Abiding in Christ: Love

January 22, 2023 ()

Bible Text: John 15:9-17 |


Abiding in Christ: Love | John 15:9-17
Brian Hedges | January 22, 2023

Let me invite you now to turn in God’s word to John 15. We’re going to be reading verses 9-17.

While you’re turning there, let me tell you a story about a young woman named Amanda who saw a psychologist named David Benner. This is from David Benner’s book Surrender to Love. He writes about seeing Amanda, fifteen years old, who was referred to Benner after a suicide attempt. It was her third attempt in as many months. Each attempt had been more serious than the one before. She had first attempted to take her life after her boyfriend had hung himself, and she vowed then to join him in death.

When Benner first met Amanda and saw her there in the waiting room, he was struck by her appearance. She was clothed head to toe in black and she had dark black circles painted under her eyes. Her face and her ears were riddled with studs and rings, and she wore a dog collar, attached to that a leash, and attached to the leash was a chain, a conspicuous, industrial-grade chain. Benner recognized the uniform of a Goth, that role prized by angry people because of the enormous potential to shock.

Amanda did not even acknowledge Benner’s presence when he greeted her, but she did follow him into his office, and along with her came the woman who was sitting next to her. This surprised Benner. He discovered that it was her mother.

Benner asked if she was willing to have her mother accompany her for the consultation, and she said, “My mother is my best friend,” and she had come because she had invited her.

Benner was intrigued by this. He said, “Young people like Amanda are not often best friends with their mothers, yet affection between them was clear.” He also sensed the mother’s disapproval of Amanda’s lifestyle. He asked what the bond was that allowed Amanda to stay close to her mother. This is what she said: “For as long as I can remember, every night of my life I end the day by getting in bed with my mother and snuggling.”

Benner said, “Amanda’s relationship with her mother is quite remarkable, and is in large part responsible for the fact that she has now left behind what she describes as her ‘black period’ and is now finding her way through adolescence in a relatively healthy manner. Amanda knew that she was deeply loved just exactly as she was. Her mother disapproved of her use of drugs, her promiscuous sex, her astonishingly profane language, her satanic practices, and most other elements of her lifestyle; but with a wisdom that I’ve rarely seen in parents, she recognized that what her daughter needed was not lectures, but love. Fortunately, she had been giving this in large doses for all of Amanda’s life, and she did not now allow her disapproval of her daughter’s behavior to interrupt this pattern in the slightest.”

I read that story a few months ago and was immediately struck by the beauty and the power of it. I tell it this morning because it’s not only a remarkably moving story but it illustrates what Benner calls "the transformational nature of receiving love in vulnerability."

Love is transformational; love changes people. Love is right at the heart of spiritual transformation, right at the heart of Christian discipleship.

We’re in a series right now on essentially discipleship—transformation—we’ve called it “Abide: Spiritual Practices for Life in Christ.” We’ve been talking about how to develop a flourishing, fruitful life; a life in which we abide in Jesus, we remain in a life-giving connection to Jesus, and therefore bring forth fruit that glorifies God and in which our lives flourish.

We’ve talked about some of the means of abiding. We’ve talked about Scripture and prayer. But if we left off this relational component, the component of love, it could leave the impression that spirituality is primarily a private affair between me and God. Nothing could actually be further from the truth. There are no “lone ranger” Christians. Discipleship that does not include loving others is not genuine discipleship.

John Wesley said it well: “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” To become a Christian is to become a part of a family, to become a part of the family of God, to become a part of the church of God, to be part of a kingdom, a new community, a new nation, the city of God on earth.

We all know that relationships are a crucial aspect of our lives. Nothing brings us greater joy or greater pain than our relationships, whether that’s in our families or in our church families or friendships. It’s in our relationships that the potential for great joy and great love and great flourishing and fruitfulness is found, but it’s also in our relationships where we see the greatest evidences of brokenness that is caused by sin.

So this morning I want us to think about love, because Jesus, as he teaches us to abide in the vine, he also tells us to abide in his love. As we’re going to see this morning in the second half of this passage (John 15:9-17), love is the dominant theme. You’ll notice the word several times as we read it. Let me read these verses to us, and then I want to share four things from the passage with you. John 15, beginning in verse 9. Jesus is speaking. He says,

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

This is God’s word.

I want us to look at four things this morning: 1. The nature of love, 2. Our need for love, 3. The practices of love, and 4. The source of love.

There’s a lot of material to cover; I’m going to go quickly through the first couple of points. But we need to start with some definitions.

1. The nature of love 

What do we mean when we talk about love?

If you look up the word “love” in a dictionary, you’re going to read a definition something like this: “An intense feeling of deep affection.” That’s not entirely wrong; certainly there is that affectional component in love. But that’s not an adequate definition when we’re talking about love in Scripture, love in the Christian life.

I want us to think for a minute about a couple of dimensions of love. There are two ways I want to go about it.

First of all, think about the difference between the vertical and the horizontal. Vertical love is the love between the human being and God. It’s the human-divine relationship, relationship with God himself. The horizontal, of course, is our relationship with other human beings. Both of those things are important. The vertical and the horizontal are important in our discipleship.

You can see this in Jesus’ own words. When Jesus was asked, “What is the first and the greatest commandment?” do you remember what he said, in Matthew 22:37-40? He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment, and the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

Right there you have it: the vertical relationship, love for God—we love God with heart, soul, and mind—that’s foundational. That’s primary. That is the defining, foundational relationship in our lives, and it’s only as we put God first and we love him with everything in us that we then can obey the second commandment and love our neighbors as ourselves. So the vertical is foundational to the horizontal, but both are crucial, both are important.

Here’s a second set of categories to consider: the difference between “need-love” and “gift-love.” I’m drawing this from C.S. Lewis, from his wonderful book The Four Loves. These are two different aspects of love, and both are legitimate, both are important, but they are different from one another.

Need-love is a part of the human condition. It is a part of how we are made. It is not good for man to be alone; we all need relationships, we are all to some degree dependent on others for our wellbeing.

Think of children, who need love from their parents. Think of all of us, who have a need to belong, a need for friendship, a need to be cared for. This is part of how we are made, and there’s nothing wrong with this in our relational makeup.

But this isn’t the only thing or even the main thing that Jesus is concerned with when he talks about loving one another. When he commands us to love one another he has something more in mind than simply need love; he has what Lewis calls gift-love in mind. Gift-love is a love that is focused not on what we receive from others but rather on what we give to others.

We could put it like this: need-love is self-affirming, gift-love is self-sacrificing. The problem today, in this age of expressive individualism, is that we approach love mostly with need-love in view. Most of the time, when we think about our relationships, we are so focused on ourselves that we’re thinking about how the relationships make us feel rather than thinking of how we can do good to someone else.

I would just say that both the vertical and the horizontal relationships include both the need-love and the gift-love. God commands us both to love him, and of course, we receive love from him. That’s foundational. In fact, C.S. Lewis says that need-love is right at the heart of our relationship with God. Here’s a quote from Lewis’s book The Four Loves. He says,

Man’s love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely and must often be entirely a need-love. This is obvious when we implore forgiveness for our sins or support in our tribulations. But in the long run it is perhaps even more apparent in our growing awareness that our whole being, by its very nature, is one vast need, incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out for him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose.

You never get to a point in your relationship with God where you are giving more to him than he gives to you. We’re always receiving from him. We are one vast need, and God is a fountain who is overflowing with goodness and love and mercy and grace, who is pouring into our lives. But we’re still commanded to love him and be willing to make sacrifices for him.

On the horizontal level, we all need to be loved people and we also need to give ourselves in love to others.

Here’s the problem: when our need to be loved is primarily satisfied in God’s love for us, the vertical dimension, it will free us to love the people around us with gift love. But when God’s love is misunderstood or neglected or ignored, then virtually all of our human relationships become need-love relationships. The horizontal eclipses the vertical and all the relationships in our lives become focused on self-affirmation. That leads to destruction in every way.

Think about a romantic relationship. It begins with mutual attraction, love for this other person, sparks are flying; two people fall in love, they get married, they’re affirming one another. But everybody knows that it takes more than that for a marriage to last, because it will require moments of self-sacrifice. It will require regular, habitual dispositions of the heart to seek the good of my spouse, even at personal cost. Only when there is that self-giving kind of love will a marriage last.

Think of a parent’s love for a child. If it’s more need-love than gift-love it inverts the relationship and smothers the child. Now the parent is looking to the child to give a kind of affirmation that really he or she should be receiving from the relationship with God.

Think of friends who are always looking for affirmation from others. They’re not very good friends.

In other words, what we need is to find our deepest heart longings fulfilled in the vertical relationship with God, so the need-love is being met there. Only then are we free to love others with gift love, self-sacrificing love for others. That’s the nature of love.

2. Our need for love 

Now let’s think for a minute about the need for love, and here I have in mind in particular the need for developing the capacities for gift-love, self-sacrificial love for others.

I think we can see three things in the immediate context. The first one is just simple obedience, obedience to Jesus. Three times in this passage we see that it is Jesus’ basic command that we are to love one another. There’s a stress on obedience. Verse 10: “If you keep my commandments you will abide in my life, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

Verse 12 defines what the commandment is. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Then in verse 17 you have a summary: “These things I command you so that you will love one another.”

What this shows us is that central to Jesus’ commands, central to our discipleship, the most basic ethic in the way of Jesus, the most basic principle of living as we’ve followed Jesus, is love. Of course, this is good for us. It is right. We see it exemplified through Jesus’ own life. It shows us that the most crucial thing for flourishing human relationships, whether it’s in a family, whether it’s in a small group of friends, whether it’s in a church community, and even more broadly in the world, the most central thing is love. We cannot obey Jesus without love.

To quote David Benner again, "Love is the acid test of Christian spirituality. If Christian conversion is authentic, we are in a process of becoming more loving. If we are not becoming more loving, something is seriously wrong."

This is the measurement of spiritual growth. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how many chapters of the Bible you’re reading a day and how much time you spend in prayer. If you are not abounding in love for others, it’s not real spiritual growth. You’re just going through habits, you’re just going through religious motions, but if the character’s not being transformed, if there’s not the development and the growth of love, then something is amiss.

Secondly, love is necessary for our own assurance, the assurance of our salvation, the assurance of a right relationship with God. If you go to 1 John you can see this very clearly. John writes his first letter to those who believe in the name of the Son of God, they believe in Jesus Christ, so that they might know that they have eternal life, and he gives them several tests to discern whether they are genuine or not, whether they really have life. One of those tests is love.

Listen to 1 John 3:14. He says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love [each other]. Whoever does not love abides in death.” This is the primary evidence of spiritual life: if we love others. This is the pulse that shows that you have a spiritual heartbeat: if you love others.

I could give you many passages. Let me just give you two more verses in 1 John, 1 John 4:7-8. He says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Do you see how clear this is? If you don’t love others, John says you don’t know God. You’re not born of God. The evidence of new birth is love for God.

The great New England Puritan Jonathan Edwards preached a series of sermons on love from the great chapters in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 13, that great love chapter. Edwards preached these sermons, later published under the title Charity and Its Fruits, and he argued that love is an essential ingredient in saving faith, that is is an essential evidence of genuine spiritual life. He used this illustration: he said it’s like the sun the emanates both light and heat. Light in the mind, heat in the affections and in the life. He said that if you have light without heat—that is, if you have faith, a set of beliefs, but without love—that’s empty, it’s not genuine. On the same token, if you have the heat of affection but there’s no light of truth in it, that’s also missing an essential thing.

It’s the two things together—light and heat, faith and love—that really show that we are genuine Christians. If you will read through the letters of the New Testament you’ll see, especially in Paul’s letters, almost every single letter he begins by affirming two things in the hearts and lives of his readers: their faith in Jesus Christ and their love for all the saints. This is how we know that we are Christians. So assurance is another reason why we need love.

Here’s the last thing: mission. I think this is implicity in the passage. It’s been well-argued that all of this section of Scripture, John 13-16, is concerned with mission—the mission of the disciples. This is part of our fruitfulness. It’s our mission in the world.

One evidence for that would be John 13:34-35, where Jesus says, “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.”

This is the badge of discipleship. It is the birthmark of the Christian. This is the tell-tale sign that you are a disciple of Jesus. This is the mark. This is what shows that we’re different! When the church is lacking in love, the church is just like the world. When you and I are lacking love, we’re showing that we are not truly his disciples.

We could say in summary that love is the heart and soul of all that God requires of us. There’s nothing good that we could ever do without love. On the other hand, every sin we ever commit is a violation or a distortion or a lack of love. Love is crucial.

3. The practices of love

So, how do we live this way? Point number three, the practices of love. How do we live this way?

I want to give you three things. Again, these are three things that I think come from this passage and its surrounding context. We bring in other passages as well. I would view these as three things—not necessarily steps, but three orientations of the heart, three aspects to the practcices of love, that if we will seek to consistently put these in practice in our lives they will help us become people characterized by love.

Here’s the first: humility. Serve others as Jesus served his disciples. You see it in John 13. Remember this story? Jesus is in the upper room with his disciples; it’s the night before his crucifixion, and he’s about to give his last will and testament to his disciples. This whole passage is in the upper room discourse, the farewell discourse. But before Jesus begins to teach his disciples, he does something remarkable that shocks them. He lays aside his outer garments, he girds himself with a towel, and he begins to wash the feet of his disciples.

We know it’s an expression of love because John 13:1 says, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” The first demonstration of that love is Jesus girding himself with a towel, taking the place of the household slave, and washing the feet of his disciples. He was putting their needs and their interests above his own; he was serving them. He said, “If I, your Lord and Master, wash your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.”

I think what Jesus is teaching us there is the importance of servanthood, the importance of humility, of considering the needs of others as more important than our own. This is where love comes from. If you really think that your needs are more important than someone else’s needs, you’re not going to love them well. But if you really adopt this posture of humility and begin to serve others, prioritize their needs above your own, that’s the first step of love: humility.

Secondly, vulnerability. Open your heart to others in friendship. You see this in the way Jesus treats his disciples, and it’s right here in this passage, in verses 13-15. Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends. For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

It’s interesting how Jesus draws this distinction between servants and friends. He says a master doesn’t tell the servants his plans, he doesn’t unveil his heart to the servants, but “I’ve unveiled my heart to you; I’ve opened myself up to you. I’ve told you all that the Father has shown me.” He is opening his heart to his disciples in this crucial point in his life, and we’ll see it in the hours that will unfold as he teaches them, as he instructs them, as he assures them, as he comforts them, as he prays for them and with them, and then takes them with him even into the garden of Gethsemane in the other Gospel accounts and allows them to see him in his moments of deepest need. Vulnerability; he’s opening his heart to his friends.

Brothers and sisters, I think this is an essential part of learning to love one another. It’s that we open up ourselves to other people, we open our hearts in relationship, in friendship; we make room in our hearts for other people and begin to share who we are with them.

Do you ever disclose your own thoughts and feelings like this with others? Are you able to move into a vulnerable place where you talk about your burdens or you talk about your concerns, your cares, your sins, your sorrows, your needs? Perhaps more importantly, do you make it easy for people to do that with you? Do you make it easy for people to share with you because they sense that you are attentive to them, that you care about them, that you want to know how they are, that you genuinely are interested? That’s a crucial part of love.

I want to encourage you, as you think about your relationships—right now, in this season of life—think about those in your family, think about those who are in your small group, those who are in your immediate circle of friends, those that you are in fellowship with in this church, maybe in a group or in a ministry team, serving together, maybe people you don’t know particularly well yet—who are the people that you need to open your life up to? Who do you need to let in? Who is is that you can befriend by being attentive to them? Humility, then vulnerability.

Here’s the third thing: intentionality. By this I mean intentionally develop the kind of character that habitually acts in love. I have in mind here adopting a set of behaviors, so that you intentionally behave in loving ways.

Here’s one of the interesting things in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, where Paul teaches on love. In the Greek, he’s not giving us love with a lot of adjectives that describe love; instead, love is the subject of all the verbs, and the verbs are showing us what love looks like. He’s giving us a set of actions. He’s giving us a set of behaviors. He’s showing us how to love.

Verses 4-7 go like this: “Love is patient, love is kind; it does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

It’s only as we intentionally begin to live with that set of behaviors that they can become the dispositions of our hearts.

One of the practical things this means for us is that we have to learn to behave in a loving way even when the motions are absent in the moment, because there are going to be lots of times in your marriage or with your children or with your friends or in your small group—whatever the circumstance, there are going to be lots of times when you feel provoked, you feel irritated, you want to express anger, you don’t want to do this. You don’t feel like doing this. What are you supposed to do in those moments? What do you do when you don’t feel like behaving in love? You act in love anyway, and you let the emotions come later.

Let me quote C.S. Lewis one more time. This is from Mere Christianity and the chapter called “Let’s Pretend.” In this chapter he distinguishes between two kinds of pretense, a bad kind of pretense and a good kind of pretending. Listen to what he says.

"What is the good of pretending to be what you are not? Well, even on the human level you know that there are two kinds of pretending; there’s a bad kind, where the pretense is there instead of the real thing, as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there’s also a good kind, where the pretense leads up to the real thing. When you’re not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you really are. In a few minutes, as we’ve all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were. Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They’re always pretending to be grownups—playing soldiers, playing shop—but all the time they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretense of being grown up helps them to grow up in earnest."

That’s one of the most important things on discipleship I’ve ever read. You behave in loving ways, whether the feelings are there in the moment or not, and by doing that you actually are engaging yourself in the gradual process of change. You’re growing up into maturity in Christ. There is an aspect of Christian growth that is outside-in, where you put on the virtues and let your emotions catch up.

4. The source of love

One more thing I want us to consider in the last few minutes: the source of love. Where in the world do we get the motivation and the power to live this kind of way? I mean, what I’ve just described for you is beautiful and impossible for human beings apart from the grace of God. So where do you get it?

There is an outside-in aspect to this, but there’s also an inside-out aspect. It’s simply this: it’s when we come to understand the love of God in Christ for us, poured into our hearts through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so that we experience his love in a powerfully transforming way. It’s when that happens that we begin to earnestly love others from the heart.

I mentioned earlier Jonathan Edwards’ Charity and Its Fruits and the light-heat metaphor. Here’s another one that Edwards gives. He loved metaphors from astronomy, and one of the metaphors he used—I’m just paraphrasing him—he talked about two different kinds of light in the sky. You have the light of the sun, but you look up in the dark sky on a dark night and you’re going to see multiple points of light. Some of those stars burning brightly with a light of their own, but sometimes what you see are planets that do not emanate light of their own but rather reflect light. Their light is a reflected light. Edwards essentially said that the relationship between the love of God and the love of the saints is like that. The love of God is the sun, it is the fountain of light from which all love comes, and our love for others is reflected light. It’s when his love shines on us that we’re changed and we begin to reflect that same kind of light to others. 1 John 4:19 puts it like this: “We love because he first loved us.”

This shows us that it’s only as we experience God’s love for us that we are able to love him or others with this kind of love. The deepest need of our hearts, brothers and sisters, is to experience this radical, transforming, redeeming love of God, given to us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Just think for a minute about our triune God’s love for us, the Father’s love. Sometimes we have this notion that Jesus is all about love but the Father is all about wrath. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we could say that God’s wrath against sin is really just because of his love for sinners. He hates that which destroys his beloved. But it’s very clear in Scripture that the Father himself is full of love. Jesus says it in John 16:27, when he says to his disciples, “The Father himself loves you.” Do you know that God loves you?

If I were to ask you what comes into your mind when you think about God, and what do you think comes into God’s mind when he thinks about you, what would you say? Would you say, “Well, I think God’s probably disappointed in me. I think God’s probably angry with me.” What Jesus says is that the Father himself loves you. His heart is the heart of the father in the story of the prodigal son, when even when the son has run away into the far country, has spent all that he has had on rioutous living, when his son is coming back the father is there to meet him on the horizon with arms wide open, ready to receive him. “Welcome home, son!” The Father loves you.

Think of the Savior’s love. In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The next afternoon he will demonstrate the greatness of that love as he accepts nails through his hands and is crucified for our sins. It’s the greatest demonstration of self-sacrificial love: Jesus on the cross for us.

What about the role of the Spirit? Romans 5:5 tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who’s been given to us. I believe that what the Spirit does—the Spirit features prominently in Jesus’ upper room discourse here in John 14-16—what the Spirit does is he takes the love of God, the love of Christ, and he makes it real in our hearts. He makes it real, so that we have an experience of that love, an encounter with that love. When that happens and when you learn to live in the light of that love, when you learn to abide in that love, maintain a life-giving connection to that love, the love of the Triune God for you, demonstrated through the Son and the Spirit, that’s really the source of love in your own heart and life.

I love the way the old hymn writer put it:

O Christ, he is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above,
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel’s land.

Have you experienced that love, the love of God in Christ for you, poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit? If you have not, ask him for that today. Trust the good news of the gospel. Receive Jesus as Savior, as Lord.

If you have experienced that, then follow the example of your master and love one another. Let’s pray.

Gracious Father in heaven, we pause to thank you again this morning for your great love for us, love that is vast beyond all measure, a depth of love that we cannot fully understand or comprehend, but love that we see demonstrated through your two great gifts to us: your Son and your Spirit. We thank you for that love, and we humbly open our hearts to you right now to receive that love; to rest in that love; to believe from the depth of our being that you love us unconditionally, that you received us (sinners though we are), that you welcome us into your family. We thank you for this grace.

Our prayer this morning is that we would be deeply transformed by the experience of this love—so deeply transformed that we would lay aside the sins in our lives, all of the things in our lives that compromise our ability to love others, that diminish our capacity to live in this way. Lord, help us turn aside from self-centeredness and embrace the paradox of discipleship and life in Christ. As we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow you, as we lose our life in following you and in loving others, we find what we were looking for all along.

As we come to the Lord’s table this morning, may we come with hearts that bask in the love of God for us. May we come with our faith fixed on Jesus, the bread of life, who gave his life for the life of the world. May we be nourished and strengthened, so that in the strength of your love for us we can go and love others. We pray that you would do in these moments more than mere words can do—more than my words can do; that your Spirit would do something supernatural and transforming, lifechanging. We ask you, Lord, to draw near to us and help us. We ask this in Jesus’ name and for his sake, amen.