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By Gustav Krös

On 13 July, I read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 during my quiet time. The first verse that touched my heart was verse 3 which says, “… and the love all of you have for one another is increasing”. As I read it, I was confronted with this question in my own heart, whether the love I have for my fellow believers is increasing? As I was confronted with this question, I decided to bring it before the Lord, and before reading further, I prayed: “Lord, grow my love for my fellow believers.”

The next verse that the Lord used to touch my heart was verse 11 where it says, “… we constantly pray for you. Again, I was confronted with a question in my own heart; how often do I pray for my fellow believers? As before, I decided to bring it before the Lord immediately, but in my mind, I connected these two points and thought that if my love grows for my fellow believers then I will also pray more for them, and so I prayed: “Lord, help me to pray more. Grow my love for my fellow believers and may I be urged to pray more often for them.”

After this prayer, the Lord reminded me of something I learned from a good friend of mine. He told me, “First the motion then the emotion”. Within this context it translates as follows: if I realise that I need to pray more for my fellow believers then I should not wait until I feel like praying for them, no, I should put the lesson into practice and start praying for my fellow believers, and then, through praying for them more often, my love for them will grow as an outflow of my prayers. So, with this thought in mind, I decided to re-pray my previous prayer, and so I simply prayed: “Help me, Lord, to pray more”.

After praying this, the Lord reminded me that prayer is first and foremost engagement with Him. Every prayer is time spent with God. So, if I love God, surely, I would love spending time with Him. Therefore, my time in prayer is an outflow of my love for God. The people I pray for are the beneficiaries of my love for God and the time spent with Him in prayer, and as a result, my love for the people who I pray for will also increase.

As I have continued contemplating this topic since that morning, I was reminded of Jesus’s words in Matthew 22:37-40 concerning the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

So, I was reminded in a new way that my love for God will greatly determine how much time I’m willing to spend in prayer with Him, and, in turn, it will greatly affect my prayers and love for my fellow believers. This interconnectedness between God, prayer, and my fellow believers stirred my heart to a new outlook on prayer.

Every person, every prayer point, and every matter that comes across my way is not a task that needs to be ticked off my prayer list. No, they are all invitations to spend time with God. Each one is a discussion point to engage with God about. In the process, I get to spend time with Him; I get to learn from Him and hear His heart for that person and in the process, my love grows for that person, according to His heart. So, now I tend to accept the invitation to prayer a lot quicker than I used to, and in the process, my prayers of 13 July are being answered; I’m praying more and my love for my fellow believers is increasing.

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www.incontextinternational.org; gustav@incontextinternational.org