“Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.”
~ Charles Finney ~
In Part Three of my Practical Love Series today, I’m taking a closer peek at how to really love brothers in Christ. If you’re like me–and I’ve found out that most of us girls are more alike than we’d like to admit–this kind of love may just be one of the hardest to figure out.
How do we love as brothers and sisters, “with all purity”? (1 Timothy 5:2)
When you look at your sons, these joint heirs in Christ, what do You see?
Because it’s really hard for me to see them like You do, to love them like you do. Your kind of love must, in fact, start with really seeing the person.
Of course, the difficulty of doing that starts here at home, with the best brother ever. But some days I chafe and wrestle and wonder if I’ll ever get this sister thing right. How to encourage. How to really, whole-heart love.
And not just biological brothers. Christ-brothers. Those set free with me. My family in Him. Blood brothers bought with more precious blood than that of earthly parents.
It’s hard to see them right. My glasses get colored rosy and it becomes about me, myself and I–all my dreams, goals, aspirations. And guys can so easily become only a means to an end, a way to fill up and be satisfied. Only it doesn’t work like that.
But then–how do I treat these soul-brothers right? How do I love like You love? How do I get past fleshly goals and get to the deep encouragement of hearts sold out to one Master?
I’ve begun to pray. I pray–and You’re letting me see. A peek. Just a vision.
But what a vision!
I look at one–wow, Lord. You’ve got Your hand on him for sure. I can see passion for You when he smiles. I can feel the pulling current, that pushing toward you, when he shares a struggle to the group, asks for prayer.
Another–God, You’re working in him too. So much energy, so much direction. I’ll pray for him–sure. And I as I do, I sense a deeper tie that only begins when brothers and sisters lift up one another before their Father. Surely this is Your kind of love, that makes me want the world for him. Wish I could pray it all down for him.
And yet another brother. When he shared in a few words the pain, what he’s come out of, I trembled inside. Trembled, because I sensed the power, the depth of Your working, how much You could do with him. I still pray, still long, that he will proclaim Your story. You have done–are doing–great things in that life.
What is it about this kind of brother-love? It’s so much like my yearning for my sisters, but different.
Different, because there’s so few good men.
Different, because there’s vision here. There’s passion here. There are lives being poured out for You.
And I hunger to see more of it, more fruit, more leadership, more You.
So I pray. And as I pray, the temporal fades.
My own future isn’t nearly as important as whether these guys are walking with You. My heart stops hungering so much for filling and starts longing that You would fill them. In praying, I learn that I don’t want nearly so much to get attention–I only want to see You get their attention.
And when You bring them to triumph, I want to be there and smile.
‘Cause these guys, they may never know I prayed.
But one day, maybe You’ll tell me that it made a difference?
That I prayed, and that day that one’s soul was encouraged?
That I prayed, and You saw fit to bless with that job, that one?
That You prompted me and I wondered, but prayed anyway for that guy I really didn’t know, but knew You must have a plan in spite of the wreck he’s made so far? And You worked in him.
This warrior thing–can I be strong for them when they fall? They’ll never know.
Never know that I saw the shadow fall over their face at those words.
Never know that somewhere a girl whose name they couldn’t quite recall knelt beside her bed or stared up at her room’s ceiling and felt an ache in her soul that a brother was hurting. Prayed a prayer for vision, for joy, for peace, for courage.
They’ll know that the victory came from God. But maybe they won’t know that part of the battle was fought on the knees of a sister who prayed.
I know, Father, that I can’t take any credit.
I know, that You are the one who grows.
But You do promise to work through prayer.
And there’s this joy that bubbles up when I get to work hand in hand with You in molding a life.
So all the Jake’s and Joshua’s and Peter’s and Paul’s and Luke’s and Lance’s that You have me pray for may not ever know.
But You, gracious Creator, are doing the work. And I get to tag along and watch the building.
I get to pray, and I get to rejoice at the results.
I like this job.
“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish—an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you. Through his faithfulness, you are guarded by God’s power so that you can receive the salvation he is ready to reveal in the last time.
You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine. (Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.) Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. You are receiving the goal of your faith: your salvation.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-9, CEB –