In a beautifully written prayer I came across a few years ago, I found something that amazed me and actually changed my life forever. The lines of the prayer were simple enough at first:
Jesus, have mercy on us.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, help me to love you more.
Then came the unexpected line: Jesus I believe in Your tender love for me.
Whoa. His tender love for me! Could I pray that? It was presumptuous. (Wasn’t it?) I felt awkward trying to pray those words. Of course, I knew Jesus loved me. I had received his love when I gave my life to him at a Baptist youth picnic.
But tender love? For awhile I just skipped that line. But it nagged at my heart. Somehow I knew that my whole life depended on it. I wasn’t worthy of his tender love for me. I knew that. How could I possible pray that line of the prayer?
Then the Lord, in his overflowing grace, reminded me of Mark 9:21-24 where Jesus healed the epileptic boy. Jesus told the boy’s father, “All things are possible to him who believes.” “And straightway the father cried out with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!”
You know his heart was broken for his child. He was desperate for help. And he was humble, not trying to deny how hard it was for him to fully believe. And wonderful, faithful Jesus accepted his prayer, imperfect as it was, and healed his child completely.
I considered that father’s prayer with awe. I knew it was God who had brought it to my mind and guided me, with great patience, to add it to my prayer—a kind of disclaimer for me to use while he helped me to believe more fully. So, for a time I prayed that way. “Jesus, I believe in your tender love for me. Help thou mine unbelief.” I did. He seemed to promise me that a day would come when I wouldn’t need any qualifications, when I would believe one hundred percent. When his love would overflow me, like the verse “he who believes in Me, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38.
As always, God was true to his word. Today, with all my weaknesses and flaws, I can pray that line of the original prayer without a trace of doubt.
My heart has absorbed the beautiful truth.