The Breadth of Love
A Lenten Prayer by Bill Wallof
Lord God, you dwell in the high and holy place, yet you are also with the contrite and humble in spirit. We can scarcely comprehend the depth of your steadfast love and the breadth of your goodness. You dwell in the vastness of space yet also in the heart that beats within us. It is difficult for us to comprehend that you left the holiness of heaven to dwell in our broken world.
You come to challenge the world’s values that we so easily accept as an agenda for our lives. But in the Beatitudes, you hold up those that the world has left behind. The values of our world are not your values. In your kingdom the last, really are the first and those who would strive for attention find themselves coming in last. Gift us with your humility in this day.
Father, we make faith such a difficult and mysterious thing:
-We insist on correct belief and spotless behavior if not for ourselves then for our neighbors.
-We make love so conditional that it is no longer love.
-We become pious spectators seeking our own security by thinking ourselves better than others.
-Thus we fail to love our neighbors as ourselves because we don’t allow your love to penetrate our hearts.
O Lord, help us not to find facing judgement more preferable than experiencing your love, for even judgement grows out of your love.
May we come to know you as the loving Father who anxiously awaits the prodigal’s return so that the celebration might begin.
Deliver us from fearful childish visions of who you are, visions of you as a cosmic scorekeeper tracking how we play the game here on earth. Some of us believe that rather than being a loving father you are a stern judge ready to gavel our guilt and pronounce a sentence of eternity.
In this Lenten season,
-Clear our minds of such distorted projections about who you are.
-Help us to let the cross speak for itself, telling us of a God we never dreamed about.
-Open our hearts so as to reveal our need for your love.
-Teach us anew that what is acceptable to you, is not impossible perfection, but simply that we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you our God.
We pray in the name of the One who walks with us, Jesus Christ our Lord, who gave us this prayer for our journey….Our Father….
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)