You and I have a dual mandate: to be lovers of God, and lovers of people.
It’s an incredible, all-encompassing mandate. It speaks to every sphere of life, and every relationship we have.
Several years ago, as I began to ask Jesus to source my obedience to this dual mandate, I began to pray an apostolic prayer. We find that prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21.
I have probably prayed this apostolic prayer 200 or 300 times. I have memorized it. I encourage you to memorize it if you’re serious because this is one of the source documents that points right at the resourcing of your life from the inside out.
This apostolic prayer couldn’t be any more explicit and it’s absolutely beautiful. Paul talks about the Gospel and lays it out to the Ephesians church. This is the same church we read about in the book of Revelation, which (sadly) had forgotten this prayer after a while.
Here is that powerful, essential, ongoing apostolic prayer:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
If you’re struggling with God’s dual mandate for your life, I strongly encourage you to memorize this prayer. Keep praying this prayer. Paul is saying, I’m releasing the riches of God’s glorious resource into your life, to strengthen you with power in the inner man that Christ would dwell in your heart, that there would be this invasion in you to resource the experience of the love of God, and out of that love you’re going to be filled again, and when you’re filled again what’s going to happen? You can experience the resourcing that gives you the ability to fulfill the mandate.
We’re just like my 8-year-old friend Henry—most of us, anyway. Like him, I want to get the most heart function I can get. I don’t want to come to the end of life with the mandate unfulfilled in my life and experience. Instead, I want to go right into the next life without missing a beat because guess what everyone is doing in heaven? That’s right: loving God, and loving people.
Here is my prayer for you right now:
Father, we thank you. Thank you for your Son who is the healer of hearts. Thank you for your Son who is the resource for all of our obedience, the one who knows the way when we think there is no way. The one who knows how to cure, how to heal, how to do what no one else can do. He is the answer, He is the resource, and He is the prize. His name is Jesus. Amen.