Sunday with Michael Spencer
A Jesus Prayer
Jesus, you don’t build institutions.
You don’t write catechisms. Or Systematic Theologies. Or critiques of someone’s theology or refutations of their catechism.
You don’t have a blog.
You don’t moderate debates.
You are the bread of life who gives himself for the salvation of the world. You are the one mediator between God and man. You are the bridegroom who loves his bride. You’re raising all of us like Lazurus. You’re healing all of us, casting demons out of all of us, calling all of us out of the un-real into the real.
The community that matters to you isn’t sitting behind some church sign. It’s not running around with some ridiculous label.
You aren’t submitting yourself to the teams built by men for their games with one another.
Jesus, you love the world. And you love those who are in fellowship with you. Not more or even in a different way than you love other persons, but only in a way that can be enjoyed and celebrated by all of us who are feasting at the same table.
You don’t have a database of membership. You don’t have 20 questions for me to answer. You are standing there before me, and your love is inviting me inviting me inviting me over and over and enabling me enabling me enabling me over and over. You’re taking me from where I’ve wandered, throwing me on your shoulders and beginning again. And again. And again. With all of us.
Jesus, you’re making crazy demands about trusting the Father. You’re saying ridiculous things about money and forgiveness. Jesus, you’re asking me to do things that are impossible.
You want me to trust you with the people I want to control. You’ve taken my prayers to change things and handed them back to me as the opportunity to let you love persons you love far, far more than I can imagine in ways I could never approach. Trusting you, by the way, is very difficult sometimes, but you never do quit asking, do you?
I’d rather theologize. I’d rather debate and score points.
I’d rather take care of me, do things my way and refer to you as my sponsor. I want you to be the god who makes my life work out; the god who makes my relationships “work.” You are the God who loves me, and loves all the people I pretend to love, with a love that’s overwhelming.
You want me to live my life in you. Not just quote the verse, but jump into the deep end of the pool with you there to catch me. You want me out of the boat, with you on the water. You want me to believe that you will never leave me or forsake me.
You want me. You’re very fond of me.
This kind of simplicity is very frightening. You are taking too much away. You are replacing it all with yourself.
Jesus, I need you a thousand ways. I can’t list them all, but I feel them, one by one by one, taking hold of me and pulling me away from you. I want that to end, and I want to hand all of my life to you, freely, in childlike trust and joy.
My emotions are following my perceptions and my perceptions are following my paradigm. I need you to take over all of it. All of it.
Jesus, you said you are the way, the truth and the life…and I told people I believed it. I didn’t believe it very much. I think I lie about these things a lot. But I want you to be the way, the truth and the life.
I’m afraid for it all to come down to just the two of us, but that’s the way it is, isn’t it? It’s the moment we all hear you, feel your gaze, realize you have singled us out for the Kingdom….but everything else must go: parents, wife, children, family, reputation, houses, lands, applause, security, health, normality. All of it goes, and you want the entire bet placed on you.
Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me.