Prayer and reflection for February
In 1 Corinthians 16:14 we are told: “Do everything in love.” This seems to be a straightforward instruction, yet perhaps it is the most challenging direction in the Bible. Do you do everything in love? It is a tall order that we would do well to focus more energy on. Simply put, war and poverty would cease if we did everything in love.
Strong and lasting relationships grow from a bedrock of trust, honesty, openness, compromise and loving understanding. Agendas and power struggles have no place in a healthy relationship; instead, a sense of deep acceptance, a willingness to learn and a sense of discovery of each other and ourselves is cultivated.
Relationships connect us; they give meaning to our lives and combat loneliness. Modern life may create loneliness for convenience’s sake, and the overuse of screens sometimes eliminates much of our need to communicate. Who needs a person when you can ask Google anything!? Yet loneliness increases the risk of early mortality, and its consequences are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to one study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
If we live out the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, loving our neighbour means actively enriching each other’s lives to live peacefully. Reaching out to loved ones and those in need is so important. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says love “always protects”. In Philippians 2:4 we are challenged to ensure we are: “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”. Loving your neighbour as yourself is to live in the light of Christ. It frees us from comparison and competition. Love wishes well and trusts that God works miracles that are often unfolding right in front of us. Open your eyes and ears to love.
Focusing on how we may enrich our lives allows self-esteem and healthy personal boundaries to blossom. Saying “no” is simple for someone with healthy boundaries. Walking away from toxic relationships and being comfortable in our skin suggests healthy choices. Good choices accumulate with great speed, and by being surrounded by love and hope, we are richer in spirit and more able to deal with life’s challenges. What can you do today with love?
Lord God and merciful father,
Teach us how to love.
In moments of despair, remind us you are always close.
Lord God and patient father,
Strengthen our hearts
to trust in you.
When time is pressured, may your soothing balm comfort us.
Lord God, giver of life,
Let us not waste time on fruitless endeavours; instead, redirect us towards healthy choices and abundant lives.
Lord God and loving father,
Be our compass and guide
us toward love.
May we grow in awareness
that everything that isn’t love ceases to matter.
Lord God, may your
almighty love and light
shine within us and through us
Each and every day.