Teach Us to Pray (Mark 12:28-34)

In this week’s reading, Jesus tells one of the teachers of the law that he is “not far from the kingdom of heaven” after they both have a genuine exchange over what constitutes the greatest commandment. Prayer is one of the ways we are lovingly drawn into the Kingdom of God. As you pray today, focus on these three affirmations of Jesus in this passage:

  1. “The Lord is one, the Lord alone” - We often live like God is not the foundational being of everything seen and unseen. Our experience of this world (even life itself) has a cohesiveness – a oneness - only because God exemplifies unity in diversity. God’s very ‘triune’ existence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (a tri-unity) gives us a foundation to see the whole world, and all of our experiences, as a unified whole made up of diverse parts. When we choose to view this world from God’s perspective, we see the potential for a multilayered and harmonious world instead of a fractured, contentious, and oppositional world.
    Prayer for Today: God, help me see the world as you see it.
  2. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” - The diversity of the world which God shapes into mysterious unity is echoed inside each of our own internal lives. Human beings are an infinitely complex blend of what Israel and Jesus call “heart, soul, mind, and strength.” When we pray, we plumb the depths of each of these parts of ourselves. We do not simply play to our strengths or shore up our weaknesses, we explore how these different parts of our humanity knit together to form a unified whole. Prayer is an opportunity to explore what it’s like to be fully human in the presence of God – an opportunity that is perfected for us by Jesus’ example and work for us.
    Prayer for Today: God, help me explore the depths of my heart, mind, soul, and strength as I offer them fully to you.
  3. “Love your neighbor as yourself” - Finally, prayer is not simply a solitary (for both individuals and the church as a whole) activity, but finds itself fully alive when it unifies both the internal world of the self and the external world of our neighbor. When we begin to imagine the life of our neighbors as part of the love that exists between our “heart, mind, soul, and strength”selves and God, we create a new “triune” circle of love that brings the Kingdom of God so close it’s almost indistinguishable from the the love around us.
    Prayer for Today: God, make my love for my neighbor look like the love you share between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC