Monday, May 26, 2014

The Being-made-perfect-in-love Prayer

Last night's sermon was a meditation on “Be Ye Perfect,” how perfection is interpreted in the Wesleyan tradition, what it meant to the preacher (a candidate for ordination) to be made perfect in love, and her own struggles with perfectionism.

This reminder of the goal of Christian Perfection got me wishing for a prayer practice, something that I could pray whenever I’m feeling at a loss and unsure what the loving thing to do in a given situation might be.  It would have to be something I could say quickly, remember easily, and use unobtrusively as I tried both to stay engaged with the person before me and to reach out for divine assistance, simultaneously.

I thought of and rejected a number of options, went to bed with no satisfactory answer to my quandary, and woke up at 1 AM with the desire for a discipline still foremost in mind.  The early morning inspiration was to follow the pattern of the doctrinal order of salvation, Repentance-Faith-Holiness.  I chose three words and three body parts to associate with each step in the analogy of faith, and came up with the following--

Focus on the head and think “Help”
Focus on the heart and think “Save”
Focus on the feet and think “Move”

I like the head-to-toe coverage of this form of prayer; it feels like I’m all in, every part of me seeking and listening for guidance.

“Help” is the point where I admit that I am clueless and have no idea what a loving response would look like in a given situation.  “Save” is an act of trust, in which I reaffirm my belief that Christ can transform me and teach me how to love.  “Move” is an expression of my desire to discern the direction in which God’s grace is already leading and to follow.

I will be heading to the hospital this afternoon to visit two relatives who are gravely ill.  I don’t know if I’ll need the perfect love prayer during the visit, but it does feel good to have this prayer to experiment with should I feel the need.

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