This past Sunday our guest Terry Branscombe, Development Officer, Teen Challenge Atlantic Men’s Centre, Memramcook, NB, shared with us the dynamic power of prayer in transforming persons previously ensnared in addictions. — Prayer also transforms the one praying.
In that great sermon on the mount Jesus challenged the idea of merit-based love. Instead He taught love as a way of life. In fact, more than that. The Christian loves not because the other is lovable, but because it has become His new nature… The Christian loves because Christ has made him a lover.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:43-45).
The Christian loves like Jesus loves. He loves with Agapé love, the love of God. When we pray for those opposed to us we begin to see them as God sees them. Asaph testified to this transformed view through prayer: “…I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” he writes, “…till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (Psalm 73:3,17). Agapé love informs the believer their enemy too is a lost soul, loved and longed for by God. He is a soul: not yet damned, not yet saved.
Bonhoeffer speaks to this matter:
“…I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
As Terry Branscombe urged us to pray for those escaping the bonds of a lifestyle set to destroy them, so may we pray for them, for one another, and for all people, with that Agapé love of God.
To learn more about Teen Challenge Atlantic go to https://www.tcatlantic.ca.
Or, check out Teen Challenge Canada at https://www.teenchallenge.ca/