Does Your Passion for Jesus Show?

Does your passion for Jesus show?

Our prayer team gathered in a small room Sunday to pray for those leading the worship service and those in attendance. We prayed for the Holy Spirit to penetrate hearts and change lives. I’ve come to love listening to each of those passionate prayers. Heartfelt prayers spoken with such variety teach me fresh ways to communicate with God. 

The prayer of one man particularly touched my heart. Isaiah, who has recently faced life-threatening health challenges, knows that it was God who brought him through the fire. And it was God who used the fire for Isaiah’s good. His prayers, always enthusiastic, took on a new depth Sunday. He spoke to God as if no one else was in the room. His tears flowed unashamedly as his praise poured out for the One who had spared his life. His profound gratitude mirrored that of the leper healed by Jesus. His intimate friendship with Jesus equaled Mary’s as she sat at His feet. Isaiah’s desire for others to find the joy he has found mimicked Paul’s great desire. As Isaiah closed his eyes and stepped into the throne room of God, he was overwhelmed by the grace and love he’d been given. He didn’t care who heard his emotion or witnessed his tears. He merely wanted to say “thank you” for the power of faith and the depth of God’s love.

There is only one Psalm in my Bible with every word underlined. Psalm 116 in the Passion Translation touches my heart the most. It begins with, “I am passionately in love with God BECAUSE …” The psalmist, most likely David, then lists his many reasons for loving God: He listened to his prayers, stooped down to rescue him, was kind and gracious, dried his tears, kept him on the right path, strengthened him, and freed him from his chains. I’m sure God smiled, knowing that David recognized the specific ways God faithfully demonstrated His love. 

So, why do you love God? 

We were all born into a life-threatening situation that would not only end in physical death but could also end in spiritual death. Thankfully, God sent Jesus to our rescue. Those who follow Him get to live forever in His presence. If God did nothing else for us, this would be enough. Yet, He does so much more! The last half of Psalm 116 records David’s response to God’s loving actions: “I will lift up his cup of salvation and praise him extravagantly for all that he’s done for me. I will fulfill the promise I made to God in the presence of his gathered people. When one of God’s holy lovers dies, it is costly to the Lord, touching his heart. Lord, because I am your loving servant, you have broken open my life and freed me from my chains. Now I’ll worship you passionately and bring to you my sacrifice of praise, drenched with thanksgiving! I’ll keep my promise to you, God, in the presence of your gathered people, just like I said I would. I will worship you here in your living presence, in the temple in Jerusalem. I will worship and sing hallelujah, for I praise you, Lord!”(Psalms 116:13-19 TPT)

Our peace in the storm catches the eyes of non-believers, and our joy in the Lord grabs the attention of bystanders. God’s love flowing through our actions, especially to those hard to love, results in many questions from puzzled onlookers. God graciously uses all this fruit of the Spirit to draw people to Him. However, I hope I never forget that those sitting next to me on Sunday must also hear my praise, even if it is off-key. My passionate worship should never be for show, but I shouldn’t be shy about showing it. Perhaps we could all benefit from hearing more Sunday prayers like Isaiah’s. 

God, bring to our minds all the ways you have already demonstrated your love to us so that we can pray our thank-you notes out loud. Like the leper, may we become a living testimony of your power. Like David, put a new song in our mouths – a passionate hymn of praise so that many will hear. And, Lord, like Mary, may we sit in Your presence daily and soak up Your Word. Holy Spirit, help the Word become a fire in our bones that we can’t contain. May none of this ever be about us, Lord, but all about You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Donna Jackson

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