A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

Lord of love,

You commanded Your disciples to love one another, and You set the greatest example of love by laying down Your life for us. You have set love as the identifying marker of the Church, the way others will know we are Your disciples, but many churches and Christians fail to live up to this standard. It is easy to love those who are kind to us, but much more difficult to love those who are not kind or are hostile to us. Nonetheless, You command us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), just as You prayed for forgiveness for Your enemies on the cross. This is an impossible task for us, Lord. Our hard hearts want to hold on to bitterness and resentment toward those who have wronged us. We want justice and even revenge. But that is not Your way. Justice belongs to You, not to us. For our part, we are to love others. Strengthen us to forgive those who have sinned against us. Heal relationships that are broken or strained. Help us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Instead, grant us to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God [has forgiven us]” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Where restoration is not possible, help us to pray for our enemies, knowing that You are able to transform a heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). May all Christians shine Your love into this world, knowing that “we love because [You] first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Please help me to love the following people and/or in the following ways… 

In Your name I pray. Amen.

For a full explanation of this challenge, see the post 12-Minute Prayer Challenge. If you are just joining us, feel free to continue on with us from the current day, or if you prefer, you can go back and start at Day 1.