Jesus, You command that we love each other as You have loved us. You add that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for others. “Since the Father loved us so much that He sent You to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away, we too should love one another.” [John 4:10-11] “By such love, everyone will know that we are Your disciples.”
You have said, “Anyone who says ‘I love God’, and hates his brother is a liar, since a person who does not love the brother that he can see, cannot love God whom he has never seen.” [1 letter of John 4:20-21] Yet it can be difficult to love others when they appear ‘troublesome’, or misjudge or reject us, or when we are weary and preoccupied!
Each of us has only our personal consciousness, so that we only know our own feelings and thoughts, and may only imagine another’s. “The depths of a person can only be known by his own spirit, not by any other person.” [1Corinthians 2:1] So how can we truly love? “Let us love one another, since love comes from God.” [John 4:7] Therefore, Jesus, we may hope for God’s love in us that we may love as You have loved us.
As You have said, to live as Your disciples, as children of the Father, is impossible for humankind—but “nothing is impossible to God.” Love begins with awareness that each person is loved child of the Father. Therefore, Jesus, I pray for Your love in me for everyone You bring into my life. I forgive and bless each person who has hurt my loved ones or me. Please ensure that we forgive, however deeply others action or inaction wound us.
You have made us Your brothers and sisters; therefore, we will strive to overcome the difficulties that natural selfishness generates. We seldom must actually die as You did, for another person’s sake. Yet every day there are ways that we relinquish some preference, desire, or convenience for the need or wish of another person. Let Your Holy Spirit carry us lovingly though these ‘little deaths’. Love requires that we do so generously, kindly and cheerfully, for reluctance or resentment is not of the love that lays down life for anyone.
You wish us to love all whom You in any way entrust to our care, but You also require us to love and pray for our enemies—those who make our lives difficult and painful. [Matthew. 5:44] Jesus, forgive us for those failures to love them truly, and deepen our genuine love of others with each passing day.