A prayer to love my neighbour

Lord, it sounds so easy.
“Love God; love your neighbour; love one another.”
But who would have thought that love could be so hard,
so contrary to everything the world teaches us
about surviving on this planet?

Love your neighbour.
But, Lord, this is a dog-eat-dog, take-no-prisoners world.
My neighbours don’t care what I do for them;
they’re only worried about winning.
If I stop to wipe someone’s tears I’ll be left behind.
Must I lose all the time?

Love one another.
But, Lord, I just don’t have time.
My work is really demanding; my family needs me.
I really want to help but…
As I have loved you.

I understand, Lord.
You loved me and comforted me when I had nothing and deserved nothing.
And it cost you everything.
You didn’t stop because it was inconvenient.

Blessed are those who mourn, for…
Yes, Lord, I know; …for they shall be comforted.”
I understand, Lord.
If those who mourn in this city are to be comforted,
we will have to do the comforting.
Just as we have been comforted
and have received mercy from the saints around us,
so we are next in the great chain of love and comfort
you spread around the globe.

So, we pray for those who mourn in our community:
Those who mourn the loss of a loved one
Or lost opportunities,
Or the loss of independence.

We pray for those who lost loved ones in the Kenyan Mall crisis,
the Pinetown truck crash, the Marikana mine shooting—
in so much strife and failure near and far.

We thank you for small signs of hope:
a telephone conversation between an American and an Iranian president—
the first in more than 30 years.

Lord, help us to hold conversations rather than standoffs.
Help us to dare to talk to our children, our spouses,
our colleagues, our neighbours,
to find words of encouragement and comfort,
rather than sarcasm and criticism.

Help us to love one another as you love us;
to love our neighbours as you do,
to discover the blessing you rain down on us all
as we learn to share your comfort with those who mourn

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

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5 Comments

Filed under Prayers and Meditations

5 responses to “A prayer to love my neighbour

  1. Caddo

    Wow, this is a great prayer, brother Ian. I confess I have more judgment and irritation for my specific neighbors, than Jesus-Love–I have switched my prayer from “Lord, do something about them” to “Lord, please fix my heart”. God bless you BIG today–love, sis Caddo

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    • Thanks Caddo. Yes, the law is a lot easier to deal with. Love is so open-ended, without limits. With the law, if you didn’t steal, murder, etc., you’re okay. With the call to love, well now I am utterly dependent on the One who loves me, which, of course, is just where I need to be. Blessings!

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  2. Marilyn Smith

    amen!

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  3. Norma

    When I heard this prayer last night I was reminded once again that it is unconditional Love that the Lord requires of us. Our neighbours are all those with whom we come into contact, and so because we have been told to love our neighbours,I use a quotation I have used many times, You have to love an awful lot of caterpillars before you find a butterfly. Thanks again for a very different Service. Love, Mum
    . .

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    • Thank you! Yes, unconditional love is not something we practice automatically. It requires a conscious decision within each relationship and interaction. Yes, it was a fun (and scary) service. Love, I

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