In our Sunday morning worship gathering, our church community follows a liturgy that includes a corporate prayer of confession. One line in this week’s prayer struck me deeply. It’s fairly common—though also astonishing, really—for the Holy Spirit to use some part of our liturgy very specifically in my discipleship.
Here is the prayer:
God of life, you have adopted us as your own through Jesus Christ, yet we seek our lives apart from you, as if a branch cut off from its roots could survive, much less bear fruit. We claim for ourselves the name of Christ but live as if we belong to another. We treat your favor like a trophy—a sign of our deserving instead of your grace. We ask, even now, for your forgiveness, but withhold this same grace from others. Have mercy on us, O God! Apart from you, we can do nothing. Help us to live in Christ’s risen power and presence, that together we would bear fruit for your rule and your name would be glorified. Amen.
I found myself asking “do I treat God’s favor like a trophy that I earn and therefore deserve?” What difference does it make when I approach God as one who hands out gold, silver, and bronze medals based on my performance? I strive. I compete. I stress. And I gloat. I grow arrogant and impatient. Yeah, not pretty.
Oh, that I would live, every breath & every step, as one who belongs because of God’s extravagant eternal grace. What difference does that make? I rest. I share. I run with perseverance. And I praise. I grow humble and patient. Absolutely beautiful.