A Prayer for Overflowing Love
By: Lindsay Tedder
“And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just was we do for you.” - 1 Thessalonians 3:12
What do you pray for?
My hope is that I attempt to stay in a constant state of prayer. I pray that my life is basically one big walking prayer to the Lord. How can our lives look like one big walking prayer, you ask?
Prayer is personal. The way I pray will look far different from the way you pray, yet our Father hears them both with love.
For me, constant prayer is turning my heart towards gratitude. Yes, even when someone cuts me off and then flips me the bird in rush hour traffic. After my very human expression of frustration and a good, “what the heck?” I usually try to say, “thank you, Lord."
I try to assume there is some accident waiting for me, had I not been slowed down by this friendly traffic accusation. I typically try to say “thank you” whenever I want to express frustration. Trust me…I’m not perfect and this is not an easy task. It is just what I have learned to draw myself closer to God and allow Him room to work in my life.
You know the scripture, “Anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) I read this hand-in-hand with our scripture for today in 1 Thessalonians. Paul knew that God is love. Paul knew that in order to live a Christlike example, we must all demonstrate love. He goes one step further and prays that the would Lord cause an increase and overflow of love for one another and everyone. Everyone. Did you catch that? May we increase and overflow with love for everyone, not just the people who look like us or think like us or act like us.
I don’t make it a habit to drive recklessly. I don’t cut off people in traffic and I don’t flip them the bird whilst doing so… but that doesn’t mean that I am not called to love someone who does. The only way we can truly be demonstrative in our faith is to love everyone. Yes, even those who don’t think or act like we wish they would.
It is not an accident that Paul prays for an overflow of love. If God is love and Paul is praying that we experience an overflow of love, imagine how many people would be able to find Jesus as a result of our overflow! Our lives are a testament to Whom we serve. Loving everyone is the easiest thing we can do to demonstrate how we have been called. Love is the reason people smile. Love is the reason tears can be dried up. Love is the reason that broken relationships can be mended. Love is the reason we heal from past hurts.
No wonder Paul was praying for an overflow. If the church in Thessalonica needed an overflow of love for everyone in order to demonstrate the ultimate love and sacrifice, we too are in need of such a prayer. Imagine who we could reach if we loved like God.
Search my heart. Reveal in me the people and places in my life that need love. Reveal to me the faces that I need to love, even when I don’t want to. I pray, Father, that you send a blatant overflow of your unparalleled love.
I pray that you use me as an instrument of your love. Lord, soften my heart where it has grown hard, push me out of my comfort zone, and allow me to show love far past the circle that surrounds me. When I am frustrated with someone, let love be my first thought. When I am disappointed with someone, let love be the first reaction.
When I am hurting, broken, defeated, belittled, let your love overflow from the depths of my soul. Please let me love as much like you as humanly possible. Equip me for this emotion and prepare my soul for the overflow.
You are a good Father who wants to lavish your love upon me. Thank you for being the ultimate example of love by sending your Son to die in my place; may I use the time I have left on this earth to never take for granted the love you demonstrated in that moment.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Lindsay Tedder is a believer, wife, mom, bestie and writer who lives in Columbus, Ohio with her bearded, bourbon-loving husband and her too-cool-for-school toddler. She is full of raw honesty, enthusiastic authenticity, amiable compassion, humble grit, powerful passion…and outrageous laughter, double chins, real life, and frothy nectar-of-the-gods coffee…because…coffee. Raised by a hardworking single mom, she overcame such trauma as sexual abuse induced food addiction, the debilitating health issues associated with endometriosis, a decade of infertility, and recurring life themes of worthlessness. Connect with her at www.LindsayTedder.com.
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Originally published Monday, 13 September 2021.