know all about the Bible and all about religion if we live without the grace and love of God?  Such a life, O Lord, is vanity and illusion. 

It is better that we should simply love you and serve you.  This is what life is all about, loving you, Lord Jesus, and serving you.  This is wisdom — to seek God and God only. 

If we trust in worldly wealth, it is soon lost.  If we trust in honor and reputation, that is soon forgotten.  If we trust in the strength of our arm or the speed of our legs, all that is soon gone.

We all wish for a long and healthy life on this earth, but that is probably only our selfishness.  Teach us to wish for a well-spent life.  Help us to understand that a life in your service, a life in imitation of you—whether it be short or long or healthy or not—is the only life for us. 

Lord, help us to look beyond the present, to look beyond that which is quickly passing away, to look beyond this visible and to depend upon you alone and imitate you alone.

This we pray in your name, Amen.



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