"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children."
- Ephesians 5:1 NLT
There’s a prayer that I like to pray regularly, because I believe with all my heart that it is the will of God for me--and not just for me, but for all those who are committed to Him. It goes like this: “Lord, make me a lover like You. Make me a forgiver like You, Lord. Make me a giver like You.” I know that the Lord is pleased with this prayer, and that He will honor it, because His Word promises that when we pray in line with His will, He will hear and answer us. (1 John 5:14-15) Let me show you why I believe this prayer is scriptural.
When we pray, “Lord, make me a lover like You,” we are getting into agreement with God that we desire to love Him, ourselves, and everyone else with His kind of love. Scripture says: “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP) Notice that when the Scripture talks about imitating God, it first mentions our “love walk”. When we receive Christ as our Savior, we receive special status from the Lord as His sons and daughters. This special status not only gives us certain rights, but certain responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is to love others with the God-kind of love.
Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NIV) But He doesn’t limit us to having to love only fellow Christians with His kind of love. He also commands us to love those who we would be least inclined to love. “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-45,48 NLT) If these sound like impossible demands, remember that through His indwelling Holy Spirit, God gives you the capacity to love His way. (Romans 5:5)
Praying, “Make me a forgiver like You,” pleases the Lord because it’s His desire that we adopt a forgiving spirit. Scripture says: “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13 NIV) Notice how the Lord expects His “chosen people,” whom He dearly loves, to forgive others “as quickly and thoroughly” as He forgives them. (Ephesians 4:32 MSG) Some Christians have been hurt so badly by others that they honestly believe they have the right to withhold forgiveness from certain people. But they are being deceived, and they are cutting themselves off from ever having the rich relationship with God that is reserved for those who walk in forgiveness. As Jesus was hanging on the cross, surrounded by His bitter enemies, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 AMP) And He will give us the grace and the courage we need to forgive our enemies the same way.
Whenever I ask the Lord, “Make me a giver like You,” I think about the powerful truth of His Word in John 3:16 (NLT), which says: “For God loved the world so much that He GAVE His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” God is a giver. He gave His best, and He wants His devoted ones to do the same. David told the Lord, “Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:14 NIV) David recognized that the only reason he was able to give to others, was that God had given Him the means to give in the first place. No matter how little we think we have, there is always something in our possession that we can offer others.
You and I have the privilege and potential to be “imitators of God.” As we seek to follow His example in all that we do, He will guide us, empower us, and reward us in extraordinary ways!
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to love everyone with the God-kind of love. Enable me to forgive others, without exceptions or excuses. Make me a cheerful and generous giver at all times. Remind me to rely on Your Spirit’s enabling power to imitate You in all things. Thank You that as I focus on following Your lead, I will succeed!
- J. M. Farro